The Woman Who Drank 3 Dr Peppers A Day And Lived To Age 106

While many of us are all too familiar with doctors' warnings against consuming too much sugar, none of that mattered to Elizabeth Sullivan. According to a CNN interview with the woman notorious for drinking three Dr Peppers a day well into her 100s, she credited the soda for her long life. 

According to CNN, Sullivan lived in her Fort Worth home since 1942. A graduate of the University of Texas, she taught high school and went on to tutor until just a few years before her 104th birthday. Hailed as the Texas Rangers' oldest fan right until her death at age 106, Sullivan was a widow with two children, six grandchildren, and 13 great grandchildren. And while she had the option of moving in with relatives, instead she maintained her independence in her own home and even had her driver's license until the age of 103. More impressively, at age 104, Sullivan had never been admitted to a hospital except to give birth and to undergo tonsil-removal surgery. She also never reported any chronic illnesses or regularly took any medications.

Sullivan drank three Dr Peppers a day for more than 40 years

Elizabeth Sullivan rose to prominence when CBS Texas reported that she drank three Dr Peppers a day for more than 40 years. Not only did Sullivan credit the soda for her longevity, she also praised it for her exceptional health. As soon as Dr Pepper became aware of her claims, she went on to receive a lifetime supply of free soda from the famous brand.

In her interview with CNN, Sullivan exclaimed, "Two doctors have told me that if I drink it, I will die. But they died first!" In a prior interview with CBS, she said, "People try to give me coffee for breakfast. Well, I'd rather have a Dr Pepper." She further declared, "Every doctor that sees me says they'll kill you. But they die and I don't, so there must be a mistake somewhere." Sullivan was so iconic that for her 106th birthday — the last before her death — she received a Dr Pepper-shaped cake as well as Dr Pepper soda from the Dr Pepper Snapple Group.

A clip from her CNN interview became a 'thug life' meme

One of the key reasons for Sullivan's rise to prominence was her CNN interview. Aged 104 at the time, Sullivan immediately became a hit with viewers after enjoying a glass of Dr Pepper and giving her account of why she loved the soda so much. Her infamous interview soon earned her one of the greatest compliments in modern day pop culture — the creation of a meme in her honor.

There are a handful of different versions of the meme, but many include images of Sullivan from CNN with cartoon sunglasses superimposed on her face, as a few bars from Dr. Dre's 1999 hit "The Next Episode" play triumphantly in the background. The consistent feature of the meme is Sullivan noting that all the doctors who told her a daily Dr Pepper would kill her are dead. Pardon us for saying so, but that particular observation would be widely described as "gangsta" in the vernacular of '90s hip-hop.

Routine may have also contributed to Sullivan's longevity

While it is a bit remarkable that Elizabeth Sullivan drank three Dr Peppers per day for more than 40 years, there may be another reason for her longevity. An article by Insider revealed that living to such an impressive age can be partly attributed to habits in general. In his book titled "Art of Routine," Dr. Angel Iscovich investigated and outlined how sticking to a routine can transform people's lives in more ways than one.

The former emergency medicine physician's book covers multiple centenarians, with Elizabeth Sullivan being one of them, to demonstrate how habits and routines themselves — yes, even those habits are considered the bad kind — can be more impactful than the specific content of the habits. On the other hand, other researchers credited the participants' other healthy habits — which they all had in common — for their longevity. These included strong relationships, constantly moving around, and a plant-based diet.