How Long Can You Live Without Food?
We all have seen stories of people trapped in horrible conditions and surviving without food for days, but the question remains, how long can you live without food? For most of us, skipping a meal gets our tummy rumbling. Heck, some of us get cranky without a midday snack. But when push comes to shove, how long can you really live without eating?
The medical community claims that the average adult human being, in normal health and under normal conditions, can actually live four to six weeks with no food. While that sounds like a long time, the actual time you can survive is dependent on a number of factors.
For example, if you're sick, or are in some sort of physical distress to begin with, the amount of time you can survive decreases greatly to about three week max. A stronger person, like an athlete, will survive much much longer due in part to larger muscle mass. When starving, the body breaks down muscle and uses it as fuel. Therefore, the more muscular you are, the better chance you have of living without food for an extended period of time. Physically fit people also have an advantage in that they have an increased metabolism. They require less calories so they will starve at a slower rate. Lucky.
But most people don't starve under "ideal" conditions, but under extenuating circumstances, like being trapped in bad weather. The environment plays an important role in how long you can go on with no food. For example, those trapped in extreme climate conditions, say in the desert or in the tundra, are expected to last less than a month. In harsh weather conditions, the body will expend energy trying to keep itself warmer or colder and will require more energy, thus increasing the rate at which a person starves to death.
While there have been many cases where people have survived for even longer than six weeks without food, the trick is to never put yourself in that position in the first place. Stay physically fit and active. Keep an emergency kit on hand at all times when traveling. Make sure you have plenty of bottled water and protein bars, both of which will keep better than fresh food. And of course, relish in the fact that you're not starving at the moment and go get yourself a nice greasy cheeseburger.