By Jamie Ducharme
January 5, 2018

Research has shown that drinking coffee may help you live longer — but if one 104-year-old Michigan woman is any indication, another caffeinated beverage may actually hold the secret to longevity.

Theresa Rowley, who celebrated her 104th birthday in her Grand Rapids retirement community on Jan. 1, told WZZM that she drinks at least one Diet Coke every day. “I drink it because I like it,” Rowley said. “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.”

Diet Coke wasn’t introduced until 1982, when Rowley was 68 years old.

Despite the anecdotal evidence, Rowley’s drink of choice isn’t known for its health-boosting properties. In fact, research suggests that diet soda may be associated with conditions including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer’s, not to mention weight gain.

Still, a diet-a-day habit appears to agree with Rowley, at least. She told WZZM even she’s “surprised” by her age.

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

Write to Jamie Ducharme at jamie.ducharme@time.com.

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