Angus Barbieri holds the Guinness World Record for the longest hunger strike, which lasted 382 days. Even now, scientists don’t quite understand how he was able to live without food for so long and not harm his health. Most scientists are convinced that not eating for more than 40 days can be extremely dangerous to our health.
We found this extraordinary case and wondered what this man’s reasons were for doing something so risky and how he could live without food for so long.
One Year On Mineral Water And Vitamins
In 1965, a very overweight 27-year-old man was admitted to Maryfield Hospital in Dundee, Scotland. At the time, he weighed 456 pounds. Angus told the staff that he was ready to stop eating for a while to lose weight, and the doctors agreed to monitor his progress.
At first, Angus would not stop eating for long. But it was so easy for him to live without food that, despite the doctors’ advice, he decided to continue his experiment even after 40 days of fasting. He wanted to be in perfect shape.
For over a year, he only took vitamin supplements and ate yeast, specifically vitamin C. On day 92, he started taking potassium pills and on day 345, he started eating salt.
In addition, he could drink as many non-caloric beverages as he wanted: such as tea, coffee, and mineral water. Angus sometimes only ate a little sugar and milk, especially during the last days of his diet.
He only had a bowel movement every 37 to 38 days. This is not surprising because he did not eat much.
He Had To Leave His Job At A Food Shop In Order To Lose Weight
He received no medical treatment, although at first he was surrounded by doctors. But because he was so well adapted to not eating, he was soon allowed to go home and live there. I just needed to go to the hospital for some health checks.
Doctors stated that the man had a very low glucose level, which was proven by the fact that he was not eating anything. But the hypoglycemia didn’t stop him from doing the things he used to do, and he still felt fine.
All he had to do was stop working for his father’s grocery store, which specialized in making fish and chips. As determined as Barbieri was, he couldn’t lose weight when there was so much tasty food around him.
Boiled Eggs Were Almost A Delicacy For Him
Angus stopped his fast on July 11, 1966. In 382 days, he had lost 276 pounds and weighed only 180 pounds.
After the fast ended, Angus had a hard-boiled egg with a piece of buttered bread and a cup of coffee for breakfast. According to Angus, at that time he had almost completely forgotten the taste of food and could taste the simplest foods.
Despite how quickly he lost a lot of weight, in the next 5 years after the fast ended, he only gained 16 pounds. He moved to Warwick, England. He had 2 children and lived another 24 years.
So, Is It Possible To Lose Weight By Giving Up Eating Food?
Trying to lose weight in an extreme way can be very dangerous. Graduate students from the Department of Medicine at the University of Dundee described 5 cases in which obesity was treated with fasting.
All of them resulted in the death of the patients. Only one patient managed to live 210 days without food and died after eating (which is a popular consequence when sudden ingestion of food disrupts the body’s fluid and electrolyte balance).
The rest of the patients died from different health problems in the 3rd to 8th week of fasting. Many other patients suffered from a lack of potassium despite taking pills.
Some people can go without food for a while, living off the fat they have on their bodies. But fasting and even low-calorie diets can cause a heart attack because weight and muscle disappear too quickly.
After about 6-8 weeks of fasting (and if a person doesn’t have enough fat to start with or has a chronic illness, this can happen even faster), heart problems start to appear.
There are some studies that show that limiting nutrition or not eating can help fight cancer and obesity. In animals, stopping eating can slow aging. But the benefits of giving up food altogether are not yet safe, so it is still considered a very dangerous thing to do.
Have you tried a hypocaloric diet? Do you think Angus Barbieri is brave or a madman who risked his own life? We look forward to reading your comments.
Preview photo credit Angus Barbieri’s fast / Wikimedia