How Long Can An Obese Person Go Without Food?

One question that often arises is, “How long can an obese person go without food?”

The Impact of Obesity on Fasting

When it comes to discussing fasting or completely abstain from eating for a period of time and their effects on the human body, it’s essential to consider various factors, including an individual’s body composition, health condition, and lifestyle choices.

In this post, we examine the impact of obesity on fasting and abstaining all or some foods and shed light what you need to know on this topic.

Understanding Obesity and Its Impact on the Body

Obesity is a complex medical condition characterized by excessive body fat accumulation. It is often associated with various health risks, such as heart disease, diabetes, erectile dysfunction and certain types of cancer.

The effects of obesity on fasting or avoiding any food for a long time can differ significantly from those experienced by individuals with a healthy body weight.

Metabolic Reserves, Fasting Or Refrain From Eating For A Long Time

The human body is remarkable in its ability to store energy for future use. Adipose tissue, or body fat, serves as a reserve of stored energy. When a person with excess body fat enters a fasting state, their body can tap into these fat stores for energy. [A study published in the American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism (Cahill, 2006) titled “Fuel Metabolism in Starvation” discusses how the body utilizes stored fat during fasting periods.]

The duration an obese person can go without food largely depends on their total body fat and muscle percentage and the number of calories they have stored. [A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Leibel et al., 1995) titled “Energy Intake Required to Maintain Body Weight Is Not Affected by Wide Variation in Diet Composition” discusses the relationship between body fat mass and the duration of fasting.]

Your body has the ability to fullfil a significant portion of its calorie needs through stored fat. However, total starvation can be fatal within 8-12 weeks, regardless of your initial body weight.

Within a day or two after your last meal, the glycogen reserves in your liver and muscles are depleted. [A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Acheson et al., 1988) titled “Glycogen storage capacity and de novo lipogenesis during massive carbohydrate overfeeding in man” investigates the depletion of glycogen stores during fasting.]

At this point, the breakdown of stored fat into ketones becomes the primary source of energy, but KETONES CANNOT BE METABOLIZED BY BRAIN CELLS AND RED BLOOD CELLS. [A study published in the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism (Siesjo, 1978) titled “Brain energy metabolism” provides an overview of brain energy metabolism and the reliance on glucose.]

Consequently, glucose requirements for these cells must be met by breaking down muscle tissue.

Even if you possess substantial body fat reserves, the absence of sufficient muscle mass can lead to death from starvation. [A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Forbes, 1987) titled “Lean body mass and starvation” discusses the relationship between muscle mass and survival during starvation.]

Essential muscles, such as the heart, may become weakened to the extent that they cease to function properly. Medical professionals typically view a weight loss of 40 to 50 percent as life-threatening, irrespective of your initial body weight.

Generally, total starvation results in fatality within 8 to 12 weeks. In less severe cases, however, where some calories are still being consumed, especially if these calories contain a high proportion of protein, having excess fat will significantly prolong survival.

This is due to the body’s ability to derive the majority of its calorie requirements from stored fat.

Factors Affecting The Duration Of Fasting Or Food Abstinence In Obese Individuals:

  1. Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR): BMR refers to the number of calories the body needs to maintain basic bodily functions at rest. Obese individuals tend to have a higher BMR due to their increased body weight, which means they burn more calories even when at rest.
  2. Body Composition: The distribution of body fat can affect fasting duration. Abdominal fat, known as visceral fat, is more metabolically active and easily accessible for energy utilization during fasting compared to subcutaneous fat found beneath the skin.
  3. Overall Health: Obesity often accompanies other health conditions, such as insulin resistance, high blood pressure, or metabolic syndrome. These conditions can impact an individual’s ability to fast, and medical supervision is advised when considering prolonged fasting.

Guidelines for Safe Fasting

While an obese person may have a larger caloric reserve, it’s crucial to approach fasting with caution and seek professional guidance. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind:

  1. Consult a Healthcare Professional: Before embarking on any fasting regimen, consult with a healthcare provider, especially if you have pre-existing medical conditions.
  2. Start Slowly: Gradually ease into fasting by beginning with shorter fasting periods and gradually extending the duration. This approach allows your body to adjust and minimizes the risk of adverse effects.
  3. Stay Hydrated: Adequate hydration is crucial during fasting. Drink plenty of water or calorie-free beverages to maintain hydration levels.Monitor Symptoms: Pay attention to your body and be aware of any adverse symptoms such as dizziness, weakness, or extreme hunger. If any concerning symptoms arise, discontinue fasting and seek medical advice.

Check Also

Latest Treatment For Erectile Dysfunction 2023

The latest erectile dysfunction treatment in 2023 includes five main methods which are explained in …

Sexual Dysfunction In Men – Psychology & Causes

Sexual dysfunction in men is a complex subject whose psychology can be directly related to …

cordyceps health benefits

The Effects Of Cordyceps Mushroom In Treating ED & Cleaning Blood Vessels

The effects of Cordyceps mushroom in treating ED and cleaning the blood vessels plays a …

Best Obesity Treatment Guidelines 2023

In this article we aim to introduce you to the best obesity treatment guidelines in …

Heartburn That Won’t Go Away

Heartburn that won’t go away despite medication is a widespread problem and it’s a sign …

Best Supplements For Peyronie’s Disease

Seeking the best supplements for Peyronie’s disease can be a challenging endeavor, as each individual’s …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *