How Long Can You Survive Without Food (And Why)? 

Exact Answer: 3 to 90 Days

Food, water, shelter, and air are the basic needs of human beings for survival. A shortage of any of these may lead to fatal. Food provides us with sufficient nutrients, which give us the energy to perform the activities, help us in our growth, keeps our body healthy, and also repairs the body from time to time.

No doubt, if we are healthy it is because of the consumption of sufficient nutrients in the form of food that acts as fuel for the human body. The human body can also survive without food for a particular period. It must be noted that our body starts to work differently when we don’t consume food.

How Long Can You Survive Without Food?

There is no scientific experiment performed yet, due to ethical concerns. So, all the data are based on historical events & modern-day hunger strikes. No one can exactly pinpoint & answer these questions as to how long our body can survive when only food is deprived.

You can understand by the fact that every human is completely different from each other whether it is a matter of physical or mental health, so one formula cannot be applicable for everyone. When food is eliminated, we can survive for weeks, but when water is eliminated, we only live for a few days. This variance is because of the level of hydration that our body receives.

If we talk about the healthy and well-nourished body of males weighing around 70 kg, so they can survive for 60 to 80 days. Many incidents show that people who voluntarily participate in human strikes died after 50 to 60 days.

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According to research and study, it is unlikely for human beings to live without food for more than 3 months. It is also found that women can survive longer than men. During famines, children are affected very soon due to the lack of food. It could lead to their death in a short period during famines.

Looking at one of the incidents of history, which we can consider here is the famous non-violent leader, Mahatma Gandhi. He survived 21 days without food in total starvation at the age of 74! He was only allowed to have a sip of water in the given timeframe.

However, all this approximate data provided by researchers and scientists are based on human strikes and famines.

In summary,

Hunger Condition Of A Human BeingNumber Of Days
A healthy middle-aged human with water60 to 80 Days
A healthy middle-aged human without water8 to 21 Days
An old-aged human with water10 to 21 Days
An old-aged human without water3 to 8 Days

Why Can You Survive Without Food For So Long?

The survival period without food depends on various factors such as personal body weight, genetics, and health conditions. The time varies from person to person. This duration of time cannot be the same for everyone. 

The most important factor that affects is the intake of water. Experts claim that drinking water in a particular time frame without food can extend the survival period. This keeps the body hydrated. Lack of water along with lack of food may result in dehydration, which may prove to be fatal.

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It is not the only aspect that affects survival time. Other factors such as age, weight, fitness, and other factors also play an important role. Food is considered the fuel that is required for our body. Carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, and minerals are required to renew our cells. They also help in the completion of our bodily processes.

Our body needs energy to continuously function. This is achieved by the intake of food and water. When a person starves, initially, the consumption of the stored glycogen takes place. After the timeframe of 8 hours, the human body starts using its stored fats as the source of energy. As a result, the body starts losing muscle. When there are no more fats to extract energy, then starvation may lead to death.

Conclusion

If you are thinking about losing weight by starvation, then you are risking your life. Food is a basic need. Our body requires it for its survival. In the case of starvation, the body stops working naturally. Those who undergo starvation may need medical attention to get back to normal health. Hydration plays a vital role when a person undergoes starvation.

References

  1. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF01920242
  2. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-642-29056-5_1
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