Suppose an individual has a device which can produce one of a number of liquids, each day in particular quantities:

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Given these specific foods, drinks, and quantities could 4-5 people survive for extended periods of time? The group of people are extremely active (a highly physical occupation) and have a separate supply of ample fresh water. Assume that the people have no refrigeration for the purposes of storage, so spoiled goods would be useless to them.

I've looked into minimum requirements, and this post on Biology.StackExchange has shed some insight into the difficulty in finding those numbers. It seems to me like the main limiting factor would be the lack of protein. It looks like mayonnaise has some protein from egg yolk, but it is unclear if you could consume enough without running into severe issues with a fat-high diet. Another specific concern I was looking in to was the complete absence of fiber in the available foods. Does that limit the potential to survive off of the diet?

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    The rules of this site require questions to demonstrate a basic level of prior research, and that applies even when the question involves magical jugs and role playing games.
    – Carey Gregory
    Nov 7, 2019 at 22:02
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    Skorbut (Vit C Deficiency) gets you, I think. Honey and Beer do contain Vit C but both only 0.5mg/100g, which is 1% of the Recommended Daily Amount. And Iron Deficiency seems like a good candidate.
    – Narusan
    Nov 8, 2019 at 7:24
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    You also need to define "survive", i.e. sit in one place and wait for rescue? Hike in the general direction of a town? Fight your way through random encounters? How long is "extended"? There are a lot of variables not detailed here.
    – JohnP
    Nov 8, 2019 at 14:34
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this isn't a question about Medical Sciences according to the help at medicalsciences.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic
    – Bryan Krause
    Nov 8, 2019 at 19:35
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    @BryanKrause Ah. I didn't see that section of the help page. The tour seemed to indicate it was okay. Thanks for letting me know that "questions about nutrition and diet that aren't directly connected to medical treatment" are off-topic. Nov 8, 2019 at 19:37

1 Answer 1


You can't survive from the list of foods (mayonnaise, honey, beer, wine, oil and vinegar) in given amounts, because you can't get enough vitamin C.

If I define "survive" as to live 10 years and remain healthy, then, in your scenario, which requires some physical activity, the minimal requirements (which can be much lower than Recommended Dietary Allowances) for adults:

From the amount of foods you have, you can't survive, because the only source of vitamin C (1 kg of honey per person per day if they are 4 persons) would provide only 5 mg vitamin C and everyone needs at least 10 mg to avoid deficiency (scurvy).

From other foods you have, everyone would barely get minimal (not recommended) amounts of protein and other nutrients, even when grossly exaggerating with calorie intake (> 5,000 - 6,000 Calories/day).

Here are some calculations from already exaggerated amounts of foods (you have more available, but that's not realistic to consume):

  • 250 g mayonnaise: 1,700 Calories, 2.5 g protein, 187 g fat, 0.5 mg iron, 50 mg potassium, zero vitamin C
  • 1 kg (1/4 gallon) honey: 3,040 Calories, 3 g protein, 4 mg iron, 150 mg potassium, 5 mg vitamin C,
  • 4 liters (1 gallon) of beer: 1,720 Calories, 18 g protein, 0.4 mg iron, 1 g potassium, zero vitamin C
  • 1 liter (1/4 gallon) of red wine: 850 Calories, 1,3 g potassium, 4.6 mg iron, zero vitamin C
  • Oil and vinegar do not have significant amount of vitamins and minerals, so they do not help.

Spoiler: You could easily get enough vitamin C from a fruit juice and protein and most other nutrients from milk (it can last some time even without refrigerator). Think that infants can survive solely on milk for more than a year.

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    The device produces an unspecified "acid" - given the source material, this is probably of the melt-your-face-off variety, but one could argue that the device can produce 8 oz of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) each day, which would be far more than enough to sustain 4 people. Nov 8, 2019 at 18:26
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    @NuclearWang considering the acid involved does comparable contact damage to a strike from a greatsword, it is likely not ascorbic acid; but I like where your head is at :) Nov 8, 2019 at 19:22

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