# Do You Burn More Calories When You’re Sick?

When you’re sick, you may end up with a suppressed appetite due to a caloric deficit, but you are unlikely to burn many extra calories, even if you don’t have a fever like the common cold. The human body burns more calories when running a fever. Do you burn more calories when you’re sick?

I will also dive into questions related to whether you should eat more when you’re sick. I’ll explore the question of how many calories are burned from fever–from both smaller and larger numbers, and provide a list of factors that may affect this.

In order to increase the body’s temperature, additional calories need to be expended, and a fever is a tactic that your body employs to enhance its immune response.

This increases the basal metabolic rate (BMR) of your body. Therefore, indeed, you consume more calories when you have a fever.

You may experience dehydration and feel less inclined to eat. There could also be other reasons why you may lose weight and burn more calories, such as having a fever.

Also, other processes in your body will be heightened with the immune response, possibly burning a few more extra calories that way.

However, this gives rise to another, more precise query…

## How Many Additional Calories Are Expended During a Fever?

It’s difficult to find accurate figures on precisely how many calories a high body temperature burns.

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According to an article from LiveStrong, when you have a fever, your basal metabolic rate (BMR) increases by approximately seven percent for every half degree Celsius (or 0.9 °F).

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If you are a 25-year-old male who weighs 150 pounds and is 5’8″ tall, having a fever of 101.3°F would cause your BMR to increase by 21 percent, resulting in burning an extra 344 calories per day compared to the usual 1,640 calories per day. Let’s say you didn’t even move from bed all day, this means you would burn about 1,640 calories per day.

It’s possible that they are inaccurate, based on a small sample size or other issues. I wasn’t able to find primary scientific research reporting the numbers cited by LiveStrong. Please note that I would take the numbers above with a grain of salt.

### Factors Influencing the Amount of Calories Burned During a Fever

Here are a few ways that the amount of calories burned could differ based on your physique and your temperature:

• If you are a smaller person, your BMR is initially lower, so the percentage increase will correspond to a smaller number of calories.
• If you are a bigger person, your basal metabolic rate (BMR) is initially higher, so the percentage increase will result in a greater amount of calories.
• If you are a woman rather than a man, your BMR is likely to be a bit lower than that of a man of the same size, because an increase in percentage of calories will result in a fever.
• If you’re going through an elevated body temperature, then the proportion increase will be bigger, leading to a higher amount of calories burned in total.
• If you’re experiencing a mild fever, then the percentage rise will be lesser, resulting in a reduced overall calorie expenditure.
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## Do You Burn More Calories in Cold Weather?

Regarding this matter, there is a scarcity of reliable data. Are you able to expend more energy when you are experiencing a mild illness without a high body temperature? How does it affect the situation?

While experiencing a cold, there could be additional elements that continue to impact your calorie equilibrium. Furthermore, amidst a regular cold, the primary cause for the consumption of additional calories is the exertion exerted by your body to elevate its temperature.

While experiencing a cold, it is common to observe a temporary reduction in weight due to consuming significantly fewer calories when feeling hungry or inclined to eat. This can be attributed to the impact a cold has on one’s appetite.

Some tasks will use extra calories, for example, the proliferation of white blood cells. However, the body temperature is not raised systemically, as much as during a fever, in order to fight infection. There may also be a bit of extra calories used during a cold.

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## Do You Shed Pounds When You Are Ill?

It’s typical to at least temporarily shed pounds when you’re ill.

If you’re running a high fever and eating much less than usual, it’s possible that you will lose the actual weight of muscle or fat. However, most of the water weight that you lose will return later.

When you weight train, your body depletes glycogen stores in your muscles, leading to a decrease in stored carbs. As a result, eating less food can cause your body to become sick. Most people tend to eat a bit less when they are feeling unwell.

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So, this can further cause a loss of water weight. Additionally, if you’re not careful about replenishing your electrolytes and consuming lots of fluids, it can also result in dehydration and being sick.

If you consume an ample amount of food, it is unlikely that you will experience substantial loss of muscle or fat during a brief illness. Conversely, if you maintain a significant caloric deficit for an extended period, it is possible to effectively reduce fat or muscle mass.

During a fever, your body is exerting additional effort to regulate the increased temperature, thus it is necessary to consume a slightly higher amount of food in order to prevent the depletion of fat or muscle mass. It is especially important to remember the information we discussed earlier regarding the heightened requirement for calories.

## Is it Advisable to Increase Food Intake During a Cold?

So, what should you do regarding your calorie consumption when ill? Most reliable sources suggest consuming a slightly higher amount.

Some studies actually show that reducing calorie intake during illness can increase susceptibility to worsening symptoms and longer duration of flu-like conditions.

When feeling unwell, here are a few convenient and effortless choices for snacking if you’re not particularly inclined to eat or invest much energy into food preparation.

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