Usually, one would like to see concrete scientific questions answered with concrete experiments – but not in this case. Unfortunately, however, one can look back on the fate of many involuntary or ultimately determined people whose starvation has been precisely documented. One of the most extended cases dragged on for 73 days. In this article, we read about How long can you go without food?
The imprisoned Mayor of Cork, Terence Joseph McSweeney, died in 1920 in a London prison on a hunger strike with which he had protested the murder of his predecessor. That made McSweney’s fellow prisoner’s survival record-holders: At that time, they continued the hunger strike that McSweeney had started together until they gave up after 94 days – alive. In October 1929, they took over by Bhagat SinghRelieved when the Indian socialist broke off a hunger strike on day 116 in British custody. The duration of his hunger period is not entirely uncontroversial because the British authorities had made various attempts to force-feed the prisoner or to secretly supply him with nutrients, for example, through milk in the drinking water.
Officially, this sets a standard of at least three months that other famous cases cannot reach. Mahatma Gandhi, for example, fasted for 21 days on a hunger strike; a couple involuntarily crashed in a barren region for about 42 days. Officially documented is the death of other hunger strikers in various prisons, who died after 28 to 40 days. Long after the Irish freedom fighter McSweeney. Ten political prisoners died of starvation in 1981 after 46 to 73 days of hunger strike.
Further observations suggest that people survive three months without eating. However, these mainly come from poorly controlled circumstances such as concentration camps or famine and are therefore not very reliable. However, what is clear is that you always have to drink enough. And take in vitamins and minerals from time to time. Because without water, everyone dries out within a few days until the cycle collapses and one dies. How long this takes precisely depends on the general condition. After all, we know a few case studies. If relatives decide that a patient with severe brain damage should no longer artificially kept alive. It often takes about 10 to 14 days after the devices switch off until they die. It takes just as long when patients in the terminal stages of an incurable disease voluntarily forego food and drink.
Also read: how to cook shrimp