Living and dying on only caviar, champagne, truffles, foie gras

  1. Whats thelethal dose of caviar?

  2. How long could you live on only caviar and water?
    2a) How long could you live on only caviar and champagne?

I’ve also thought this type of question with foie gras and truffles, individually and in combination with caviar and champagne.

The expression “choke on it you crazy rich bastard” came to mind while re-reading some French classic cuisine cookbooks, with casual advice to buttloads of the stuff. (One suggested clarifying fish stock with caviar, to give you an idea; another is simmering two lbs of truffles in port.)

Here is the food composition information for Osetra Caviar, Caviar Malossol, UPC: 825743940006 from the USDA Food Composition Database.I don’t know how to do the math, the assumptions about health and nutrition, etc. to make use of it.

Any help? It would make a great factoid.

One factor is caviar and water lack carbohydrates. Your body can make a small amount of carbs but you’re going to have problems if you do any exertions. It’ll be like you’re on a strict Atkins diet.

You’re also not going to be getting any calcium in your diet so your body is going to compensate by consuming calcium out of your bones, which will get brittle. Lack of calcium will also lead to seizures.

You’ll also get scurvy from the lack of Vitamin C but that will take several weeks to show up. You’ll probably be dead before that becomes an issue.

Caviar is probably pretty close to nutritionally complete, but I imagine that if you ate enough of it to get everything that you needed, the salt content would cause some sort of problems.


Caviar lacks carbs, but you don’t actually need carbs. You need Calories, and carbs are an easy way to get them, but you can also get Calories from fat and/or protein.

And isn’t caviar usually served raw? Most of the vitamins that we think of as coming from vegetables are also found in animal products, but are broken down by cooking.

There is carbs in Champagne about 3 gms per 100 ml. Assuming that the rich man n this example is going to consume copius amounts.

Replace champagne with Beer which is basically liquid bread and problem solved

Also, about lethal dose:

This can be approached two ways:

  1. a lethal dose of an otherwise non-lethal chemical component, or, even, water (disregulation of potassium) or lack of one essential to life.

  2. a lethal dose because of sheer mass in the digestive tract–which I’ve wondered about in all those food-eating contests. And perhaps the largest amount of caviar ingestible may differ in mass than that of hot-dogs, etc.

Point 3) really gets to the literalization of the metaphor: Joking aside, I know that gerontologists and dieticians, let alone food technologists, study how choking occurs with different material consistencies and relative muscle control and strength.

I would dearly like to know how much caviar you could attempt to swallow before you choke on it ("…you rich bastard" :))

Point one is perennially popular in GQ threads, with snacks and main dishes put up for discussion. If that is where this thread will go, hopefully, it will be a worthy addition to the research program.

But the “choking” part (and gastric bulk) I’ve never seen in this context. New horizons, new vistas…

For 2a) I think you might die of dehydration pretty quickly. Caviar is very salty. Champagne is about 12% alcohol.

I found a bunch of cites that 4% beer is hydrating, at least in the shortish term. You can drink only beer without obvious hydration problems. But is that true of 12% alcohol? I can’t find any studies, but I am doubtful.

I’m pretty sure that you have to get into strong distilled spirits before you’re dehydrating, on net.

I’m pondering.

Could we make them the chocolate kind of truffles? :slight_smile:

Wouldn’t the average person surviving solely on caviar and champagne quickly develop problems with digestion, and have trouble keeping food down and/or end up with severe diarrhea? (Either of which can lead to dehydration.)

Just a WAG but it seems like that’d be a risk.

Taking the thread title at face value rather than the subset questions in the OP, (which don’t even include truffles!).

If you try to survive on caviar, truffles, champage and foie gras…

You’ll do OK for minerals and fat-soluble vitamins
You’re fine for protein
You shouldn’t suffer dehydration - subsisting on champagne as the only liquid will bring about an interesting new equilibrium in your body’s hydration levels, but I don’t think it will kill you
You’re not getting very much fibre, which will cause digestive issues, but that wonb’t kill you straight away
You’re not getting a whole lot of carbohydrates (even with the truffles and champagne) - so it will still be sort of semi-Atkins, but the alcohol in the Champagne is a source of metabolic energy
There’s a shortage of vitamin C and probably some of the other vitamins and nutrients that are normally plant-sourced

I think it’s going to be scurvy that gets you.

Definitely the salt would be an issue, if caviar was the main component of your diet. USDA nutrient breakdown quoted in the OP gives 1333mg per 100g. If were eating pounds of it you’d have many times more than the recommended daily intact.

If your surety is based on a specific evidence, please let me know as I’ve been waiting for an answer to this question for 11 years now. All I got from that thread was a “reasonable guess” and an inference based on a “snide comment” by a “wines and spirits” instructor.

If anyone wants to collect hard data; provide me with the champagne, caviar, truffles, and foie gras and I’ll volunteer to be your guinea pig.

I’d bet on a gout attack being my first hurdle.

I’m a bit skeptical of this, based on ample evidence that a diet based on fresh meat (e.g. Eskimo diet) doesn’t lead to scurvy.

Sadly, what knowledge I have on the matter probably came from some other SDMB thread on the topic, coming from someone who sounded credible at the time. It’d be hard to put a single number on it, though, since it’d depend on the alcohol tolerance of the drinker (and presumably, someone getting all of their liquids from champagne would develop an impressive tolerance).

Yes, I was aware when I posed the question that the drinking champagne would upset the truffle cart the most. Consider it struck from the menu in favor of water here on in.

Cecil Adams’s column on why Eskimos didn’t get scurvy, despite a diet based almost entirely on meat and fish. The Eskimos may have gotten Vitamin C from the skin of beluga whales, or the organ meat of sea mammals, but there’s none in caviar.

Are we to eat the caviar straight from the can like barbarians? A true gentleman would serve it with toast points at the very least. Maybe some chopped egg as well.

Or we could be Texan bazillionaires and live on “Texas Caviar” and Shiner Bock. I’m willing to bet we’d last a lot longer that way. :wink: