How Long Can a Person Live Without Food?

How Long Can a Person Live Without Food

Generally, most experts say that a person can live about three weeks without food. Of course, other factors influence this amount of time. If an individual is trapped somewhere and also can’t get anything to drink, they will die within a few days of thirst. If the person is severely ill, they could die from that illness or, at least, survive much less time do to food deprivation and illness combined. If someone is not eating because they have lost the will to live, the end could come much sooner. An obese person who is otherwise in good health could last considerably longer than three weeks due to their fat reserves.

So when answering the question, “How long can a person live without food?”, these four major factors must be considered:

  1. Weight when fasting begins.
  2. Amount of water or other liquids ingested.
  3. The general health of the individual.
  4. The person’s mental desire to live.

So what’s the longest amount of time that a person can live without food? In 1981, a group of Irish Republican political prisoners in a British prison went on a hunger strike to protest the British occupation of Northern Ireland. Most of them were in good health and mentally motivated to stretch out their vigal as long as possible. Their leader died after 66 days without food. The shortest time amoung the group was 46 days, but one of the protesters, Lawrence McKeown, lasted between 70 and 73 days (there’s some question about the exact number due to conflicting reports). That is the longest verifiable amount of time on record.

The actual cause of death for most people who starve to death is divided amoung three main maladies (although there are others). Heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure account for most of the deaths.

Another often asked question is, “How long can I safely go without food as a way to lose weight?”. And the answer is, “Don’t ever completely stop eating as a method of weight control!” This is especially true if you are already very thin, in less than perfect health, or mentally depressed! Under the wrong conditions, you could die in a matter of days!

You should always get a physical check up before reducing your food intake below normal. Your doctor is the only one qualified to tell you whether your diet plan is safe or not. In general, a healthy, average height female should never consume less than 800 calories per day. You should lose weight pretty quickly at that rate! Men should never go below 1000 calories per day. Understand that even those amounts are critically low! Again, you need to get a doctor’s opinion to reduce your food intake to that point. Be sure to take vitamin supplements and eat foods with protein.

If you plan to diet, check out our, “How To Lose Weight page!

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