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Why do I feel cold when fasting?

by (830)
Updated about 13 hours ago
Created January 06, 2011 at 5:50 PM

Hey folks. Whenever I fast, I feel cold. Does anyone else experience this? Is there anything that can be done to remedy it?

I've always become cold very easily, and attribute it to poor circulation. However, this is unexpected, and definitely unwanted.

Thanks!

BTW, when fasting, I wear the same clothes and am in the same environment as when I'm not fasting.

UPDATE:

I usually fast for 8-20 hours. For example, I finished eating at 9pm last night, and probably won't eat again until 4-6pm today. During a fast, I consume nothing but water.

It's rare that I fast more than once a week. I try not to feast before a fast. After fasting, I usually eat ~25% extra food for that meal.

I'm male, 6'1", 160lbs, lean, and athletic, with 9-10% body fat, according to the Navy SEAL body fat calculator: http://fitness.bizcalcs.com/Calculator.asp?Calc=Body-Fat-Navy

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8933 · February 21, 2012 at 6:38 PM

That hack works great, Adam! I also found out that, when I go to school, when I go I'm cold, when I return I'm warm. I thought it might be the stress, but why would I get stressed out from going to school???

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8255 · February 21, 2012 at 5:01 PM

I got wool socks, gloves, and do bodyweight squats.

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830 · March 09, 2011 at 1:17 PM

Thanks for all of the responses and comments, everyone! Very helpful and insightful.

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4883 · March 08, 2011 at 10:47 PM

Nick, people frequently report cold hands and/or feet after a fast of about 16 hours. Not too long ago, a doctor (Emily Deans, author of the Evolutionary Psychiatry blog) reported on Paul Jaminet's Perfect Health Diet blog that this happens to her, and there was a brief discussion about it there. Paul speculated that 16 hours is about when liver glycogen runs out.

49de4cd2f26705785cbef2b15a9df7aa
830 · February 22, 2011 at 3:49 PM

@Rob My hands and fingers start feeling cold about 14-16 hours after my last meal, and they become colder as time passes.

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4883 · February 21, 2011 at 2:39 PM

Nick, do your hands and fingers feel colder than the rest of you? And does the coldness begin about 16 or 20 hours after the last meal?

82166cc32b6cf26de33b69f58fb583b1
4883 · February 21, 2011 at 2:37 PM

Nick, do your hands and fingers feel colder than the rest of you? And does the coldness begin about 16 or 20 hours into the fast?

46a50abafc820cfab9e91ada8b26148a
152 · January 08, 2011 at 10:04 AM

this is the main reason i started fasting. I've always been hot all the time, sweat A LOT and I think it's hyperhidrosis. Fasting has helped some with this.

49de4cd2f26705785cbef2b15a9df7aa
830 · January 07, 2011 at 12:20 AM

Thanks, Ambimorph. I just searched this on Google, and found a couple of studies showing this.

B3c62d89cd47b7d7209b6a99243d0ded
10768 · January 07, 2011 at 12:04 AM

I actually found that when stuck at a desk, if i just breathed deeply for 5 minutes, deep and slow, that I started warming up. --- How's that for a Hack?

49de4cd2f26705785cbef2b15a9df7aa
830 · January 06, 2011 at 8:29 PM

Yeah, exercise definitely helps to increase blood flow all over your body. I guess I should hunt around the office for a private spot to do some body-weight exercises.

49de4cd2f26705785cbef2b15a9df7aa
830 · January 06, 2011 at 8:27 PM

That makes a lot of sense. Thanks, Jake. I don't feel that it's dangerous for me, but it's definitely unpleasant. The next time I fast, I'm going to try wearing another layer of clothing.

49de4cd2f26705785cbef2b15a9df7aa
830 · January 06, 2011 at 8:22 PM

@chaotic3quilibrium, @steve Thanks for asking me those questions. I've updated my original post with answers. Let me know if there's anything else that I should include.

D38c0cc994b194de08289e0fe3f99d1e
421 · January 06, 2011 at 7:18 PM

Are you keto-fasting and just restricting carbs and protien, or are you forgoing fats as well, and for how long and how often are you fasting? Also, what is your body type (e.g., normal, heavy, lean)?

