Have you ever wondered if there are certain foods that you could survive on exclusively? Although it may seem appealing to eat only one type of food, it turns out that there are no edible items that can fully sustain a healthy adult. However, there are a few foods that come close. Potatoes, for example, are a starchy crop that can provide essential nutrients such as potassium, fiber, and iron. Similarly, human breast milk contains a little bit of everything but lacks important nutrients like protein and fiber. Kale, a superfood known for its health benefits, is also not an ideal option due to its potential to absorb toxic heavy metals and inhibit iodine absorption. Lastly, while trail mix is a good source of calcium, iron, and protein, it lacks important vitamins like B12 and C. So, while these foods may be interesting to consider, it’s fortunate that we have access to a variety of options to maintain a well-balanced diet.

What 3 Foods Can You Survive On?

Have you ever wondered what three foods you could survive on if you were stranded on a deserted island or had limited access to a variety of food? While it’s not recommended to sustain yourself on just three items, it’s an interesting thought experiment. In this article, we will explore the nutritional value and deficiencies of four potential foods that you could potentially survive on. Keep in mind that this is purely hypothetical, and you should always strive for a well-balanced diet in real life.


Nutritional Value of Potatoes

Potatoes are a popular and versatile staple food that many of us enjoy regularly. They are a great source of carbohydrates, providing energy for our bodies. Potatoes also contain essential vitamins and minerals, such as potassium, fiber, and iron. However, a potato-only diet would lead to deficiencies in other nutrients like calcium, riboflavin, and zinc.

According to nutritionist Fiona Hunter, one way to address these deficiencies would be to substitute white potatoes with sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes have more vitamin E and vitamin A, making them a more nutritious option. However, relying solely on potatoes, even with the substitution of sweet potatoes, would not provide a complete and balanced diet.

Deficiencies in a Potato-Only Diet

While potatoes offer some essential nutrients, they are not a complete source of all the nutrients our bodies need. A diet consisting solely of potatoes would lack important vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, vitamin D, and vitamin B12. Deficiencies in these nutrients can lead to various health issues, including immune system dysfunction and anemia.

It’s important to remember that potatoes should be part of a balanced diet, including other fruits, vegetables, proteins, and grains to ensure you receive a wide range of nutrients.

Human Breast Milk

Nutrition in Breast Milk

Breast milk is the primary source of nutrition for infants and is specifically designed to meet their needs. It contains a perfect balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, along with vitamins and minerals necessary for healthy growth and development. Breast milk is also easily digestible for babies, making it an ideal food source for them.

Lack of Nutrients in Breast Milk

While breast milk is sufficient for infants, it lacks certain nutrients needed for adults. Protein and fiber are essential components of a well-rounded diet, and breast milk does not provide adequate amounts of these nutrients for adults.

If an adult were to rely solely on breast milk for their nutritional needs, they would develop deficiencies in essential nutrients and would be at risk of developing serious health issues.

Liver and Kidney Damage

Another factor to consider is that breast milk lacks sufficient amounts of certain nutrients needed for adult organ function. Relying solely on breast milk could lead to liver and kidney damage due to the imbalance of nutrients. This is why babies are gradually weaned onto solid foods as they require a more complete and varied diet as they grow older.


Superfood Properties of Kale

Kale has gained popularity as a nutrient-dense superfood that offers several health benefits. It is rich in vitamins A, C, and K, along with minerals like calcium and iron. Kale also contains antioxidants and fiber, making it a great addition to a balanced diet.

Toxic Heavy Metal Absorption

While kale is undoubtedly a nutritious vegetable, consuming excessive amounts of raw kale could lead to potential health problems. Kale has been found to absorb a toxic heavy metal called thallium from the soil. In large quantities, this heavy metal can be harmful to human health.

To avoid potential thallium toxicity, it is recommended to consume kale in moderation and ensure it is thoroughly washed before consumption.

Inhibition of Iodine Absorption

Another consideration when it comes to relying solely on kale for sustenance is its impact on iodine absorption. Kale contains compounds called goitrogens, which can interfere with the absorption of iodine by the thyroid gland. This can lead to hypothyroidism, a condition characterized by an underactive thyroid.

It’s important to consume a varied diet that includes other sources of iodine to maintain thyroid health and prevent any potential deficiencies.

Trail Mix

Nutritional Components of Trail Mix

Trail mix is a popular snack that typically consists of a mixture of nuts, dried fruits, and sometimes chocolate or granola. It offers a combination of essential nutrients, including healthy fats, proteins, fiber, and various vitamins and minerals.

Nuts in trail mix, such as almonds and walnuts, are excellent sources of healthy fats, protein, fiber, and essential minerals like calcium, iron, and zinc. Dried fruits like raisins and cranberries provide natural sugars, fiber, and certain vitamins.

Lack of Vitamin B12

One important nutrient that trail mix lacks is vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is primarily found in animal-based foods, and its deficiency can lead to anemia and neurological problems. If trail mix were the sole source of nutrition, it would be necessary to incorporate other foods or supplements rich in vitamin B12 to prevent deficiencies.

Vitamin C Loss in Dried Fruit

While dried fruits in trail mix are a convenient source of nutrients, it’s important to note that the drying process can lead to the loss of some vitamins, such as vitamin C. Fresh fruits are generally richer in vitamin C than their dried counterparts. Therefore, it’s essential to include other sources of vitamin C in your diet to make up for any potential loss in trail mix.

Insufficient Vitamin D and K

Trail mix also lacks significant amounts of vitamin D and vitamin K. These vitamins play important roles in bone health and blood clotting, respectively. Depending solely on trail mix as a food source would leave you deficient in these vitamins, which could have negative effects on your overall health.


While it may be intriguing to consider surviving solely on a few specific foods, it’s important to remember that a well-balanced diet is essential for overall health and well-being. Potatoes, human breast milk, kale, and trail mix all offer some nutritional benefits but are not sufficient to meet all of your body’s needs.

Instead of solely relying on a few foods, aim for a diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. This diverse range of nutrients will provide you with the essential vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients your body needs to thrive.

So, while it’s fun to imagine living off just a handful of foods, be grateful for the abundance of options available to you and make the most of the incredible variety of foods that contribute to a healthy and fulfilling diet.