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  1. #1
    Registered User illiquid's Avatar
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    do you burn more calories when sick?

    Hey i'm just curious, do you burn more calories when you're sick? Usually I do 1 hour cardio 5 times a week and eat very strict and do weights about 6 times a week and have been maintaining my weight for the past month or so. However, for the past week ive been sick with a fever (coughing, sore throat, slight headaches and feeling heaps tired) so I haven't been doing any cardio at all, and along with that I have literally been eating double the calories of what I normally eat along with sleeping at least 9 and a half hours a night (usually sleep 7.5 - 8 hours a night) and I havent gained any weight at all, I even lost weight at one stage. Is this because I am sick? or is it because I have been following a strict program for a while now and the excess calories have basically just been like a refeed / recover week? or a bit of both? Has anyone else experienced anything similar to this when sick?
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  2. #2
    Pure Persian Power -E-'s Avatar
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    you do burn more calories when you're sick, the high fever and other symptoms are signs of your body fighting the infection/virus, your body burns more calories and your metabolism is raised, you also lose a lot of fluids so make sure to keep some water handy
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  3. #3
    NITTANY LION PRIDE caa5000's Avatar
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    maybe someone more qualified can comment better then I can...

    but wouldn't your body just borrow resources from other places? I mean by virtue of being sick you're going to be burning less calories because you're not going to be moving nearly as much.

    I'm almost certain the reason your weight has stayed stagnant doesn't have much to do with you being sick, though. There are too many other factors.
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  4. #4
    Registered User Wowzer's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by illiquid View Post
    Hey i'm just curious, do you burn more calories when you're sick? Usually I do 1 hour cardio 5 times a week and eat very strict and do weights about 6 times a week and have been maintaining my weight for the past month or so. However, for the past week ive been sick with a fever (coughing, sore throat, slight headaches and feeling heaps tired) so I haven't been doing any cardio at all, and along with that I have literally been eating double the calories of what I normally eat along with sleeping at least 9 and a half hours a night (usually sleep 7.5 - 8 hours a night) and I havent gained any weight at all, I even lost weight at one stage. Is this because I am sick? or is it because I have been following a strict program for a while now and the excess calories have basically just been like a refeed / recover week? or a bit of both? Has anyone else experienced anything similar to this when sick?
    How long have you been sick and not exercising? Less than 1-2 weeks you aren't likely to see any significant weight changes anyway.

    And to answer your question, yes, your metabolic rate increases slightly when sick, however for a common cold it is not very much. As mentioned above you are likely to be using less energy due to not moving as much.
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  5. #5
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    I'm not an expert but when I had the flu in early april..put me out of commission for about a week...I had extremely high fever and muscle fatigue like I had been lifting brickloads of weights for the first couple of days. Def. a lot of sweat. Of course I could barely eat and my diet consisted majority of crackers,sprite and Tylenol. I ended up going from ~194 to about 188 in a week. I thought that it was due to a fluid drop in my body but after 1-2 weeks and to this day I am still at 188.
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  6. #6
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    Unfortunately, we don't burn more calories when we're fighting an illness. It seems logical to do so when your immune system has to kick in, but actually your metabolism slows (therefore directly impacting your calorie burning).
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    Originally Posted by caa5000 View Post
    maybe someone more qualified can comment better then I can...

    but wouldn't your body just borrow resources from other places? I mean by virtue of being sick you're going to be burning less calories because you're not going to be moving nearly as much.

    I'm almost certain the reason your weight has stayed stagnant doesn't have much to do with you being sick, though. There are too many other factors.
    Sickness do reduce the body weight.
    Firstly,when you are sick you don't eat appropriate diet that makes you weak and guides it to utilize the stored fat that makes you loose weight.
    Secondly,when you are sick there's most probably an infection, to tackle it body make use of the available resources hence increase heat and BMR that also decreases the weight
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  8. #8
    Registered User sammadi's Avatar
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    You burn more calories when you are active. Physically active. Not mentally active, under physiological stress of being sick.

    When one is sick, they general will want the comfort of a bed and will not be active enough to get very hungry. Hence, one will eat less when sick. On account of this, a week expires and wouldn't you know you've lost some weight and 'you credit this loss to your illness'.

    This, now, is not because your metabolism was raised. Your metabolism has lowered. YOU WERE IN A PARASYMPATHETIC RESPONSE STATE. YOU WERE IN A PARASYMPATHETIC RESPONSE STATE. YOU WERE IN A PARASYMPATHETIC RESPONSE STATE.

    Your body's biological clocks were all sloooowed down. Your metabolism was slowed down. You just didn't bring in enough food and you flushed out much water to eliminate debris because, if you were good, you were drinking plenty of water. So, you gave yourself a diuretic effect by pumping yourself full of fluids which, naturally, got depleted.
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  9. #9
    Registered User Silleli's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by -E- View Post
    you do burn more calories when you're sick, the high fever and other symptoms are signs of your body fighting the infection/virus, your body burns more calories and your metabolism is raised, you also lose a lot of fluids so make sure to keep some water handy
    Purely anecdotal from my personal experience but I agree with this post. I usually just eat cheat foods when I'm sick cause my appetite is low and this is the only thing I can get down. Never has held me back. May be different for you though.
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  10. #10
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    Originally Posted by beelzebul View Post
    Unfortunately, we don't burn more calories when we're fighting an illness. It seems logical to do so when your immune system has to kick in, but actually your metabolism slows (therefore directly impacting your calorie burning).
    Yes you do. Increased body temp and increased rate of metabolism is part of the acute phase response.

    However the increase is not very significant unless you are septic.
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  11. #11
    VANCOUVER CANUCKS FUK YEA MAGnitude's Avatar
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    people lying ill in hospital beds unfortunately always do loose weight
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  12. #12
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    Want to burn more calories? Get a decent size burn. Seriously, badly burnt patients will burn 10k+ calories per day without moving around at all while the body tries to use a ton of calories and protein to regrow the burnt tissue.
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