The Curious Case of the Man Who Ate Nothing For Over a Year

Yes, he lost a lot of weight and yes, he survived. Here’s how he did it.

In June 1965, a 27-year-old Scottish man weighing 456lb (207kg) decided to stop eating until he reached his desired weight of 180lb (82kg). Angus Barbieri ate nothing whatsoever for 382 days, achieved his goal, and lived to tell the tale.

Morbidly obese, Barbieri certainly needed to lose weight, but no, this is not one to try at home. His approach was potentially life-threatening, which is why this superhuman feat was achieved under strict medical supervision. Before embarking on his fast, Angus checked into the Maryfield Hospital in Dundee, returning regularly for evaluation and occasionally staying overnight.

Quite wisely, under the circumstances, Angus also gave up working in his father’s fish and chip shop, which later closed down. He spent most of his time at home, taking regular blood and urine tests and drinking calorie-free beverages.

Thus, for well over a year, Angus lived on just tea, coffee and water. He was given appropriate vitamin and electrolyte supplements. Towards the end of his fast, he added a small amount of milk and/or sugar to his tea and coffee.

When this extraordinary undertaking came to an end on 11 July 1966, Angus had lost a total of 276lb. In 1971, he entered the Guinness Book of Records for the longest recorded fast.


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