70 years without eating? 'Starving yogi' says it's true
Posted on Monday, May 10, 2010 7:00 PM PT
By Brian Alexander
Prahlad Jani, an 82-year-old Indian yogi, is making headlines by claims that for the past 70 years he has had nothing -- not one calorie -- to eat and not one drop of liquid to drink. To test his claims, Indian military doctors put him under round-the-clock observation during a two-week hospital stay that ended last week, news reports say. During that time he didn’t ingest any food or water – and remained perfectly healthy, the researchers said.
But that’s simply impossible, said Dr. Michael Van Rooyen an emergency physician at Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, an associate professor at the medical school, and the director of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative – which focuses on aid to displaced populations who lack food and water.
Van Rooyen says that depending on climate conditions like temperature and humidity, a human could survive five or six days without water, maybe a day or two longer in extraordinary circumstances. We can go much longer without food – even up to three months if that person is taking liquids fortified with vitamins and electrolytes.
Bobby Sands, an Irish Republican convicted of firearms possession and imprisoned by the British, died in 1981 on the 66th day of his hunger strike. Gandhi was also known to go long stretches without food, including a 21-day
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