How long can you go without food? Here’s the impact of a hunger strike

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Most of us are familiar with people going on hunger strikes, in which a person protests conditions, issues or how they are treated by refusing to eat. A recent example is the 2021 Arizona hunger strikes, where students protested to convince the government to pass the Freedom to Vote Act. 

Hunger strikes can bring on complications because, like many other things, food is central to human life. The body needs a diverse diet made up of protein, carbohydrates, fats and vitamins.

But how long can someone survive without eating? We asked  

How long can you go without food?

The length of time someone can survive without food isn’t a set number. Usually, it’s a range of time because every individual is different. The duration depends on various factors, like weight, genetics, health conditions and level of hydration, according to a 2004 article by Alan D. Lieberson in Scientific American.

A 2009 study reviewed popular press coverage of how long people could live without food or water. The study, found on the National Library of Medicine website, concluded the survival time range is eight to 21 days. 

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