What is the minimum number of calories needed to sustain life?
Asked by on Dec 03, 2008
in Emotional & Behavioral Issues
I am just curious about the least amount of calories a person needs.
Nutritionists think in terms of balancing calorie intake and output, but research on animals leads scientists to believe that humans can sustain life, and actually thrive, on a calorie intake that is 15% less than calorie output. The body can adjust to burn that amount by reducing fat, muscle and bone mass, but a long-term reduction of more than 15% is associated with a higher death rate from nutrient deficiencies. When started young, laboratory mice can live on a 40% calorie restricted diet, but they grow to only 50% of the size of mice fed an ad libitum diet. Imagine an adult man weighing 75 pounds!