World: The Body Eats Itself

There is nothing ennobling about death by starvation. It is neither quick nor painless. A starving person wastes away, literally consuming himself in the process. In a desperate quest for sustenance, many of the Cambodian refugees report, they were reduced to eating leaves or gnawing on the bark of trees. Neither contains remotely enough of the three major fuels that provide a body with energy: carbohydrates, proteins and fats.

Soon after food is cut off, the body switches to burning fuel reserves stored in the liver and fatty tissues. After fat is exhausted, the body accelerates the breakdown of proteins in muscles,...

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