Can humans live without eating food, just by drinking water? How long can we survive just by drinking water everyday?

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    $\begingroup$ 116 "Singh finally heeded a resolution of the Congress party and the request of his father, ending ended his 116-day hunger strike on 5 October 1929" You can see this on: link: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhagat_Singh In section: "Hunger strike and Lahore conspiracy case" last paragraph $\endgroup$
    – Singh
    Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 14:15

4 Answers 4


About 52 to 74 days according to hunger strike wiki page.

This wiki page bases its data on 8 persons who died due to hunger strike:
Days survived by each person: 66, 59, 61, 61, 61, 46, 71, 73, 62, 60.

  • $\begingroup$ Where does the 74 come from? The highest referenced number there is 73. Did you get 74 from another source or was that just a typo? $\endgroup$
    – user3393
    Commented May 10, 2013 at 14:42
  • $\begingroup$ @RhysW: Last line of Medical View says: There are examples of hunger strikers dying after 52 to 74 days of strike. $\endgroup$
    – Xaqron
    Commented May 10, 2013 at 16:11
  • $\begingroup$ nice find... I imagine the average is a bit lower than this, but the record kind of tells you how long we can endure without food if we're well hydrated and not otherwise stressed. $\endgroup$
    – shigeta
    Commented May 10, 2013 at 18:16
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    $\begingroup$ This timeframe is similar to one mentioned in malnutrition lectures I've had $\endgroup$
    – Rory M
    Commented May 11, 2013 at 10:13

This would vary a LOT depending on the amount of stored fat, previous diet, the weather and even the water drunk. Weeks though there is a good chance that a loss of electrolytes can cause health problems. (that's why I mention the water you drink, because many bottled water brands and wells have a bit of salt in them.)

Its hard to say from anecdotal experience. There are claims of 3 weeks being easy, but a medical study would be unethical because of the risks posed to the subjects.


You can remember this easily as the rule of threes:

You can survive:

  • 3 minutes without air. (death by asphyxiation)
  • 3 hours without shelter (death by hypothermia, heatstroke).
  • 3 days without water. (death by dehydration)
  • 3 weeks without food. (death by starvation)

Going beyond those guidelines will generally do you permanent damage.

Further reading: http://www.wildernesscollege.com/basic-survival-skills.html

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    $\begingroup$ Hi cpendlebury, here at Biology.SE we like answers to reference the claims they make. For more information on this, see meta. $\endgroup$
    – Rory M
    Commented Sep 25, 2013 at 8:50
  • $\begingroup$ Noted and fixed. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 25, 2013 at 12:46

1 year and 17 days only on water and electrolytes.

Actually, he went water only for about 75 days (read that elsewhere, can't remember) and then they supplemented his water only diet with electrolytes. He's done it under medical supervision and gained 7 KG in 5 years after the fast. So the weight does stay off (obviously, if you go and stay into a healthier diet).

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    $\begingroup$ "He did not eat any food, but the staff gave him yeast for the first 10 months and multi-vitamins every day. Potassium is essential for the proper working of the heart, and when his potassium levels got a little low around the 100-day mark, he was given potassium tablets for about 70 days." Certainly not just water. $\endgroup$
    – Amory
    Commented Oct 25, 2013 at 13:14
  • $\begingroup$ @Amory Well, if it's any consolation, he pushed further than anyone mentioned here on water alone. I've also read this in a research PDF and they mention at least 75 days on water alone. If I'll find it again, I'll link it here. $\endgroup$
    – CodeAngry
    Commented Oct 25, 2013 at 16:22

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