People who live forever always seem to have unusual life hacks they swear by. For Betty White, it's vodka and hot dogs. Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards has survived on whiskey and cigarettes. Others credit red wine. Now, a 104-year-old woman says Diet Coke is the secret to longevity. I've got the Coke, red wine, and cigarettes down (I know, I know — smoking is a terrible habit, and I am quitting in 2018), but vodka and hot dogs aren't really my jam. Is the secret to living forever a steady intake of Diet Coke? Theresa Rowley, from Grand Rapids, Mich., claims a Diet Coke a day keeps the doctor away, according to the Independent.
"I’m going shopping Wednesday, and I need more Diet Coke," Rowley is quoted as saying in the Independent. "I have a bag full of empty Diet Coke cans that I need to return to buy more Diet Coke." Rowley has been drinking her beloved Diet Coke since the soft drink launched in the U.S. in 1982 — when she was 68 years old. Good grief, I still remember the jingle: "Just for the taste of it, Diet Coke!"
A lot of people love, love, love Diet Coke. I have an ex who would order two Diet Cokes and a glass of wine with dinner. OK, I have to admit that I don't really drink Diet Coke because of a terrible vanilla vodka and Coke experience when I was 21, and to me, Diet Coke taste just like that drink. However, if I want to live to the ripe old of age 104, maybe I should consider jumping on the Diet Coke train.
Like the late Carrie Fisher, who drinks a ton of Coke in the documentary Bright Lights, I do consume a lot of the regular soda. However, scientists say a Diet Coke habit and living a long life might be a coincidence because, in general, soda is really not that good for you, according to a study published in the journal Dent Assist.
That being said, a study published in the journal J Endourol concluded that there is no increased health risk or benefit between diet soda and regular soda. So, whether you like Diet Coke, or regular Coke, your odds of living more than 100 years is the same. Phew! But, the Independent also reported that a new study from Boston University found that diet soda is more likely to cause strokes and dementia. Confused about what to believe? I know I am.
If you have a history of strokes and dementia in your family, you should be careful with the diet soda. You also might want to consider that soda can be used to clean toilets, according to the Huffington Post. But, in order to get your toilet sparkling you have to leave the Coke in there for an hour and then scrub it with a brush, which you're hopefully not doing when you drink your Diet Coke. What's more, why waste a good can of Coke on your toilet? Priorities, people.
Clearly, the Diet Coke hasn't eaten Rowley's insides. With so much contradictory evidence out there, it feels like the jury is still out on whether or not diet soda, or any soda, has a negative impact on your health or is actually the fountain of youth. After all, everyone is different, and what works for one person might not work for another. Case in point, actor Betty White.
White claims the secret to a long life involves something that makes total sense, and a questionable combination of food and drink. "Enjoy life," White told Parade. "Accentuate the positive, not the negative. It sounds so trite, but a lot of people will pick out something to complain about, rather than say, ‘Hey, that was great!" It’s not hard to find great stuff if you look." Aside from positive thinking, White also credits a diet of vodka and hot dogs for her good health at age 95. She also likes to add a side of French fries. Honestly, who doesn't?
What's the lesson here? If your own personal recipe for health and wellness is working for you, stick to it. Everyone is different, and if Diet Coke and hot dogs are your go-to feel-good foods, live your life. Seriously, we need all of the small pleasures in life we can get these days. That doesn't mean you'll live to be 104, but personally, I'm not sure I want to hang around that long anyway.