Can You Eat Grass To Survive? ( Not so Fast ! )

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Grass is one of the most widespread plants in the world, you can find it virtually on all continents except Antarctica although millions of years ago it also grew there. If humans could eat grass and live by only eating grass then we would probably end world hunger, but it is not that simple.

Consuming grass provides little to no nutritional value for humans due to our inability to digest it effectively. In fact, eating grass is generally pointless and can potentially lead to an upset stomach, resulting in symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, and subsequent dehydration. While some animals have the digestive enzymes necessary to break down grass and extract nutrients from it, humans are not equipped with the same capability, making it an unsuitable food source for our nutritional needs.

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There have been some instances of people eating grass, most of them have done it out of sheer desperation. Grass is fairly abundant no matter where you live, and in an SHTF situation, some people who are starving to death might consider eating grass as an option. The problem is that we are not adapted to eating grass, at all. Although humans have evolved to be omnivores, which means that we have a varied diet of meat, fruits, and different plants, however, this doesn’t mean that we can survive just by eating grass.

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If you look closer at animals that exclusively eat grass then you will notice that most of them have fairly big stomachs, some people might think that they are fat due to all that grass they are eating. The truth is that herbivores, which almost exclusively eat grass, is that they have actually 4 chambered stomachs that are required for the digestion of grass. Grass is full of silica, and it is extremely hard for the human stomach to digest it.

In addition to this, grass contains an extremely low amount of energy, meaning that people who eat grass will consume more energy by digesting the grass, than from the grass itself, basically, this is a negative calorie meal. Scientists tend to agree that at an early stage of our human evolution, we had probably the ability to digest grass at least partially. But if we look at our closest living relatives, the apes, and monkeys, we will notice that most of them either have an omnivore diet or exclusively eat fruits, no matter how much grass there is in their living area.

Although there are not a lot of reports of people eating and surviving off eating grass, on the other hand, there are thousands of people eating dirt, for more information check out my recent article Can you eat dirt to survive? ( What are Mud Cakes? ).

Can You Eat Grass To Survive?

While grass is not typically considered a staple food source for humans, in dire survival situations, it can provide some sustenance. Grass contains some nutrients and is mostly safe to consume, but it’s not nutritionally dense and can be difficult for our bodies to digest efficiently. Eating grass should only be a last resort when no other food sources are available. It’s essential to identify edible grasses and avoid those that may be contaminated with pesticides or toxins. Additionally, consuming grass in large quantities can lead to digestive issues and potentially worsen the state of malnutrition.

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Grass Is Hard To Digest By Humans

Grass is extremely hard to digest by the human stomach, simply put it is not up to the task. Grass contains a lot of fiber, which most nutritionists say you need in your diet, but the problem with grass is that in addition to this fiber, the grass also contains a lot of silica. This silica is almost impossible to digest, meaning that most of the grass you eat will simply just pass through you, and the only thing that it will accomplish is to stress your stomach and make you lose a lot of energy.

Some people have been forced to eat boiled grass in gulags, these were basically Russian prisons which were located in Siberia. Even though boiling the grass will make it more digestible, the problem is that you still won’t get enough energy back from the actual digesting of the grass. If you are wondering if city pigeons are edible or not then check out my recent article Can you eat city pigeons? ( Pigeon Eggs? ).

Grass Is A Low Energy Source And Digesting It Will Use Up More Energy

Grass has very little energy, even if it is fully digested. A lot of animals that eat grass have a 4 chambered stomach, they will frequently regurgitate grass, and masticate it even further in order to digest it more efficiently.  This is why the stomachs of most herbivores are fairly big, and they will carry with them the grass for a couple of days before eliminating it. Even though these animals have adapted and evolved to survive by eating grass, but if you look at any herbivore’s droppings, you will notice that most of the droppings still contain a lot of undigested grass.

While digesting the grass you will get some energy back from the grass, but not enough to replace the consumed energy for digestion. This is why many people who are starving and eat grass will only lower their chances of survival. The last thing you want, if you are starving, is to eat something which you can not digest. On the other hand, cockroaches do contain a lot of energy and proteins, if you want to find out more then check my recent article Can you eat cockroaches? ( Superfood ? ).

