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What happens if I don’t eat for 3 days?

Have you ever wondered what would happen to your body if you didn’t eat for three days? Fasting is a commonly practiced spiritual and cultural practice, and some people even do it for health reasons. But what actually happens when you go without food for 72 hours? In this article, we’ll explore the changes that occur in your body when you don’t eat and what it could mean for your overall health.

The immediate effects of not eating for three days

When someone abstains from eating for an extended period of time, their body will require some time to adjust to the lack of sustenance. Some physiological responses can manifest within three days of not eating, even in an otherwise healthy individual. Here’s a look at some of the immediate effects of not eating for three days:

Starvation Mode Kicks In

When you don’t eat for three days, your body goes into survival mode. This means that your metabolism will slow down considerably as the body tries to conserve energy. By reducing your basal metabolic rate (BMR), your body will be able to use fat stores more slowly and make them last longer.

Starvation Mode

Lack of Energy

Eating food is our body’s way of getting energy, so by not eating anything for three days, it can trigger extreme fatigue in people. Your body will try to conserve energy, which can lead to you feeling more sluggish over time.

Lack of Energy


Most people get a significant portion of their hydration from food, so not eating for three days can lead to dehydration. Dehydration can cause fatigue, headaches, dizziness and dry mouth and skin.


Dizziness and Fainting

When you don’t eat for three days, you’re likely to experience dizziness, especially when you stand up quickly. This is because your blood sugar levels will drop drastically, leading to hypoglycemia that can cause fainting spells.

dizziness and fainting


With no food in your stomach, the process of digestion will slow significantly, which can lead to intense constipation. This can cause abdominal discomfort and bloating in some people.


Alteration in Mood

A lack of food can also change our mood for the worse. Hunger can affect our mood and temper, making us more easily irritated, anxious and angry. Increased feelings of anxiety and depression are not uncommon when people don’t eat for three days.

Alteration in Mood

Muscle Breakdown

Your body will also begin to use its own stores of energy to keep itself running when you don’t eat for three days. Proteins, such as those found in your muscles, will start to break down, leading to a loss of muscle mass and weakening your body.

Muscle Breakdown

Blood Pressure Spike

Suddenly not taking in any food can also cause blood pressure to rise, which can lead to conditions such as hypertension, especially in people who may already have high blood pressure.

Blood Pressure Spike

Lightheadedness and Nausea

Lightheadedness, feeling faint, or nausea could occur when someone refrains from eating for three days. It’s common because blood sugar levels drop, making it hard for the body to function properly.

Lightheadedness and Nausea

Decreased Immunity

When you don’t get adequate nutrition to support your immune system, your body will have a hard time fighting off infections and diseases. Prolonged fasting can weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to disease and infection.

Decreased Immunity

It is important to note that while a three-day fast may not be dangerous for the average healthy person, it can be very harmful to certain groups, such as pregnant women, children, and individuals with certain medical conditions. Anyone considering a prolonged fast should consult with their doctor first.

Effects of Going Without Food for 72 Hours

Going without food for 72 hours can have significant effects on your body and mind. Here are some of the things that you should be aware of if you are considering fasting for this length of time:

1. Metabolism Slows Down

One of the first things that happens when you don’t eat for a few days is that your metabolism slows down. This is your body’s natural response to conserve energy and keep you alive. You may also feel colder than usual, as your body attempts to conserve heat in the same way.

Metabolism Slow Down

2. Blood Sugar Drops

Another thing that happens when you don’t eat for a while is that your blood sugar drops. This can lead to feelings of weakness, dizziness, and even fainting. It is important to monitor your blood sugar levels if you are going without food for more than a day or two.

Blood Sugar Drops

3. Body Begins to Burn Fat for Energy

Once your body has used up all of the available glucose in your bloodstream, it begins to burn stored fat for energy instead. This can lead to weight loss, but it can also cause feelings of fatigue and weakness as your body adjusts to this new energy source.

Body Burns Fat for Energy

4. Ketosis Begins to Set In

When your body begins to burn fat for energy, it enters a state called ketosis. This is a natural process that can help you lose weight and improve your overall health. However, it can also cause bad breath, headaches, and other side effects.

