General Question

imgr8's avatar

How long can you safely go without food?

Asked by imgr8 (425 points ) September 8th, 2012

I don’t have an eating disorder and I’m not worried about my weight, its more of an experiment. I want to be able to understand what it feels like to not eat. I’m talking a week absolute max.

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17 Answers

zicron's avatar

You can’t go long without water,maybee a day or two, but with food you might be able to go without it for a month, depending on how many liquids you drink.

YARNLADY's avatar

Me personally, not more than one day, because I am borderline diabetic.

Before you try a fasting session, check with your doctor – and never stop drinking liquids.

seekingwolf's avatar

used to fast for spiritual purposes. Most I went was about 3 days without food and then I had to go back to the real world, lol. I felt some initial hunger but got over it. It did effect my mind.

You can survive for several weeks without food.

Honestly though, in terms of health, don’t ever go more than a day without food. Your blood sugar goes wacky without it.

ETpro's avatar

If you are average weight and healthy, 30 days is typically no problem.

I went 10 days once, and after the first day or two, I didn’t even think about eating.
I had to decide to start back up. You may need to take laxatives or enemas while fasting. The body begins to rid itself of fat cells and toxins, so there is still a flow of fecal material but it becomes hard and dry without the normal intake of fiber, and constipation can result.

zicron's avatar

And personaly i have gone 2 weeks without food, but i drank a whole glass of water every hour and my stomach was very uncomfortable in the restroom.

_Whitetigress's avatar

I’ve attempted 1 a week of not eating. I cracked on day 4 out of 7. Day 1 I was hungry. Day 2 I thought about eating. Day 3 I accepted my fate and was in a dream like state, numb sort of. Day 4 my buddies invited me to sushi where I thought I was so numb that I wouldn’t want to eat.

JLeslie's avatar

You most likely won’t die in a week, Unless you have underlying sugar problems or some other undiagnosed medical problem. Some argue fasting throws the body into starvation mode and then can permanently affect metabolism. There are studies now showing yo yo dieters need to consume approximateoy 20% fewer calories to sustain the same weight as someone who never dieted in such a way. I would say not worth the risk of the negative affects of fasting for so long. Depending on weight and assuming the person is healthy, I think I remember two weeks of fasting being the thrown around time for being able to go without food. I don’t recommend it though.

prasad's avatar

I had gone for a week without food, though the reason was different. I drank water and tea. But, I felt helplessly weak after the week.

Then there are some ways to do without food. Religious people here practice such things. Even living around, I and many people here don’t know how they do it. I met such a person and he told they derive the energy not from food, but from meditation.

I would suggest you drink liquids, and especially add salt in it, so as to avoid dehydration. You can drink lemon juice, for example.

Mariah's avatar

Just want to throw it out there that the digestive effects can be quite the opposite of what @ETpro relates. I find that without anything solid coming in, nothing solid is going to come out. I really wouldn’t recommend this.

gailcalled's avatar

Given the issues you mention in your profile and those that you have shared with us on this open forum, I would talk this over with your PCP and your counsellor. You don’t want to get into trouble.

Why the need to try this?

People who have successfully fasted have a schedule, a program, a quiet place with no disruptions where they can be calm, and a support team who supervises them.

imgr8's avatar

@gailcalled I wouldn’t be getting in trouble, I swear im not as crazy as I make myself sound! Im actually quite sane and I don’t think my counselor could care less what I do (unless of course I was killing myself or something) its just that the majority of my life isn’t eventful enough to post about so you only get the bad.

ETpro's avatar

@Mariah That’s actually what I said. Without sufficient fiber coming in, what your body does cast off as dead cells, consumed fat, and toxins will get so dried out in the small intestines and colon you will likely get impacted. Your intestinal tract’s job is to remove fluids and nutrients from waste material passing through it. With a regular flow, things work fine. When little is passing through, it stays in there too long and gets too dried out. Ask your doctor if you do not believe me.

And since some people have medical conditions that contraindicate fasting, always check with your medical professional and get their advice before undertaking any extended fast.

Response moderated (Spam)
Mariah's avatar

@ETpro, I don’t doubt it can affect some people that way, but fasting gives me diarrhea. That’s what I’m trying to warn OP against.

ETpro's avatar

@Mariah Oh sorry. That’s truly unusual, but each of us in unique. I’m not at all sure how to deal with that.

dabbler's avatar

I’d recommend trying some shorter fasts first. Try one day, then three days, then…
Also plan your return to eating. Break-fast should be very mild, some people will start with vegetable juices and simple salads.

Mariah's avatar

@ETpro Thanks for the info; my digestive tract itself is truly unusual so this doesn’t surprise me much; I deal with it by not fasting XD. I did think it was a more common phenomenon though, but if it’s not then OP can feel free to ignore me.

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