Angus Barbieri started with a weight of 456 pounds (207 kg) and ended his fast when he reached his goal of 180 pounds (82 kg) (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
Angus Barbieri is known for one of the most extreme cases of weight loss through starvation which actually succeeded (even if not recommended). In 1965 Angus weighed 207 kilograms (around 456 pounds), which caused many medical issues. At the young age of 27, Angus had already encountered clear signs of health problems that could have ended his life sooner the expected. This is why Angus Barbieri took the drastic decision to lose weight his own way — by not eating for over a year. He had one rule: have a medic check him every day to make sure that starvation would not impact his health or wellbeing.
A year with no food
The initial plan was to starve for 40 days straight. Angus found it easier than he thought. Due to his large size and the health risks it caused, he was fed up with food and eating in general. After the 40 day starvation, medics checked how Angus’s body responded to the starvation process.
Shockingly, Angus’s body was responding very well — so well that he decided to keep going for as long as he could, or — better said — for as long as his body could handle the starvation.
The medic’s prescription
The only things Angus consumed was water, coffee, tea, and soda. His medics also prescribed high-dose vitamin supplements. These vitamins were vital to keeping his organs functioning in the absence of food. Later on, the medics included a high dose of yeast to keep his digestive system healthy.
On the 92nd day, the medics prescribed potassium tablets as his level of potassium were going low. Usually, we get potassium from salt, but as Angus consumed no food, there was no salt, and therefore no potassium. Potassium is so vital that after the starvation was over, Angus was told to eat high amounts of salt for a short time.
Angus’ low level of glucose worried his medics, even though it was a normal response to starvation. But overall, the medics were simply astonished at how well the process was going. Normally, during starvation, the body would face many problems and organs would start to fail.
The end result
After 382 days with no food whatsoever, Angus Barbieri lost 125 kilograms, reaching a healthy weight of 82 kilograms, close to his goal weight. According to Angus, he never felt better in his life. Even more surprisingly, Angus maintained this weight — more or less — for the rest of his life, although he only lived to be 51. At his death, he had only added 7 kilograms to his weight.
Angus’s weight loss via starvation became a world record in 1971. However, since such a diet can have dire health implications, the Guinness Book of Records stopped including this record in 2016.
Angus Barbieri died on the 7th of September 1990. Many think his death was natural, but some suspect he died from health problems.