Navenna Shine is the founder of Living on Light and she plans on surviving for the next 4 to 6 months on – you guessed it – sunlight.
I would get a little snarky with this if it weren’t so sad. I mean, this woman is trying to live for half a year without food! Her website has a page that asks, “Is food an addiction?” Besides the fact that this betrays a woefully inadequate understanding of photosynthesis and human biology, why would you want to live without food? But I can’t make fun because, if Shine goes through with this, she will die. And, because of the cameras she set up in her home, it will be broadcast live to the world.
Don’t believe me? Check out her YouTube channel. She’s been posting videos for a month and he already looks emaciated. I guess I can take solace in the fact that, as she wrote on Facebook, she’ll stop when she hits 120 pounds:
I am feeling a little drained today and am resting a lot. I have lost almost another two pounds and am concerned that I am going too low. I think I shall set 120 lbs as my lower limit and will stop if I start going below that. You see, I am not careless of my well-being!
Oof. I’m concerned that she thinks it’s possible she won’t hit under 120. This doesn’t really make it better, though. Humans – admittedly with a significant amount of variation between individuals – can survive between 30 to 40 days without food. The amount of fat stores and muscle mass make this number vary widely from person to person. Shine is already a month in. Luckily, she still seems to be drinking water, which seems to be a very important factor when depriving oneself of food. If Shine continues, she’s at risk of a heart attack or organ failure.
According to Shine’s website, she’s doing this to find out – once and for all! – whether human beings can live on sunlight. The problem, of course, is that we do know. We know pretty definitely that we can’t. This diet has killed before. There was a Swiss woman who starved to death on a similar diet last year. In 1999, an Australian-born woman living in Scotland was found dead after her Breatharian fast. And there is the 2.6 million children who die each year from undernutrition.
But, hey. We don’t know anything, right? Besides the deaths of people actually on this sunlight diet, we know that severe calorie restriction is just really, really bad news.
Take the HCG diet, for example. This diet is effective, at least in the short term, because it involves severe calorie restriction; people on this diet are only supposed to eat 500-800 calories a day. But that level of calorie restriction carry major risks. This diet can cause gallstone formation, irregular heartbeat and can really mess with your muscles and nerves.
Then there is the Prolinn diet, otherwise known as the Last Chance diet. This diet consists of nothing but a 400 calorie protein shake made of animal byproducts not fit for human consumption. This diet has been linked to abnormal heart rhythms, possibly due to shrinkage of the heart muscles and electrolyte imbalances. About 60 people have suddenly dropped dead while on this diet.
While Shine isn’t on a fad diet, per se, I see parallels. It preys on the ignorance of how the human body works and what it needs to survive. This ignorance allows unscrupulous people to basically make up anything they want and sell it to you as a healthy or good or spiritual lifestyle. And as we’ve seen over and over and over again, it kills people. I hope for Shine’s sake, she quits before it’s too late.
Image credit: NASA/SDO/GSFC
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