Thursday, May 17, 2012

How long can Man Survive Without Food?

        Like air and water, food is also essential part for all living beings. From the smallest insects to the biggest animals- all need food for their survival. So much so that even plants cannot live have long without food. Each person requires a certain amount of food daily, depending on his size, weight, age and amount of activity. Most of us feel uncomfortable, if we skip just one meal. Also, if we go without food for 12 hours or more we feel all the more lethargic.

            Energy required to do work is obtained form food we eat. Our cells and tissues suffer damage every day while doing work and need to be repaired and replaced. Food is thus needed for the growth, maintenance and development of our body. In short, we need carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and water as food for proper functioning of our body.

            Have you ever given a thought to how long we can survive without food? There are some animals that can store food in their bodies and live on stored food for a long time. It has been observed that smaller and more active animals consume more food than others, in proportion to their body weight. Warm-blooded animals use up the food stored in their body more quickly. A dog can survive without food for 20 days at the most. However, some bugs can survive without food for one full year.

            Man cannot store food in his stomach. If he misses one meal, he feels weak. Food is required to maintain the flow of blood. All constituents of blood are obtained form food. The moment blood runs low on nutritional materials, a signal goes to the brain and we start feeling hungry.

            There are a few examples of people who survived for a very long time without food. Angus Warviern of Scotland survived without food for 382 days, i.e., from June 1965 to July 1966. During this period, he took only coffee, tea, water and soda water. One South African woman survived for 102 days on water and soda water. Stefan Taylor of New Zealand survived for 40 days in 1970 on a daily intake of just one glass of water. There are many such examples. Such people are endowed with exceptional power. A common man can, at the most, survive without food for a week.