A woman who celebrated her 104th birthday on New Year's Day has a surprising daily habit

By Caitlin Keating
January 05, 2018 11:29 AM

A woman who celebrated her 104th birthday on New Year’s Day has a surprising daily habit: She drinks a lot of Diet Coke!

Theresa Rowley, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, told WZZM that she consumes at least one can of her favorite beverage a day.

“I drink it because I like it,” Rowley told WZZM. “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.”

Rowley — who has been a resident of the Sentinel Pointe Retirement Community since she was 89—says she find it hard to believe she’s made it so long.

“I’m surprised that I’m 104,” said Rowley, who was born in Illinois before moving to North Dakota and then Michigan. “It just doesn’t seem like I should be that old.”

On Tuesday, she celebrated her birthday with cake, members of her retirement community and, of course, some Diet Coke.

“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 said. “Then I turn 101, and nothing happens. Here I am 104, and still nothing happens.”

While Rowley has reached the impressive age of 104 while maintaining a diet that includes Diet Coke, scientists would disagree that her favorite drink had an effect on her birthday status. Studies suggest possible links between low-calorie beverages and health risks.