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Living without eating

Somewhere, I heard a simple adage about survival: The Three Threes:

  • Three minutes without air.
  • Three days without water.
  • Three weeks without food.

I don't know how accurate this is. Surely, survival times without food and water would be subject to considerable variation depending on ones initial physical condition, the environment in which one was attempting to survive, and how much physical exertion was required. I suppose that the Three Threes probably represents a general ballpark estimate, based on an average person under average conditions of temperature, humidity, and physical exertion, which means that this info is only an average for normal humans, that do not have exceeding fat, which can be used as food by the body.

Special case

I went 40 days without eating anything and drank mostly water and some juice. I had more energy than if I ate. your body uses a lot of energy to process food. after 21 days I forgot that I ate. eating is a habit. the fast was very healthy and I purged my GI tract of "silt" that caused "un-abosrbtion" it was so great that I got depressed to eat again I ate for a week then did another 40 days...

In the above special case, unless a doctor was consulted, fasting for the period described-40 Days- is highly DANGEROUS and possibly FATAL.Never Fast without Consulting a Doctor

Fasting (voluntarily stopping to eat for a certain period of time) is widely practiced for many different reasons- but should always be done under the consultation and supervision of a doctor; this will ensure the fasting is done in a safe way.

There is scientific research that claims certain health benefits are derived from allowing the body's digestive system to rest for a short period of time (around 24 hrs) a few times a year. Each person's body and nutritional needs are different; only a doctor can provide you with the right requirements to fit your specific needs.

Juice Fasting or Maple Syrup/Honey and water fasting, is not the same as fasting using only water.

A juice fast can be healthy as digestion is the hardest work the human body does, and it can be maintained for weeks and oftentimes months, but the body needs salt, and in particular potassium for the heart to beat regularly. Potassium deficiency develops within days, and depending upon the condition of the patient, heart irregularities may be evident in less than a week in some people, while in others there may be no symptoms for a month or more. Let us be clear, however, juice is still food in liquid form, while water contains only minerals at best.

The longest honey and water fast I have undertaken was for five months, done at a time in my intemperate youth when I still thought I was immortal. During that time I did take a few mouthfuls of yogurt from time to time when my heart irregularity scared me, but I lost 97lbs during those months and looked great - but felt terrible.

Electrolyte balance must be preserved if we wish to abstain from eating, and there are 'juice' preparations which do supply the necessary electrolytes for a long fast, but we'll still lose important muscle tissue, involving all our major organs, and oftentimes irreversible damage is sustained.

Six weeks is the maximum time I would recommend for an electrolyte balanced juice fast in a healthy individual, and return to regular eating should be gradual and take half as long as the fast itself. (That is a cardinal rule when fasting.)

For hygienic purposes, a healthy individual can juice fast for ten days without any adverse effects, indeed, the body will be cleansed, which may produce unpleasant side effects, but they will subside and are usually not dangerous.

While many people do fast without medical supervision, it is unwise to do so. One's blood pressure, pulse, body temperature, and respiration should be monitored daily by a competent medical practitioner if one does not wish to endanger oneself. Blood sugar imbalances can arise unexpectedly and are potentially fatal within minutes, and one never knows if he or she will experience such an episode. There are no warning signs, and unfortunately, no 'cure' unless one is already hypoglycemic or diabetic, which conditions are really just flip sides of the same coin. Diabetics and hypoglycemic patients should not fast at all unless in a hospital setting under constant supervision.

OTOH, dying patients often go without food for six weeks or more in the last stages of illness, but withdrawal of water would shorten their lives considerably. Most patients die within two or three days when water is denied them, but I am reminded of Terri Schindler Schiavo who lived for thirteen days without food or water, IIRC. I have never witnessed any patient surviving that long without water in all my years of medical practice.

A 72-hour juice fast will do the body as much good as a longer one in healthy individuals, but in my opinion, no one should fast for longer than ten days, and never without daily medical supervision - it simply isn't worth the risk.

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โˆ™ 2009-09-25 19:48:12
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