The story of the man who refused to eat for 382 days to lose weight

Angus Barbieri is the holder of the record of  The Guinness Book of the Fastest Record of the Fasting, which lasted 382 days. To this day, scientists do not fully understand how he managed to last so long without eating and damaging his body. Most of them are convinced that stopping eating for more than 40 days can be dangerous to health

Bigbuzzpanda decided to find out what it was that motivated this man to take such a risky step and how he could survive for so long without eating.

One year with only mineral water and vitamins

In 1965, a very burly 27-year-old boy entered the Marifield hospital in Dundee, Scotland. At that time, weighed 207 kg. Angus told staff he wanted to stop eating temporarily to lose weight, and doctors agreed to monitor his progress.

Initially, Angus had not planned to give up food for long. But he endured his condition so well that, contrary to the advice of the doctors, he decided to continue the experiment even after 40 days of going hungry. He wanted to reach his ideal weight.

For more than a year, he only took supplements of yeast and vitamins, in particular, vitamin C. As of day 92, some potassium tablets were added and, from day 345, salt was added. I could also drink as many non-caloric liquids as I wanted, such as tea, coffee or soda water. Sometimes, Angus added some sugar or milk to his diet, especially during the last weeks.

I was going to the bathroom once every 37 to 48 days. Which was not surprising, because all of his “food” was liquid.

The Marifield hospital, in Dundee.

In order to lose weight, the man had to leave his job in a restaurant

He did not receive medical treatment, although at first he remained under the supervision of the doctors. But because he had adapted so well to starvation, he was soon allowed to be at home. I just had to go to the hospital to do the tests.

The doctors noticed that the man had a very low level of glucose in the blood, which confirmed the fact that he was going hungry. But hypoglycemia did not prevent him from doing his daily activities and feeling good. The only thing the Scot had to sacrifice was his  work at his father’s restaurant, which specialized in cooking fish and French fries. Even a man as stubborn as Barbieri could not lose weight when there was so much food around him.

The boiled egg became almost a delicacy for him

The man finished the fast on July 11, 1966. In 382 days he lost 125 kg and now weighed 82 kg.

After finishing the fast, Angus had breakfast with a hard-boiled egg, a slice of bread with butter and a cup of coffee. According to him, by that time, he had completely forgotten the taste of the food and really enjoyed those simple foods.

Despite such abrupt weight loss, in the 5 years following the end of his strict diet, the man only went back up about 7 kg. He moved to England, to the city of Warwick. There, Angus had 2 children, and lived 24 years more.

So, is it possible to lose weight by not eating?

Losing weight in such a drastic way can be very dangerous. Graduate students from the University of Dundee School of  Medicine described 5 cases of obesity treatment due to starvation that resulted in the death of patients. Only one patient managed to survive without food for 210 days, but died after the second feedback (a fairly common case, when a sudden intake of food alters the balance of fluids and electrolytes in the body). The others died of various diseases between 3 and 8 weeks. Many other patients suffered from potassium deficiency, although they took it in the form of vitamin supplements.

Some people can do without food for a long time, surviving due to the accumulated fat mass. However, fasting and even low-calorie diets after burning this mass and muscles cause changes in the body that can cause a heart attack . After approximately 6 to 8 weeks of severe malnutrition (and in people without fat stores or with chronic diseases, even before), irregularities arise in the work of the heart, which are visible on an  electrocardiogram .

There are some studies that show that limiting nutrition and restricting food completely can help fight  cancer and obesity. In animals,  fasting can slow down the aging process. However, the benefits of a total rejection of food for humans are still questioned.

Have you ever done a low-calorie diet? Do you think Barbieri is a brave man or a madman who risked his life? We want to read your opinion in the comments.