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Bosnia and Herzegovina
A 27-year-old female asked:

Been sick 6 days. couldnt eat much,maybe once a day. 500 kcal max. now better. did my body go into starvation mode in just 6 days?

4 doctor answers6 doctors weighed in
Dr. Erin Robertson
General Practice 19 years experience
Very Unlikely: Depends on baseline muscle mass. The more muscle you have, the more packaged sugar (glucose stored as glycogen) you can hold. Your liver alone has only ~3 days worth of glycogen/glucose. In "starvation mode" the liver breaks down muscle to make glucose, and fat is converted to ketones, the 2nd best source of brain energy. If you were able to keep down 50g carb/d (can ginger ale = 366g) you're ok.
Dr. John Berryman
Obstetrics and Gynecology 54 years experience
Starvation mode: Restricting calories to "500 per day" will certainly initiate "starvation mode", where ketones are produced and appetite is low. This is a genetic trait of mammals derived from ancient "hunter-gatherer" times in our history, when food was not cultivated, and extended time without calories slowed down metabolism via thyroid mechanisms. Appetite will return, but if not, consult a physician.
Dr. Jalal Zuberi
Pediatrics 45 years experience
Probably not: The proof would be in the amount of weight loss during the specified period, which is generally greater than 10% for a starvation response. Please see the article for a detailed description.
Dr. Hasan Khondker
Internal Medicine 13 years experience
No: Your body can go up to a month without food as long as you have adequate hydration.

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Last updated Nov 24, 2014

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