104 year old woman credits Diet Coke for living such a long life

While we can't live forever - unless, of course, you've nabbed yourself a philosopher's stone - there are several tied-and-true things we can do to increase our life expectancy. Of course, you shouldn't smoke or imbibe too much - and it's important to chow down on fruit and vegetables - but if you're anything like me, you'd rather some quick life-hack to up your health and wellness game rather than an entire lifestyle change.

Luckily, 104-year-old Theresa Rowley may have the answer, and it doesn't involve any leafy greens whatsoever.

fruit and veg Credit: Pexels

Theresa Rowley, who hails from Michigan in the United States, turned 104 in January this year. While this is certainly an impressive feat, we were more taken with her explanation of how she's managed to reach such a ripe old age.

Her secret? Diet Coke.

Speaking to WZZM 13, Theresa explained how she'd drank at least one can of Diet Coke every day since the product was first launched in 1982, when she was 68-years-old.

"I drink it because I like it," she told the publication - detailing how she picks up a new multipack of Diet Coke can every time she goes grocery shopping":

"I’m going shopping Wednesday, and I need more Diet Coke. I have a bag full of empty Diet Coke cans that I need to return to buy more Diet Coke."

And while Theresa can't conclusively ascertain whether it's the caffeinated beverage that's kept her alive and kicking, she's has no other ideas as to how she's managed to make it this far.

"When I was 100, I thought I'd never be 104; I thought I'd pass away by that time but it just didn't happen," she stated. "Then I turn 101, and nothing happens. Here I am, 104, and still nothing happens."

Although a regular Diet Coke habit seems to have worked for Theresa, it isn't known for its health-boosting properties. Research suggests that the popular soft drink can be liked to a number of health conditions, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer's. It is also, of course, associated with weight gain.

Last year, a review by Imperial College London argued that there is "no solid evidence" that low-calorie sweeteners are any better for weight loss than sugary drinks, and challenged the idea that such beverages are automatically healthier than their full-fat counterparts.

Another study of US adults, which was published in the American Journal of Public Health, showed that 22 per cent of adults who were clinically obese regularly drank diet beverages.

"Scientific consensus has yet to find a direct, indisputable link between diet beverages and harmful health effects," said Jaclyn London - the director of nutrition at the Good Housekeeping Institute.

“On the flip side, calories from added sugars — especially those found in sugary beverages like regular soda, juice, and even coffee drinks — are linked to a slew of chronic diseases as well as obesity.”