3c66bc3a4bd1742ac9886eff6b6016dc
0 · January 06, 2011 at 6:28 PM

Can you describe your fasting window(s)? Are you doing a single long fast of x days (or hours)? Are you doing intermittent fasting where you eat between 6-10pm each evening? Are you alternating days where you don't eat at all and the next day gorge from arising to dropping into bed that night? Each fasting pattern has it's own unique hormonal response depending upon the variables implied above.

3c66bc3a4bd1742ac9886eff6b6016dc
0 · January 06, 2011 at 6:27 PM

Can you describe your fasting window(s)? Are you doing a single long fast of x days (or hours)? Are you doing intermittent fasting where you eat between 6-10pm each evening? Are you alternating days where you don't eat at all and gorge from arising to dropping into bed that night? Each fasting pattern has it's own unique hormonal response depending upon the variables implied above.

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15 Answers

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100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1
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18671 · January 06, 2011 at 9:07 PM

Actually, fasting is known to reduce core body temperature, not just the extremities. Even just caloric restriction does this. It is accompanied, and probably caused, by a lowering of metabolic rate.

I don't know if this is good or bad in the long run. There are reasons to believe either. It's certainly uncomfortable, though -- I definitely notice it, too.

49de4cd2f26705785cbef2b15a9df7aa
830 · January 07, 2011 at 12:20 AM

Thanks, Ambimorph. I just searched this on Google, and found a couple of studies showing this.

46a50abafc820cfab9e91ada8b26148a
152 · January 08, 2011 at 10:04 AM

this is the main reason i started fasting. I've always been hot all the time, sweat A LOT and I think it's hyperhidrosis. Fasting has helped some with this.

1ec4e7ca085b7f8d5821529653e1e35a
7
5516 · January 06, 2011 at 7:12 PM

Check out this link. http://www.leangains.com/2010/09/eat-stop-eat-expanded-edition-review.html

In the book review Martin has a section entitled "fasting and cold fingers"

The basic idea is that during fasting your blood circulation is centered around your abdomen and less blood circulation to the extremeties. He believes it is nothin to be worried about. It can be helpful (says Martin) because during the fast you are attempting to rid yourself of abdomen fat and the enhanced blood flow speeds this process. Don't take my word for it though, read the site.

I get cold sometimes when fasting. It seems to be happening less and less. My take is to put on warmer clothes and stick it out. Of course you should never do something you feel is harmful to your health. If you are having issues with fasting maybe you should start with a fast for a shorter period of time and extend it gradually over a few weeks to acclimate.

49de4cd2f26705785cbef2b15a9df7aa
830 · January 06, 2011 at 8:27 PM

That makes a lot of sense. Thanks, Jake. I don't feel that it's dangerous for me, but it's definitely unpleasant. The next time I fast, I'm going to try wearing another layer of clothing.

B3c62d89cd47b7d7209b6a99243d0ded
2
10768 · January 06, 2011 at 8:23 PM

I can get a bit cold during long fasts, i believe the body is just being careful with it's energy reserves. I don't see this as a problem, and it is even rather pleasant during the summers.

A quick spot of movement or exercise warms me back up. Wool socks can help, too.

B3c62d89cd47b7d7209b6a99243d0ded
10768 · January 07, 2011 at 12:04 AM

I actually found that when stuck at a desk, if i just breathed deeply for 5 minutes, deep and slow, that I started warming up. --- How's that for a Hack?

49de4cd2f26705785cbef2b15a9df7aa
830 · January 06, 2011 at 8:29 PM

Yeah, exercise definitely helps to increase blood flow all over your body. I guess I should hunt around the office for a private spot to do some body-weight exercises.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f
8933 · February 21, 2012 at 6:38 PM

That hack works great, Adam! I also found out that, when I go to school, when I go I'm cold, when I return I'm warm. I thought it might be the stress, but why would I get stressed out from going to school???

5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f
8255 · February 21, 2012 at 5:01 PM

I got wool socks, gloves, and do bodyweight squats.

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30 · March 08, 2011 at 9:58 PM

Funny i stumbled across this today...yesterday i fasted for 24 hrs and at about hr 16 i too became cold and couldn't warm up, but actually was getting colder. I even turned the heat up in the house and the wife was super surprised. I am 6' 192lbs with 7% BF...all of thses answers make sense. Thnx for all the input hackers!

