How Many Days Can You Survive Without Food?


(Modern – Approximately how long can a person go without food?

• 3 days

• 13 days

• 23 days

• 30 days

Answer: 30 days. Here’s why…

In an emergency situation, starvation isn’t necessarily the most pressing concern. According to the survival rule of three, breathable air, shelter and drinkable water should be established first. But once those basic needs are met, staying fed will be a major issue. If food becomes scarce, just how long can you survive before succumbing to starvation?

How Long Will You Last?

The average accepted amount of time a human being can survive without food is three weeks. However, this depends on the state of the person going into the survival situation.

Preexisting health conditions could cause the body to begin shutting down vital systems sooner than would happen for a healthy individual. According to, people of average weight will lose muscle tissue and body weight at a faster rate than obese people as well.

How Starvation Affects the Body

Under normal conditions, the body uses glucose from the foods we consume to function. When food isn’t available, it will instead begin to use glycogen from the liver and muscles to create energy — leading to a number of issues in the long run.

Once the glucose and glycogen reserves are gone, amino acids are converted into energy. The body will then turn to ketosis, essentially running off of the fat stores. Weight loss ramps up at this point until the fat stores are depleted. This is when starvation gets dangerous, as the body cannibalizes the remaining muscle to survive.

The symptoms of starvation, eventually leading to death, include:

  • Dizziness/faintness
  • Weakness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Abdominal pain
  • Organ failure
  • Heart attack

Yes, there are a few essentials that need to be taken care of before worrying about food in a survival situation. But eventually, the need to fuel the body will become a pressing matter.

One way to stay fed in an emergency is to know what kind of edible plants are available in the environment. For some insight into this, check out our article on foraging for survival.

~Here’s to Your Survival!

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