As reported by the Associated Press September 1, a California man lived to 112 on a junk food diet. George Johnson died August 30, of pneumonia.
Reportedly, the “supercentarian,” who was 5’7” and a lean 140 pounds, gorged heedlessly on high-fat grub. According to Dr. L. Stephen Coles, founder of the Gerontology Research Group at the University of California, Los Angeles:
“He had terrible bad habits. He had a diet largely of sausages and waffles. A lot of people think or imagine that your good habits and bad habits contribute to your longevity. But we often find it is in the genes rather than lifestyle.”
Coles, who helped with Johnson’s autopsy, spoke enthusiastically of his “clean as a whistle” organs, which more closely resembled those of a spry 50- or 60-year-old than a man born in the nineteenth century.
My first and only thought upon reading this: you lucky bastard. Why am I bothering with tempeh and broccoli? All I can do is swim futilely against my traitorous crappy genes in a race to hold back diabetes, cancer and heart disease, while guys like Johnson wallow in pork fat.
Of course, there is plenty of data to show that bad habits generally catch up with you. Ol’ Mr. Johnson just slipped through the cracks. But researchers in the field of longevity admit that they still can’t figure out what makes one person live longer than another.