How Long Can You Survive Without Food and Water?

The Importance of Food and Water

Greetings, dear reader! Food and water are essential elements for our survival. These two factors provide us with energy, hydration, and vital nutrients that allow our body to function correctly.

However, there are situations in which food and water are scarce or inaccessible. In such cases, our bodies have mechanisms to conserve energy and hydration, but how long can we survive without them? In this article, we will explore the science behind this question and provide you with the necessary information to understand how your body reacts to the absence of food and water.

How Long Can You Go Without Food and Water?

Our bodies can survive longer without food than water. On average, a human can survive without food for about three weeks. However, the exact survival time depends on factors such as the person’s age, weight, and overall health condition.

On the other hand, our bodies can only survive without water for about three days. Dehydration can quickly lead to organ failure and eventually, death. The exact time one can survive without water depends on several factors, including the person’s age, weight, and physical activity level.

The Stages of Starvation

When our bodies do not receive enough food or water, they go through different stages to conserve energy and hydration. Understanding these stages is crucial to know when to seek medical intervention. The following are the three stages of starvation:

Stage Duration Physical Symptoms Emotional Symptoms
Stage 1 6-24 hours Hunger, weakness, headache, irritability Anxiety, restlessness
Stage 2 2-3 days Dizziness, fatigue, low blood pressure, rapid heartbeat Confusion, depression
Stage 3 2-3 weeks Muscle wasting, extreme fatigue, organ failure Psychosis, delirium

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Fasting

Intermittent fasting has become a trendy practice in recent years. It involves abstaining from food and beverages, except water, for a specific period, ranging from 12 to 72 hours. However, it is essential to be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of fasting before attempting it.

Advantages of Fasting

Fasting has several potential benefits for our physical and mental health. Some of these benefits include:

  1. Weight loss: Fasting can help promote weight loss by reducing calorie intake and increasing metabolism.
  2. Lower blood pressure and cholesterol: Fasting can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of heart disease.
  3. Better insulin sensitivity: Fasting can increase insulin sensitivity, reducing the risk of diabetes.
  4. Improved brain function: Some studies suggest that fasting can enhance brain function and reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases.

Disadvantages of Fasting

Although fasting has potential benefits, there are also some disadvantages to consider. Some of these disadvantages include:

  1. Dehydration: Fasting can lead to dehydration, especially if you do not drink enough water.
  2. Low blood sugar: Fasting can cause low blood sugar levels, leading to dizziness, weakness, and fatigue.
  3. Loss of muscle mass: Prolonged fasting can lead to the breakdown of muscle tissue, leading to muscle loss.
  4. Eating disorders: Fasting can trigger eating disorders or worsen existing ones.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Can you survive without food completely?

A: No, humans cannot survive without food completely. Our bodies need nutrients to function correctly.

Q: How long can a person survive without water?

A: A person can survive without water for about three days, but this depends on several factors such as age, weight, and physical activity level.

Q: Can fasting cure diseases?

A: Fasting is not a cure for diseases, but it can help improve some health conditions by reducing inflammation and improving insulin sensitivity.

Q: Is it safe to fast for more than 72 hours?

A: Fasting for more than 72 hours can lead to dehydration, muscle breakdown, and other health complications. It is essential to consult a healthcare provider before attempting prolonged fasting.

Q: What are the signs of dehydration?

A: The signs of dehydration include thirst, dry mouth, dark urine, fatigue, dizziness, and confusion.

Q: How much water should I drink per day?

A: The amount of water you need per day depends on several factors such as your weight, physical activity level, and climate. A general guideline is to drink at least eight glasses of water per day.

Q: Can you drink coffee during fasting?

A: It depends on the type of fasting you are doing. Some types of fasting, such as water fasting, only allow water consumption. Other types, such as intermittent fasting, allow for the consumption of low-calorie beverages such as black coffee.

Q: How long does it take to rehydrate after dehydration?

A: It depends on the severity of dehydration and the individual’s overall health condition. Mild dehydration can be treated by drinking fluids, while severe dehydration may require medical attention.

Q: Can you drink too much water?

A: Yes, drinking too much water can lead to water poisoning, also known as hyponatremia. It can cause headaches, vomiting, seizures, and in severe cases, coma and death.

Q: Can you survive on only water?

A: No, humans cannot survive on only water. Our bodies need nutrients to function correctly.

Q: How does starvation affect the brain?

A: Starvation can cause a reduction in brain function, leading to confusion, delirium, and other cognitive impairments.

Q: Can you die from eating too much food?

A: Yes, overeating can lead to several health complications such as obesity, high blood pressure, and heart disease, which can eventually lead to death.

Q: How long does it take for the body to enter starvation mode?

A: The body enters starvation mode when it is deprived of food for an extended period, usually around 72 hours.

Q: Can fasting reduce inflammation?

A: Yes, fasting can help reduce inflammation by reducing the production of inflammatory markers such as cytokines.


In conclusion, food and water are essential to our survival, and our bodies can only survive without them for a limited time. It is crucial to understand the stages of starvation and the signs of dehydration to know when to seek medical intervention. Fasting has potential benefits for our physical and mental health, but it is essential to be aware of the advantages and disadvantages before attempting it. Remember to always consult with a healthcare provider before making any significant changes to your diet or fasting regimen.

Take Action Now!

If you are experiencing symptoms of dehydration or starvation, seek medical attention immediately. Remember to stay hydrated and nourished to maintain optimal health.


This article is for informational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Watch Video:How Long Can You Survive Without Food and Water?