It’s a well-established fact that people need food and water to live. Without them, effects appear pretty quickly, followed by death. However, there are people who claim to be able to survive simply by breathing. It’s called “breatharianism,” and it’s actually not a new fad diet. The Latin name is “inedia,” and people who practice it believe that sunlight and air are the only things needed for life. Sunlight in particular is important, as in Ayurveda (the Hindu system of medicine), it is the main source of prana, or the life force.
According to a text from 1670, an occultist lived for years with only a “half scruple,” of “Solar Quintessence.” There’s no other evidence to back that claim up, but more recent practitioners have been watched by people and cameras. In a 2006 Discovery Channel documentary, filmmakers claimed a Nepalese Buddhist monk didn’t move, drink, or eat for 96 hours.
Others haven’t been so (allegedly) successful. One woman started experiencing symptoms of hunger and thirst on her third of fasting under watch. She said it was because the air was polluted so she wasn’t able to get the nutrients she needed. After four days, a health expert convinced her to stop, as she had dilated pupils, slurred speech,and bad dehydration. If she had continued, kidney failure was imminent. In defense of her diet, the test subject said that 6,000 people adhere to the breatharianism lifestyle without “any problem.” She presented no evidence for this claim.
Breatharianism has been in the news recently, as a 25-year old from Minnesota is talking about it. She avoids solid food, and instead subsists on juices and breathing exercises. Even this lifestyle, which sounds similar to the many “juice cleanses” people try, is very dangerous in the long-term. People need food and nutrients to live, and juices and teas simply don’t provide enough. Going without any food or water is obviously extremely dangerous, as well, so this is one diet no one should take on.