How Long Can You Live Without Water

NutriNeat Staff Nov 8, 2018
Wondering how long can you survive without food and water? Here are some information related to this subject.
Water is one of the most vital requirements for the survival of a living being after oxygen. The human body is composed of 50 to 70% water. This compound plays an important role in the functioning of human body.
Other than H2O, we also require food to maintain the energy rate. It provides much-needed nutrition that helps in release of energy so that we can carry out physical and mental labor effectively.

Surviving Without Food

Let's imagine a situation, where you seem to have tested your limits to stay hungry. You are working in your office, and at about 11 am to 11.30 am you start feeling hunger pangs. You look at your watch and think that it's just about 1½ to 2 hours to lunch time.
By quarter to 12, you start smelling the delicious aroma of a Chinese take away. Your mind starts playing games and all you think of is food. You begin to hear your stomach growl, and you try hard to concentrate on work.
By 12.30 pm, you feel you are about to faint, your metabolism starts to shut down, and your brain refuses to evaluate the Excel sheet that you are working on. Finally, it's 1 pm, and you rush to the cafeteria, barely able to control the loud growls of your hungry stomach.
There are many people who have tested their limits to stay hungry. Some people follow fasting as a religious obligation, some stay hungry as they are on a strike. Political leaders like Mahatma Gandhi were known to have gone without food for 21 days at the age of 70 years.
Thus, basically, the answer to how long can a person live without food is about three weeks. However, this is merely a rough estimate as there is no definitive figure.

Surviving Sans Water

So, just imagine - you are on a trip to Africa, and you get lost in the wide and open Sahara desert. You are left with just a tuna sandwich and a bottle of water. You keep walking, hoping to find human habitat, munching on bits of your sandwich and drinking only tiny gulps of water.
You feel you have walked hundreds of miles and your water is about to get exhausted. And suddenly, you are not left with even a drop of water. So, can you last a long time if you're water-deprived? In this case, you have only a couple of hours to survive, if you do not find water soon.
One can live without water for about 3 days. This is in situations where you do not lose water through sweat, you do not cry even a drop of tear, and the area you live in is not too hot nor cold. Also, depending on an individual's capacity to remain thirsty, the number of days he/she can survive varies.

Factors Affecting Survival Without Water and Food

You might be wondering that how come you can survive for 3 weeks without food and only 3 days without water? Well, there is a scientific explanation to the vast difference in the rate of survival in both situations.
Our body works by converting food into energy, and this takes place through a process called metabolism. When the body stops receiving food, the rate of metabolism starts decreasing. Slowly, the body starts breaking down the stored proteins and fats to produce energy. This breakdown of stored body nutrients increases the rate of survival.
Another factor is the climate one lives in. In case of cold weather, the body needs more energy to maintain its temperature. This means more resources are burned, and hence, normal climates may help to increase your chances of survival. Also, it depends on the amount of physical exercise you carry out.
If you remains in one position most of the time, without utilizing too much of energy, you may live even longer that is, more than 3 weeks. In case of an obese person, it is possible that he/she may survive up to 25 weeks without food depending on the fat levels in the body.
Water is very essential for the normal functioning of each and every organ, and is needed to transport nutrients around the body, and also for removal of toxins. If one does not continuously replenish body fluids, one is bound to die.
Humans lose water through urination, feces, sweat, respiration, and even through tears. In summer, the risk of suffering from dehydration is more, and living without water lowers the chances of survival.
Dry mouth, sunken eyes, increased heart beats, no urine, vomiting, etc., are the symptoms of dehydration. Finally, the body goes into shock, and the skin turns blue-gray in color. The blood pressure drops, and the body becomes cold.
All the human body systems shut down. Thus, under ideal conditions, how much does one live when there is no water? The answer is just about 3 to 5 days depending on the individual and circumstances.
How long can you live without air? The answer is just for about 3 minutes depending on an individual's capacity to hold one's breath. It is extremely dangerous to go on a stretch without food and water.
Do not attempt to try to stay hungry and thirsty to test the answers. These situations have been scientifically proven, and the rate of survival depends on an individual and the environment, among other factors.