“Thirty-six men were chosen for the experiment, which was led by physiologist Ancel Keys at the University of Minnesota. For the first three months, they were given a normal diet, including bacon, eggs, roast beef, mashed potatoes and chocolate sundaes, totalling 3200 calories a day. Then, for the next six months, their diet was cut to a semi-starvation level of 1560 calories a day. Their meals were bland, mostly bread and vegetables such as potatoes, turnips and cabbage.
The changes in the men were dramatic. For starters, they became obsessed with food, thinking and talking about it endlessly. They lingered over their meals – playing with their food, mixing it together in strange combinations, or holding mouthfuls for a long time before swallowing. Some collected recipes.
To feel full, they would smoke, drink massive amounts of water or endless cups of coffee, or chew gum – one man getting through 40 packs of gum a day.
The men had to keep active and walk 35km a week. But they lacked energy and withdrew into themselves, preferring to watch movies alone rather than socialise.
“They were men who postponed their living, while they endured their awful present,” wrote Keys and his fellow researchers.
They lost their sense of humour. They suffered mood swings. The men’s hair started falling out. They felt the cold, and they found it uncomfortable to sit on hard seats. Their pulse rates dropped. There was one plus side: their hearing improved.”https://www.mamamia.com.au/starvation-experiment-explainer/