101-Year-Old Veteran Credits Soda With His Longevity

A Dr Pepper a day keeps the doctor away, according to centenarians.

When it comes to prolonging your time on Earth, there are a few key ingredients to sustaining a long and healthy life: getting an adequate amount of sleep, exercising regularly, consuming a well-balanced diet, and nurturing your mental health. And while most of us enjoy soda in moderation, we typically don't think of it as one of these healthy habits. It could be time to alter our perspective, however, as 101-year-old war veteran Eugene Peterson swears Dr Pepper is the key to his longevity.

RELATED: People Who Live to 100 Eat the "World's Healthiest Breakfast," Researcher Says.

While celebrating his 101st trip around the sun at the David Grant United States Air Force (USAF) Medical Center, the retired U.S. Army Sergeant Major—who was drafted in 1941 and served in the Philippines and Vietnam—credited the gym and fishing for helping him live longer in a birthday announcement published on Travis Air Force Base's website. But above all else, Peterson attributed his longevity to his soda habit.

When asked what she thinks the secret is to Peterson's longevity, his daughter, retired U.S. Army Col. Linda Standage, answered, "He doesn't let any moss grow under him!"

Peterson was quick to give his real answer: "And Dr Pepper!"

The veteran dedicated 59 years of his life to serving his country, according to the Travis Air Force Base website. After joining the U.S. Army in 1941, he went on to serve as a paratrooper in the Philippines before becoming 1st Sgt. to the MAC V Surgeon General in Vietnam. Once retired, Peterson spent the next 14 years working for the United States Post Office.

Next year will mark Peterson's 15th volunteering at David Grant USAF Medical Center. Since joining the volunteer sector in 2010, he's dedicated three to five days per week—for at least four hours a day—giving back to his community.

"He is instrumental in assisting our Health Information Management office in maintaining 124,000 medical records for our 276,000 Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs eligible beneficiaries," Lt. Col. Reni Angelova, 60th Medical Support Squadron commander, said in the announcement. "He shares his knowledge, experience and life with our staff and young Airmen. We truly appreciate his contribution to our Health Information Management mission and to David Grant Medical Center."

RELATED: 115-Year-Old Woman Reveals the Secret of Her Longevity Diet.

While the good work that Peterson does may help him stand out, it turns out he's not the only centenarian with a Dr Pepper habit. While celebrating her 104th birthday in 2015, Elizabeth Sullivan told CNN that she had been drinking two to three cans of Dr Pepper per day since she was 60.

"That stuff is good. It's got sugar in it," the Texas native said of her favorite soda. "Two doctors have told me that if I drink it I will die, but they died first."

Sullivan continued, "Everybody tells me it has too much sugar in it, but since I've been drinking three a day for 50 or 60 years, evidently my body needs sugar! I don't take any medication. They can't seem to find anything wrong with me."

Science may not back up these centenarians claims about the health benefits of Dr Pepper, but the proof may be in the pudding.

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Emily Weaver
Emily is a NYC-based freelance entertainment and lifestyle writer — though, she’ll never pass up the opportunity to talk about women’s health and sports (she thrives during the Olympics). Read more
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