No Bacteria In The Human Gut To Help With The Digestion Of Grass

Herbivores have a lot of different types of beneficial bacteria in their gut, these bacteria will actually help them break down and digest the grass. We as humans do not have these bacteria in our gut and without them, digesting grass will be extremely difficult if not impossible. These bacteria are so useful, that if you eliminate these bacteria from the stomach of an herbivore then they will be not able to digest the grass, and sooner or later they will starve to death.

Grass Contains Silica Which Can Not Be Digested By Humans

The silica in the grass is very abrasive, meaning that by eating grass you will slowly destroy your teeth. This is why ruminators, animals who have several stomach chambers tend to have their teeth grow constantly. As human teeth are not growing constantly, you will eventually end up destroying all of your teeth while eating grass, although you will probably not survive on eating grass so long that you will actually destroy your teeth as this takes several years.

Grass Doesn’t Contain Any Fat Which Is Required By The Human Body To Survive

Grass doesn’t contain any fat, now you might think that this is good as we have been told for decades how harmful fat is to our body. The truth is that we need fat for the proper function of our bodies, without it we will simply not be able to survive. If you are a prepper or a survivalist then you already know that you will not be able to survive only by eating rabbits, as rabbits have such lean meat that it doesn’t have almost any fat.

If you are a healthy individual who has plenty of fat deposits then you will be able to use this fat when digesting grass, although your health condition will start to deteriorate fairly fast. If you want to live off the land then check out my recent article How to live off the land with no money ( Free Land & Housing ).

You Can Not Survive On Eating Grass As It Contains Almost No Nutrients

Some grasses do contain a lot of minerals and vitamins like wheatgrass, although the common grass which you find growing in front of your house does have some of these vitamins and minerals but the truth is that as it is so hard to digest that you will probably not get most of these minerals and vitamins.

Eating Grass Makes Your Stomach Highly Acidic

Eating grass will make your stomach highly acidic, and as your stomach will struggle to digest the grass it will produce more and more acid. Eventually, this acid will have to go somewhere and you will end up throwing up. If you have ever wondered why dogs eat grass, then this is the same reason, to make themselves vomit. Humans and most animals that are not used to eating grass will end up throwing up due to the increased acidity of their stomachs, and throwing up is the last thing you would want in a survival situation.

Another major problem is that as your stomach isn’t used to digesting grass, it will produce more acid, and your stomach will use a lot of water to produce this acid which you will inevitably throw up, in short, eating grass will also dehydrate you.

Grass Might Be Contaminated With Toxins And Eating It Will Make You Sick

Depending on where the grass is coming from it could be fairly toxic. Grass in the countryside isn’t as toxic as the grass in urban areas. Grass in urban areas will absorb a lot of toxic chemicals produced by cars and by the local industries. In addition to this, a lot of grass in urban areas is also sprayed with pesticides which will inevitably end up in your body if you consume grass. Eating rabbit meat is extremely healthy although if you only eat rabbit meat you could develop some serious health complications, for more information check out my recent article Dangers of eating rabbit meat ( Protein poisoning & Tularemia ).

Grass Contains Parasites And You Might End Up Eating Them

There are a lot of parasites living on the leaves of the grass, especially in urban areas. Rodents like mice and rats will often use the cover of grass in order to hide from predators, and these rodents often carry a lot of parasites with them. Some of these parasites are surviving by staying on the leaves of the grass until a potential host comes by like a rodent or another animal. These parasites are survivors, and some can even survive in the human stomach where they will do a lot of damage while they are feeding.

Key Takeaways

  • No, you can not eat grass to survive as the human body doesn’t have the beneficial bacteria in the gut which helps with the digestion of grass. As grass is extremely hard to digest your body will use up a lot more energy trying to digest it than what it actually gets from the grass. In addition to this, grass contains a lot of silica which will make your stomach produce more acid while trying to digest it and you will most likely vomit out the grass and the excess acid.
  • Grass is difficult to digest for humans and lacks essential nutrients required for long-term sustenance.
  • It is crucial to prioritize finding safe sources of food, such as edible plants, insects, or animals, rather than relying solely on grass as a food source in survival situations.