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The Guardian - US
The Guardian - US
Erum Salam

Key to a long life? Dr Pepper, says 101-year-old US army veteran

Bottles of Dr Pepper.
Bottles of Dr Pepper at a bottling plant in Irving, Texas, in 2016. Photograph: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A US army veteran who just turned 101 years old has revealed what he thinks is the key to a long life: Dr Pepper.

Eugene Peterson, a retired sergeant major who was drafted into the army in 1941 and served in both the Philippines and Vietnam, extolled the virtues of the soda pop while celebrating his birthday at Travis air force base in Fairfield, California, where he is a volunteer.

While Peterson’s daughter Linda Standage was asked what she thought the secret to her father’s longevity was, her dad said Dr Pepper was the secret.

“He doesn’t let any moss grow under him!” Standage, a retired US army colonel, said.

Peterson isn’t the only centenarian to claim the carbonated beverage has kept them alive for so long.

In 2015, Elizabeth Sullivan, a 104-year-old woman in Fort Worth, Texas, also credited Dr Pepper for her lengthy lifespan. She drank two cans a day since she was 60, she said. Sullivan passed away in 2017 at the age of 106.

“Well at 103 I didn’t think I’d make it, but I’m still perking along,” Sullivan said at the time. “I started drinking [Dr Pepper] about 40 years ago,” said Sullivan. “Three a day. Every doctor that sees me says they’ll kill you, but they die and I don’t. So there must be a mistake somewhere.”

First sold in 1885, Dr Pepper is a signature soda that is a “blend of 23 flavors”. The soda has origins in Texas. It was first made in Morrison’s Old Corner Drug Store in Waco, Texas, by pharmacist Charles Alderton.

Wade Morrison, the drug store’s owner, named the drink after the father of a girl he was once in love with, according to Keurig Dr Pepper. Dr Pepper made its debut into mainstream American culture in 1904 in Missouri, at the St Louis World’s Fair.

Keurig Dr Pepper did not immediately respond for a comment.

  • This article was amended on 4 January 2023 to name Charles Alderton as the creator of Dr Pepper, not Wade Morrison, as it originally stated.

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