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TOPIC: do we burn more calories when sick?

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October 1, 2011 2:23 AM
Okay so I have a very bad cold, slept for 16 or so hours today and still feeling bad.
I have been eating more than usual and am still hungry, I feel very faint like I am about to pass out!

How many cals do we need when sick and do we need more than usual?

Thanks :)
Edited by BeautyFromPain On October 1, 2011 2:25 AM
October 1, 2011 2:30 AM
You need a healthy amount but I doubt you'd burn more as you are more likely to be sedentary surely? *am not a doctor lol*
October 1, 2011 2:35 AM
probably balances out, it probably uses more calories fighting infection but as the person above says you're mor likely to be sedentary while ill so you lose calories that way
October 1, 2011 2:40 AM
As stated above, your bmr does raise but voluntary movement slows, so depends how active you normaly are.
October 1, 2011 2:42 AM

probably balances out, it probably uses more calories fighting infection but as the person above says you're mor likely to be sedentary while ill so you lose calories that way

what she said

Yes your metabolic rate is higher fighting infection. higher temperature but if you're ill enough to raise your metabolism you have generally slowed down so will break even...but if you drag yourself round doing everything you normally do (like mothers of young children often will because theres no way round it) despite feeling like crud then you'll definitely have a bigger deficit.
October 1, 2011 3:07 AM
I'd agree that it's more than likely that it would balance out, though I imagine it depends what you are sick with. Your body will take a lot of energy to fight the infection but unless you plan to work out too I doubt you need more calories, nor would I recommend a normal work out when you feel that lousy!
December 8, 2013 5:16 AM
Yeah... you could burn more calories being sick, laying in bed, than not being sick laying in bed.
Your body actually heats itself up (over heating) to kill a virus. When you are sick, your body become self dependent, and often rejects incoming materials (that is why you are never hungry when you have the flu). Your body burns the energy it has stored in muscles and fat. It relays on the proteins in muscle (that is why you may feel weak after being sick.) After the body has flushed and removed the virus from all the tissues in the body, you may be a lighter weight. It is good to eat proteins and complex carbs after this to rebuild your muscle and overall complexion.
December 8, 2013 9:01 AM
This is sort of unrelated to actual calorie burn during illness, but I remember watching a medical program back when TLC actually had such things... where the person had a serious injury (burns all over his body). He was in the hospital, dying not from the burns, but because he was starving to death. The amount of calories his body was using to heal his body was astronomical. I can't remember an exact number, but he was using more calories in a day than a healthy person would in a week, despite being completely sedentary. They literally could not pump enough nutrition into him to keep up. Obviously watching a medical program about an extreme case doesn't make me any sort of expert on calories burned during a relatively minor illness, but it would make sense that you probably do burn a modest amount of calories fighting illnesses and infections which would raise your BMR a bit. Weight loss related to short term illnesses is almost certainly due to decreased calorie intake and water loss rather than increased calorie burn.

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