The Starvation Sate: What effect does it have on your body?



What is Starvation:

Starvation can be considered as prolonged periods without eating or only consuming very few calories during the day. This can have extreme effects on the body and cause damage to varying body functions.  

Starvation of nutrients, or malnutrition, can occur when the individuals diet consists of foods which do not provide enough nutrients for good health. This can appear in those who do not consume enough food for their daily intake or in those who eat an excessive amount of food that lacks nutrients. Consequences if this include disruption to digestion, loss in muscle function and inhibited immune system function.

What affects can starvation have on your body?

Starvation can slow down the rate of your metabolism drastically, at an effort to slow down the use of energy stores for preservation and survival. Remember your body’s main function is to ensure survival and without adequate energy (fuel) your body will do what it requires to preserve energy to survive. This will involve reducing your metabolic rate (increasing fat mass (your backup generator of energy/fuel), increasing breakdown of muscle tissue (muscle requires energy to survive in a starved state we cannot sustain the energy required to maintain muscle). So yes you may lose weight (kilograms) but what weight are you losing?

Due to long term nutritional deprivation, the body will begin to prioritize body functions for example brain and heart function along with breathing. Other processes with diminish in quality and can become noticeable in symptoms such as:

  • Numbness or coldness in hands and feet
  • Immune system will become weak
  • Brittle or frail hair and nails
  • Effected digestion such as bloating or pain
  • For females, loss of menstrual cycle (or becoming irregular)
  • Fatigue or weakness, feeling cold

If you would like to talk to one of our dietitians about reversing the impacts of starvation or malnutrition on the body, or if you have any other queries please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call us on 08 9494 3790.