Feed a Cold, Starve a Fever?

There are many old mantras that have been passed down through the generations.  One of these mantras is “feed a cold, starve a fever.”  So, is there any validity to it?  What’s important to remember is that when you are sick, you have to listen to your body.  Your body will basically tell you what it needs.

Woman with fever

Stay Hydrated

Whether you have a cold or fever, it is essential to stay hydrated.  Hydration is one of the keys to a healthy lifestyle.  When you are sick with a fever, hydration is especially important because the fever will cause you to dehydrate faster.  Dehydration can cause you to need intravenous (I.V.) fluids and be hospitalized.  It is not something to be taken lightly.  If you have the stomach flu with your fever, it can be very difficult to hold down any fluids at all.  If that’s the case, then just keep water or ginger ale (it helps with nausea) nearby and take small sips.


Try to Eat

You may have noticed that eating isn’t as enjoyable when you’re sick.  Often, a stuffy nose (congestion) accompanies a cold.  When this occurs, you aren’t able to taste much, so food isn’t as enjoyable.  If you still have an appetite though, you should try to eat.  Food helps you maintain energy which can help you in your recovery.


You also may have noticed when sick with a fever that you simply do not have an appetite.  That’s ok too.  You don’t have to force yourself to eat if it really doesn’t sound good, although chicken broth is always a good option for when you’re sick.  Your appetite will return as you recover.  Start slowly because your stomach is not used to its regular amount of food if you haven’t been eating much for a few days.  You don’t want to give yourself a stomachache!


When recovering from illness, particularly the stomach flu, one can stick to the BRATT diet, which consists of bananas, rice, applesauce, toast, and tea.  These things are easy on a sensitive stomach.  And, believe it or not, even when nothing else sounds good, one or more of the items on the BRATT diet might sound appealing.  Remember, your body knows what it needs and will do its best to let you know what exactly that is.


Because your body tells you what it needs, it lets you know when it needs food and what it wants to eat and when it just can’t handle food. This is probably where the saying “feed a cold, starve a fever” came from in the first place.  Over time, people noticed that was what their bodies demanded.  So, essentially, you could say the saying is true.


While you might lose a little weight while sick, if you are on a weight loss journey, that isn’t the way to get there!  Once you are well again you can continue on your journey, and you don’t have to do it on your own!  Advanced Surgical and Weight Loss Institute is located in the Melbourne, Merritt Island area, and we are here for you.  Dr. Diego Velarde specializes in helping his clients with rapid weight loss in Brevard County.  Give us a call today.  We are here and ready to serve you!