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Breatharianism: Can People Survive Without Food?

You are not going to survive off of sunlight alone.

Out of the many odd lifestyle and nutrition practices that people follow, one of the strangest may be Breatharianism. If you're unfamiliar with the term, Breatharians profess that they don’t require food or water to survive. Instead of eating and drinking, practitioners believe that the only sustenance they need is cosmic life force absorbed through the air and sunlight alone. They think that this life force, or Prana as it is known in Hinduism, contains everything a person needs to thrive. Breatharians believe that by staring directly into the sun, they can gain nourishment from the energy of the sun through their eyes.

To begin the process of becoming a Breatharian, they believe they must slowly wean themselves off of food by first becoming a vegetarian. Then they eliminate dairy and eggs from their diet, becoming vegans. After veganism, they adopt a raw food diet, then a fruit-only diet, then a liquid-only diet. Finally, they give up liquids to supposedly live only off of Prana.

While this sounds like an obviously terrible idea to most people, there are thousands of self-described Breatharians around the world who claim to be either entirely dependent on Prana to survive or only occasional consumers solids or liquids. Many of these people meet at the yearly Pranic World Festival to share their experiences with like-minded people.

What Does Science Have to Say About Breatharianism?

Science is clear that most humans require around 1,400 to 1,600 calories per day just for basic metabolic functioning and it is important to eat at least 1,200 to avoid starvation. The average person needs around 2,400 calories for optimal health depending on their size, metabolic rate, and activity level. While it's possible to survive with water and no food for a few weeks at the most, depending on the circumstances, the human body only lasts five days or so without water. It is physically impossible to be a Breatharian due to the simple fact that food and water are a necessity for survival.

To the surprise of nobody, many of those who dabble in Breatharianism have died due to extreme malnutrition and dehydration. To counter this fact, Breatharians profess that it can take years of practice to master the art which is why so many people who attempt this lifestyle fail to live off Prana alone.

What if I Want to Try Consuming Prana Anyway?

Go ahead and take in some Prana if you like, but don’t forget to also enjoy a sandwich and a tall glass of water as well to stay healthy.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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