Charlotte Hannah
June 19, 2013

Memo to Breatharians: Humans Can’t Subsist on Sunlight Alone


Breaking news coming out of Seattle, people: as it turns out, it’s not possible for the human body to subsist only on sunlight and water, with no food. All that stuff you’ve heard about how you can lose weight and slash your grocery bills by swearing off food and just taking your nourishment from sunlight alone? It’s not true, you guys. I repeat: not true.

Wait, what do you mean you’ve never heard anyone say it’s possible to live on light alone? You must not be hanging out with any Breatharians. Which is probably for the best, because they’re pants-on-head nuts.

Breatharian Naveena Shine has been forced to abandon her quest to live on light after 47 days of allegedly eating nothing and drinking only water (sometimes with a vitamin supplement mixed in) and tea with a bit of milk. In that time, she lost 33 pounds and experienced nausea, malaise, light-headedness, cold extremities, fatigue and leg cramps.

In a blog post on her website, Shine explains she’s decided to halt an experiment in which she attempted to go without food for 100 days because the world isn’t ready for what she might uncover. Also, because she’s broke and her phones and Internet are about to get cut off.

It’s for the best, though, considering Shine’s experiment is based on no science at all and at least four deaths have been attributed to attempts to live on light.

“Plants have what are called chloroplasts that contain chlorophyll and they have the ability to capture energy from sunlight,” says Dr. Ronald Hoffman. “Humans don’t have chlorophyll or chloroplasts. No humans do. It is impossible for a human to have that.”

You hear that, folks? Humans can’t photosynthesize. Who would’ve thought?

Well, actually, even Shine acknowledges she may not have actually been living on light during her experiment.

“However, I still have no evidence that I am actually ‘Living On Light’ and it could well be slow starvation. Now that I am ending the experiment I will never know,” she says. “Now the subject can continue living in the mystery, living in the question, because that is where the progress will come from.”

Yes, dear. You keep reaching for that star.