Starve a fever and feed a cold?

by 123 · December 11, 2012 at 07:22 PM

Would increasing calories (slightly) during a cold/flu/sinus scenario help with recovory. I think this would be along the lines of recovoring from a work out. I feel that most peaple seem to want to eat more when run down whether that be from overtraining or getting sick (which are not much seperated anyway).

In a fever situation I definently think not eating or eating very little for a couple of days during a fever would help it run its course and allow the body to acutely fight of whatever is causing the fever, much like a fast can increase autophagy and other benifits. Again it seems that most peaple with a fever just dont feel like eating at all.

While the first answer to come to mind is 'its going to be up to the individual', what merits do you think the old meme has.


To be clear, i'm not really concerned with what the saying may or may not have meant. I'm asking whether you think it would be a non-issue or even benificial to fast or restrict food during a fever, in light of research on immune system function and fasting/eating, as well as most peaples reaction to lose their appetite.

For the 'cold' side of things, either eating your normal diet or even increasing calories (perhaps quality carbs) to aid in recovory

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3 Replies


I thought the old wive's tale was "starve a cold and feed a fever"

and here is a bit of info on it


although it is a moot point as to whether one was being literally advised to not eat during a cold and to eat during a fever, or whether it meant that if one didn't eat when one had a cold, one would be bringing on (feeding) a fever in its wake.

0 · December 11, 2012 at 07:22 PM

I may be out of my mind here but I always thought that the phrase "Starve a cold and feed a fever" went back to times when you could not run to the drug store and get an aspirin, cold remedy or fever reducer. Starve a cold - stay out of the cold and drafts as in pneumonia. Feed a fever, pile on blankets and make the person hotter to break the fever. Am I completely off base on this one??

3916 · July 22, 2011 at 06:45 AM

I tend to go by what my body is telling me. If my appetite is MIA to me that means that my body wants to put all of it's energy into fighting off the bug instead of digesting food. If it needs more food or nutrients, I believe it will tell me by increasing appetite/cravings. So, I kind of ignore the rules and just go with what my appetite is telling me.

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