Skip to content
Home » Blog » How Long Can You Go Without Food

How Long Can You Go Without Food

  • Other

Food and water consumption is important to human life. Your body needs energy from food sources and hydration from water to function properly. the various systems in your body work optimally with a varied diet and adequate water intake daily.

But our bodies also are ready to survive for days without water. we will go days or sometimes weeks without food due to adjustments to our metabolism and energy consumption.

In fact, research on hunger strikes and voluntary fasting examined cases where people had water, but no food. In three cases, people went for 28, 36, and 38 days without food, before becoming too sick to continue their strikes. In other cases, those on hunger strikes died after 45 to 61 days without food. 

In general, healthy, lean individuals experience severe effects of starvation once they lose 18% of their weight or reach a body mass index of but 16.5, which is taken into account severely underweight. 

In general, women can withstand starvation longer than men and survive at a lower BMI. this might flow from the fact women naturally have a better body fat percentage, but also that their bodies tend to use fat instead of lean muscle for energy during times of starvation. 

What factors affect survival?

Many factors can affect how long an individual can go without food. A person’s age, sex, body size, fitness, general health, and activity level all play a task .

Being able to measure for days and weeks with no food and water seems inconceivable to several folks . After all, a daylong fast or maybe an hours-long stretch without food and water can make many folks irritable and low on energy.

Your body actually adjusts itself if you engage during a short-term fast or are unable to access food and water for very long stretches of your time . this enables people to interact in religious fasts and even try “fasting” diets just like the eat-stop-eat approach without doing irreparable damage to their bodies.

It takes about eight hours without eating for your body to vary how it operates. Before that, it functions as if you were eating regularly.

Under normal circumstances, your body breaks down food into glucose. The glucose provides energy to the body.

Once the body hasn’t had access to food for 8 to 12 hours, your glucose storage is depleted. Your body will begin to convert glycogen from your liver and muscles into glucose.

After your glucose and glycogen are depleted, your body will begin to use amino acids to supply energy. This process will affect your muscles and may carry your body along for about three days of starvationTrusted Source before metabolism makes a serious shift to preserve lean body tissue.

To prevent excessive muscle loss, the body begins to believe fat stores to make ketones for energy, a process referred to as ketosis. you’ll experience significant weight loss during this point . one among the explanations women are ready to sustain starvation longer than men is that their bodies have a better fat composition. Females also are ready to hold on to protein and lean muscle tissue better than males during starvation.

The more fat stores available, the longer an individual can typically survive during starvation. Once the fat stores are completely metabolized, the body then reverts back to muscle breakdown for energy, since it’s the sole remaining fuel source within the body.

You’ll begin to experience severe adverse symptoms during the stage of starvation where your body is using its muscle reserves for energy. A study within the British Medical JournalTrusted Source states that those undergoing a fast should be monitored closely for severe side effects of starvation after losing 10 percent of their weight . It also says that very serious conditions will occur when a private loses 18 percent of their weight .

Read more: Innovations to tackle food waste

How long are you able to go without water?

It is estimated people can only survive 2 to 4 days without water. for instance , in 1944, two scientists abstained from beverage while still eating a dry diet that had all the required nutrients. One lasted 3 days and therefore the other went for 4 before that they had to prevent the experiment.

While the body can break down tissue to exchange the fuel from food, there’s no internal process to form up for lack of hydration, Paul says. Within hours of not drinking, you’ll start to experience symptoms of dehydration including:

  • Thirst
  • Dry skin
  • Dizziness

With time, these progress to:

  • Confusion
  • Racing heart
  • Organ failure

The bottom line

Human bodies are fairly resilient and may function for days and weeks without proper food and water. This isn’t to mention that going without food for a protracted period is healthy or should be practiced.

Your body can maintain itself for every week or two without access to food and water and possibly even longer if you consume water. those that experience starvation will got to be monitored by a doctor to urge back to health following the period of time without nourishment to avoid refeeding syndrome.