How long a person can do without food, forced long-term fasting, calorie diet of victims of disasters at sea.

For those in distress at sea, a lack of food is not as dangerous as a lack of water. It is known that a person can do without food for a long time, maintaining high physical and mental activity, even if forced long-term starvation occurs. 

How long a person can do without food, forced prolonged fasting, calorie diet of victims of a disaster at sea.

How long can a person go without food? Usually, the human survival rate in the absence of food under ideal conditions is 50–70 days. During fasting, adaptive reactions are included that reduce the metabolic rate. Deprived of an external energy source, the body begins to consume its internal resources..

In general, the body has energy reserves of about 166 thousand kcal, if its weight is 70 kg. It has been established that 40–45% of reserves can be used up before death occurs. If the daily energy expenditure of a person at rest is taken for 1800 kcal, then tissue reserves should be enough for about 30-40 days.

In extreme conditions, if forced long-term fasting occurs, regular intake of freshwater is of great importance for a person, since it allows the body to better maintain its reserves. The lack of its external supply is offset by an increase in the formation of so-called endogenous (metabolic) water, 95% of which is obtained as a result of fat oxidation.

It should be noted that when fasting without water, more is excreted from the body than if prolonged fasting is fasting with water. It turns out that when fasting without water, the tissues break up more intensively and therefore a large number of products of their cleavage are formed: urea, sulfates, etc. To remove the latter from the body, a lot of water is required. Meanwhile, in this case, the body’s resources are quickly exhausted..

Forced prolonged starvation of victims of disaster or in extreme situations.

In the period of forced prolonged starvation, a person may die before it reaches a deep degree of exhaustion, as a result of self-poisoning by decay products. However, this is quite rare, in most cases, the body suffers prolonged fasting for up to 40 days.

You need to know about one more feature. If a person during long-term starvation takes food, even in minimal quantities, he develops the phenomenon of dystrophy. The thing is that the body does not switch to internal nutrition in a timely manner, and deep changes in the cells, their disorganization, can appear earlier than its internal resources are used up.

During complete starvation, when a person consumes water, his body adapts for a certain period to eating its reserves of fats, proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and mineral salts. Such nutrition, studies have shown, is complete and satisfies all the needs of the body.

Calorie diet of victims of disasters at sea.

An adult, according to generally accepted hygiene standards, daily needs 80-100 g of protein, 400-500 g of carbohydrates, 80-100 g of fat, 20 g of sodium chloride, 0.1 g of vitamins, 0.5-1.0 g of choline. The calorie content of the diet should cover the energy expenditure of the body, which, with moderate muscular activity, is about 3000–3500 kcal. Meanwhile, the indicated dietary standards in the conditions of autonomous navigation on life-saving appliances are unacceptable due to the limited amount of emergency styling.

What should be the calorie diet of the victims of the disaster at sea? It has been established that a person can manage for 14 days or more without compromising health with a diet with an energy value of 500 kcal.

So, from the report “Dangers for the crews of merchant ships that died at sea in 1940–1944”, published in 1956 by the British Medical Research Council, it is known that when the diet of those in distress ranged from 300 to 500 kcal per day, people in some cases, could survive on lifeboats in the ocean for up to 77 days.

An autonomous swimming emergency diet covers only a fraction of the body’s energy and nutrient needs. However, his role is extremely important. On the one hand, it eliminates the victim’s fear of starvation, and on the other hand, partial replenishment of energy expenditures due to tissue resources will soften the body’s transition to a different mode of functioning and facilitate long-term fasting.

Emergency food rations should not only compensate for part of the energy expenditure, but also contribute to saving fluid in the human body. Physiologists believe that this requirement is best met by diets consisting only of carbohydrates – candies, sugar, marmalade, etc. According to WHO data, a daily diet of 100 g of carbohydrates and 500 ml of water ensures the vital activity of the human body during autonomous swimming for 5 days.

Emergency food ration embedded in liferaft inflatable rafts.

In the diet, which is provided with life-saving inflatable rafts, most often include fortified caramel in the form of candies. It is packaged in plastic bags of 170-200 g, which is the daily norm for one person and eliminates prolonged starvation. The contents of each package are recommended to be divided into three parts and eat during the day.

Supplementary Supplementary Nutrition Products for the Sea.

Algae, plankton, mollusks, fish, birds, and marine mammals can be used as an additional food source. Fish are caught with the help of tackle, which are available in emergency sets of life rafts and boats. However, you must remember that you can eat fish and other products only if there is a sufficient amount of fresh water (0.5-1.0 liters per person per day).

How long a person can do without food, forced long-term fasting, calorie diet of victims of disasters at sea.

In the case when it is not enough, it is better to completely refuse to eat. If this is neglected, the dehydration of the body will accelerate and the fatal outcome will come faster. Depending on the area of ​​swimming, you can catch sea bass, mackerel, herring and other fish.

Watching can help a lot while fishing in the ocean. Here are some signs by which we can determine the proximity of the school of fish: black ripples from a flock of small fish, a shadow from plankton, an accumulation of gulls looking for prey over the water.

Most sea fish are edible even in raw form, but before eating their meat must be cut into thin slices, salted and wilted. Do not eat liver and caviar of unfamiliar fish. It may happen that a seabird gets onto a hook instead of a fish. It is also edible. There is no need to pinch it, you need to cut the skin and peel it along with the feathers, and then remove the subcutaneous layer of fat, which gives the meat an unpleasant smell and taste.

Plankton living in the surface layer of water is quite edible. You can catch it with a grid with very small cells, gauze, a shirt, etc. But remember, zooplankton is not always harmless, and some of its representatives, dinoflagellates, are highly toxic. Usually, poisoning occurs 10-15 minutes after eating.

Characteristic signs of intoxication:

Itching of the lips, tongue and throat, followed by numbness.
Nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea.
Headache and severe itching of the whole body.
In severe cases, muscle cramps appear.

Therefore, to avoid trouble, you need to eat a very small amount of plankton after capture (“at the tip of a match”). If after 15-20 minutes there are no signs of poisoning, you can eat it without fear.

Almost all algae are edible. The exception is filiform, or algae with small branches, which may contain irritating substances. In order to prevent intoxication, you need to stretch the algae in your hands and, if they emit a sharp sour smell, do not use them in food.

The meat of all marine mammals (fur seals, seals, dolphins, etc.) is edible, but you should never eat the liver of these animals. In many of them, it contains a large amount of vitamin A, and after consuming even a small amount of it, a person experiences poisoning – hypervitaminosis.

Based on the book Encyclopedia of Survival at Sea.
Potapov A.V..

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