9bc6f3df8db981f67ea1465411958c8d
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3690 · January 08, 2011 at 6:55 AM

When fasting your body is answering by conserving more energy and that translates in less body heat. That's a first common sign of the body in energy conservation mode. I you were to fast for an extended period of time, you would get even colder, then would have less and less energy and eventually even climbing stairs would seem like a chore.

This is normal, but I think that it can only get better with time and your body getting used to be efficient with its energy.

5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f
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8255 · January 06, 2011 at 7:20 PM

Not really big on fasting, but for me, I've noticed I get cold a lot easier when I'm cutting the calories. I always attributed it to the metabolism running a bit more sluggishly without the extra calories.

4ee70be4b90aebf30fd55e303147a5fe
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0 · January 16, 2014 at 8:21 AM

Fast sometimes I have ,Yep there are some problems ,something like your body circumstances.Complicated ,if you like check here maybe there will provide some solutions.

http://bit.ly/1b4HA4f

74d36eab8de11fa3d66782cd471c20ec
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0 · January 14, 2014 at 12:42 PM

Stumbled across this, possibly outdated by now, but anyway. I experience the same at the end of a 16 hour fast period (16/8 pattern). My explanation (being a MD by the way) is different: During fasting your body shows a slight shift in the balance of the autonomous nervous system towards the sympathetic side. This so called noradrenergic or adrenergic reaction leads to cold extremities due to less blood flow in the extremities. It also causes the nice feeling of being wide awake and alert. You can enhance (or worsen) the effect by the intake of caffeine (as in coffee).

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0 · September 07, 2013 at 12:44 AM

I am freezing right now and I'm three hours from being done on a 24 hour. I have fingerless gloves on but I am so cold. I had to take a bath before bed and I just laid there for 2 hours shivering.

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0 · April 03, 2013 at 11:57 AM

I seem to get really cold every time I eat. I have Raynauds's disease i.e. thick blood that finds it hard to reach the extremities. I'm having green tea for breakfast, poached eggs with spinach for lunch and whatever I like for dinner. I've just had my eggs and my body temperature has shot down and I can't feel my big toes, which have changed colour. Last two days I've had to have a bath after dinner to warm up. Its only four degrees outside but that's warmer than the last few weeks, although not all the snow has melted, it is sunny.

I just think what little energy I have is concentrated around digesting my food, but seriously, two eggs and some spinach, how much energy does that require?

635db7f65298b2f1f119a2efaf161ac3
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0 · March 06, 2013 at 9:12 PM

I too get cold when fasting. I do daily 20/4 windows, and 16/8 windows on lifting days. Works ok for me though, since I live in the desert southwest and summers get into the 100+ temps. :)

Studies have shown that metabolism actually increases when fasting, at least during the first 24-72 hours. More info on that at leangains, just search for Top 10 Fasting Myths Debunked article. So, it's unlikely the coldness is due to reduced metabolism. Though I don't have an answer for it.

By the way, when I have my big pile-o-chicken breast at dinner, I warm up quickly. :)

2d45f120f93691d1b2c283344dfd027c
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0 · November 01, 2012 at 12:57 PM

Fasting reduces body-core Temp,the body conserves energy by pushing circulating blood to the major organs,this is logical and normal.Those with less than 10% body fat will feel it more. People may also notice an increase in blood pressure while others notice a drop in pressure. this is way fasts should be supervised by someone whom knows the warning signs for certain individuals that may get into potential serious problems.

Anyone whom has never fasted before or whom has known health issues should always be supervised and monitored by a health care professional.such clinics do exist such as true-north in the USA and I myself supervise individuals www.bodybudddha.co.uk.

0b919d047609c0dd4d5a2016a5ff56da
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0 · July 21, 2012 at 4:23 PM

im muslim and i'm fasting for about 18shours this ramadan, just googled cold and fasting and this came up.

why are you lot fasting is this part of your religion too?

my mates dad was a rastfarian and he would randomly fast because he said it's good for the body but this was not aa obligation of his religion.

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91 · February 21, 2011 at 10:54 AM

A study by Johnson et al in 1982 showed that the subjects on a calorie restricted diet or intermittent fasting program were leaner and more active yet more vulnerable to cold. Fortunately, unlike, the small animals used in these tests, we have ample methods of keeping warm and this, although an expected side effect, is not to be concerning.

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