Random question

I know the description of this thread is ‘non medical related’ but I have a random question. For how long can a person go on a diet that is very low in calories (really, really low) before it becomes an issue? Is that even really a problem? Just curious.

Hi there,
It really depends on the diet. If there is almost no protein, you will start to catabolize your muscles (think heart muscle) and put yourself into a dangerous situation quickly.If you are eating a diet that has high quality protein (very difficult on extremely low calorie diets) then you don’t get into a dangerous catabolic state as quickly.
If you look at those photos of starving children in third world countries, they have a diet that is very deficient in protein and thus the thin extremities but large swollen abdomens. If you look at an esophageal cancer patient who is unable to take in calories or protein, they are thin all over. Both situations can lead to serious deficiencies in immunity but the diet deficient in protein will kill you quicker.