Now was that feed a cold, starve a fever?

What am I supposed to do? Starve a cold? Feed a cold?

I’m basically just looking for an excuse not to eat. I’ve got the first cold I’ve had in about five years. I had forgotten how sucky they are. I don’t feel like eating, but I have sneaking suspicion that I’d feel a little perkier if I did.

I can’t taste my food and nothing appeals to me. Plus, I have a fat butt. Can’t I use this all to my advantage and just go without food until I feel like eating? Or is there some kind of “conventional wisdom” that says I should be stuffing my face in order to feel better?

It’s “Feed a cold and starve a fever,” but the sentence is ambiguous. It could mean:

(1) If you have a cold, feed yourself, but if you have a fever, starve yourself.

(2) If you have a cold, feed yourself, and that will prevent a fever coming.

But it’s still unambiguous about what you do with a cold: you should feed yourself (especially keep the liquid intake up, and eat stuff full of vitamin C).

Oh yeah, I suppose sucking down coffee to try to cover up the fact that I didn’t sleep is a very bad idea. I’ll switch to water. I have a problem with vitamin C in liquids because I can’t really drink juice. I can take an extra tablet though!

If you’re hungry, eat. If you’re not hungry, don’t eat. If you’re thirsty, drink. If you’re not thirsty, drink anyway.

A couple of days without food will (assuming you’re generally healthy) not harm you long term, and it won’t interfere with your immune system’s attempts to deal with your current viral houseguests, but it won’t really “count” as weight loss, either - anything you lose will come right back when you’re feeling better. More than a couple of days and, if you’re me, you run the risk of resetting your metabolism to be even more frickin’ effective* and fat storing when you start eating again.
*I refuse to consider my metabolism “slow”. My metabolism is not slow or deficient, it’s in fact incredibly efficient. So efficient that it wrings every last possible molecular bond out of the food I eat and squirrels it away on my ass so I won’t ever starve to death. It’s a lovely caring metabolism that I would bless and praise if I were a Sherpa.

Skip the whole thing, says Cecil, because “Doctors have been trying to stamp out the above piece of folklore for years.”

Heh! Maybe we’re sisters.

This sounds like good advice. I mean, what kind of advice can you really give? It’s just a matter of being the most comfortable while the junk runs its course.

I did eat a little bit, which perked me up some.

I seriously have better things to do than sniffle and whine!

Definitely drink some fluids even if you don’t feel like eating. Your body loses more fluid when you have a fever. You could end up dehydrated and even sicker than you would have been otherwise if you don’t take in enough fluid.

The way to remember the “rule of thumb” is to think of the body as a machine, and food as fuel. If you have a fever, your body is running too hot, so you starve it of fuel until it cools down. If you’re cold, you pump more fuel in.

It doesn’t work because our bodies are more complicated than that, but it’s any easy way to remember the saying.

I’m not a doctor and have no qualifications to back up what I’m about to write.

I have noticed in that when I am eating a diet with a lot of carbs, I tend to catch colds more often. My theory is that bacteria loves sugar. Also when I do aerobic exercise when I have a mild cold (no fever) it makes my cold go away. Same theory.

It’s IF you feed a cold you will have to starve a fever.

Eating takes up a lot of energy, so try not to eat much and your body will spend its energy fighting the cold instead of having to work the digestive system. My remedy involves force drinking orange juice and water - lots of it and flushing it out. If you feed a cold you’re putting extra strain on your body and might end up making it worse and then having to starve the fever anyway - that’s my understanding of the saying.

Ooops I see I’m dubious according to Cecil from the link above

a) take alot of vitamins.

b) Fluids, fluids, fluids.

c) hot baths and rest.

d) Spicy food to help clear the nasal passages and warm up your body.
These are a few of my FAAAAVORITE things to do for a cold.

I love spicey food, that’s a great idea.

I got kicked out of work for having a gross disease and had to work at home today. Blah!

Unrelated to what may be actually correct or proper, here’s how I always remembered the saying:

Another very common piece of advice is to eat chicken soup for a cold. How could you starve a cold if you’re eating chicken soup? So it must be feed a cold and starve a fever.

I hope you feel better soon. I hate being sick.

I agree - it’s feed a cold, starve a fever. When I was little, I always used to get vomiting in conjunction with fevers, so I used to assume that you’d starve a fever because you’d waste your food by barfing it up later anyway. It made perfect sense at the time. Funny how kids’ minds work, huh?