No, “Breatharians” Can’t Live Without Food (and Neither Can Anyone Else)

You may have seen online that one couple — dubbed “Breatharians” — have “barely eaten” for nine years and have survived off of  “the universe’s energy.”

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This claim is not only false, but impossible and even deadly.

Specifically, I’m talking about Akahi Ricardo and Camila Castello, who say they survive on a few pieces of fruit and some vegetable broth about two times per week. A lot of media outlets have reported on this married couple, helping them spread their lies and promoting the dangerous notion that food and water aren’t necessary to sustain human life (even during pregnancy).

Husband and wife Akahi Ricardo and Camila Castello believe food and water is not necessary and that humans can be sustained solely by the energy of the universe.

Camila and Akahi — who have a five-year-old son and two-year-old daughter together — have survived on little else besides a piece of fruit or vegetable broth just 3 times per week since 2008.

And Camila even practised a Breatharian PREGNANCY — not eating anything during the entire nine months that she carried her first child.

The married couple-of-nine-years claim that their “food-free lifestyle” has improved their health and emotional well-being as well as meaning they can spend money on travelling rather than the weekly shop.

Keep in mind that none of this has ever been verified by anyone (including doctors), and no one has ever proven the existence of this “energy of the universe,” let alone shown that you can use it to sustain your life in lieu of actual nutrition. These people are putting lives at risk by spreading misinformation that could prove deadly to men, women, and even unborn babies who don’t get enough nutrients due to their parents’ lifestyle.

Other Breatharians have made these claims before, and they will make them again, but that’s all they are: claims. It’s not like there’s a video camera following them around for a week to verify this. None of these people have ever been able to prove that they can live normal lives with no food or water, and that’s almost certainly because they can’t.

From Snopes:

Throughout the profile (which was republished across the web with no additional fact checking), the couple alternately claimed to eat occasionally and to describe themselves as “food free.” Whether the couple claimed to eat very little or nothing at all, no apparent verification of their claims was made before pushing the dangerous suggestion one could live without food or water out to large audiences. Predictably, the practice has indeed proved fatal…

Moreover, the couple profiled by The Sun weren’t the first “breatharians” to admit to or be caught eating food while claiming not to eat or drink. Jasmuheen, an ex-business woman and founder of the movement has never proved she doesn’t eat, demonstrates signs of eating, and nutritional experts believe the claim may be a delusion shared among individuals who underestimate their “occasional” eating.

Snopes’ Kim LaCapria added that the site was “unable to find any evidence contradicting the body of science demonstrating humans require water and food to stay alive.”

It’s possible the couple profiled by The Sun in June 2017 both genuinely made and believed their own claims, but we found no proof the impossible assertion was actually true. When tested, purported breatharians such as Jasmuheen failed to last more than a few days without food and water.

I agree. It is entirely possible that these people and others like them believe their stories, but that doesn’t make them true. And journalists have a responsibility to vet these claims before publishing them for millions of people to see. As one reader even mentioned to us, there are pro-ana (pro-anorexia) groups who celebrate articles like these because it gives them justification for not eating. In other words, by new outlets publicizing this lifestyle and not calling out the hoax, there’s a chance people may actually try it, despite the potentially fatal consequences.

Is that worth the pageviews?

(Image via Shutterstock)

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