My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Ask Your Question

WebMD Answers

120 Characters remaining
120 Characters remaining
  • First, try and keep your question as short as possible.
  • Include specific words that will help us identify questions that may already have your answer.
  • If you don't find your answer, you can post your question to WebMD Experts and Contributors.


Posted: | Report This Report Question |

How long can you live without food?

Related Topics: Food

Answers From Experts & Organizations (1)

Internal Medicine
Emory University
131 Answers
108,658 Helpful Votes

That depends on your energy reserves; in other words, how much meat you have on your bones at the time you take your last bite of food. Starvation conditions are one of the very few situations when it’s better to be overweight, or even obese.

A pound of fat contains about 3,500 calories, enough energy for a day and a half to several days, depending on your activity level and metabolism. A pound of muscle contains about half that.

There is no good scientific evidence on exactly how long people can live before starving to death. Needless to say, that study will never be done. Examples of people on hunger strikes who continue to drink water but eat no food show that a healthy person with a normal body weight may be able to survive well over a month without food.

Survival time also depends on a person’s activity level during the fast. More activity means more calories burned and fewer available for basic bodily functions.

There are many reports of obese people surviving for more than 100 days without food, but there is no way to prove these people truly ate nothing at all the entire time.

This answer should not be considered medical advice...down arrowThis answer should not be considered medical advice and should not take the place of a doctor’s visit. Please see the bottom of the page for more information or visit our Terms and Conditions.up arrow

| Report This Report Answer

Was this helpful?


Thanks for your feedback.

315 of 523 found this helpful