Ketosis Sets In

5. Mental Clarity Improves

Many people who fast for several days report feeling more mentally clear and focused. This is because the body produces ketones during the process of burning fat for energy, and these ketones can help to improve brain function and mental clarity.

Mental Clarity Improves

6. Hunger Pangs Subside

Believe it or not, hunger pangs usually only last for the first day or two of a fast. After that, your body adjusts to the lack of food and the pangs subsides. This can make it easier to continue with the fast over the long term.

Hunger Pangs Subside

7. Immune System Weakens

Fasting for too long can weaken your immune system and make you more susceptible to disease and infection. This is because your body is not getting the nutrients that it needs to stay healthy and fight off illness.

Immune System Weakens

8. Dehydration Can Occur

Without food or water, dehydration can occur very quickly. This is especially true if you are not drinking enough fluids to replace what you are losing through sweat and urine. It is important to stay hydrated if you are going without food for more than a day or two.

Dehydration Can Occur

9. Energy Levels Drop

Although your body will eventually begin to burn fat for energy, it can take a few days to fully adjust to this new source of fuel. During this time, you may experience significant drops in your energy levels and feelings of weakness and fatigue.

Energy Levels Drop

10. Nutrient Deficiencies Can Develop

If you continue to fast for more than a few days, you can develop nutrient deficiencies that can lead to serious health problems. It is important to speak with a healthcare professional before beginning an extended fast to ensure that you are getting the nutrients that you need.

Nutrient Deficiencies Develop

Effects of Not Eating for 3 Days

Skipping meals or intentional fasting on occasion may not necessarily pose any harm to your body, but what happens if you don’t eat for three days?

Impaired Cognitive Function

Impaired Cognitive Function

As your energy levels drop, your brain function begins to deteriorate affecting your decision-making and cognitive abilities, memory recall, and ability to concentrate. You may experience headaches, dizziness, mood swings, and uncontrollable mood changes due to the decreased production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine.

Reduced Metabolic Rate

Reduced Metabolic Rate

Your body’s metabolic rate slows down in response to long periods of hunger. This is because your body is trying to conserve energy by reducing the number of calories you burn, which leads to weight gain and fat storage. Your body begins to conserve every bit of energy available to stay alive. Extreme hunger also triggers the production of stress hormones, which, in the long term, can cause inflammation, high blood pressure and even heart disease.



Not eating for three days can lead to dehydration, especially if you haven’t been drinking enough water. As your body burns energy to stay alive, it releases water as a byproduct that can leave you feeling thirsty and dehydrated. Severe dehydration can cause serious consequences such as kidney damage, low blood volume, and shock.

Decreased Immune Function

Decreased Immune Function

Your immune system requires energy and nutrients to function efficiently. Prolonged fasting can impair the production of immune cells like T-cells and B-cells that fight off infections, making you more susceptible to illnesses such as the common cold, flu, and infections.

Nutrient Deficiencies

Nutrient Deficiencies

Skipping meals can lead to nutrient deficiencies as your body requires a balanced diet to function. Nutrient deficiencies can lead to anemia, muscle wasting, and weakened bones. Your body needs essential vitamins like vitamin C, vitamin B12, and iron to carry out various functions, and not eating for three days can leave you deprived of these essential nutrients.

Effects of Not Eating for 3 Days
1. Impaired Cognitive Function
2. Reduced Metabolic Rate
3. Dehydration
4. Decreased Immune Function
5. Nutrient Deficiencies

Skipping meals or fasting, provided it’s done correctly, can offer some benefits to your body. However, avoiding food for too long or without professional guidance can have severe consequences, including severe dehydration, impaired cognitive function, decreased immune function, reduced metabolic rate, and nutrient deficiencies.

It’s essential to listen to your body and seek medical advice if you’re experiencing sustained hunger or starvation. Your health is paramount, and a balanced diet is integral to optimal health and well-being.

Learn about the potential effects of not eating for several days with this informative article.

There you have it!

I hope this article has helped you understand what happens to your body if you decide not to eat for three days. Remember, starvation is not a healthy or sustainable way to lose weight or achieve any other health goals. If you’re looking to improve your health, it’s always best to make gradual, healthy changes to your diet and lifestyle. Thanks for taking the time to read this article, and be sure to check back next time for more interesting and informative content. Take care!

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