Do You Burn More Calories When Sick? (How So)

If you go to the gym and eat healthily, you will gain muscles. You will also have a fit body, which will make you feel better. However, you will feel vulnerable, weak, and fragile when you fall sick. But what happens to the calories, do you burn more?

When sick, your body burns more calories in two ways: first, your immune will fight against the disease, and as a result, your metabolic rate goes up which burns more calories. Second, most people when they’re sick, they lack appetite which means they eat less, while the body needs more energy. So, your body loses more calories based on these two factors.

This article talks about how you burn calories when sick, how many calories get burned and provide you with remedies. Continue reading the article to get well-detailed information. Let’s get started!

Do You Burn Calories When Sick?

When you are sick, you burn more calories. During infection or sickness, your body will increase the metabolic rate and raise oxygen consumption. Your body will also use proteins for energy sources and boost heat production. All these will lead to a high amount of calories burning in your body.

Moreover, when you are sick, the viruses and bacteria causing the sickness will modify the cellular metabolism in your body.

Then they will start a cascade of different metabolic processes leading to an increase in metabolic rate. Your body temperature will elevate to combat the viruses and bacteria.

However, there are proper ways to burn calories.

What Happens When You are Sick?

do you burn calories when sick?

Before I explain why you burn calories when sick, it is important to know what happens to the body when you are sick. White blood cells are produced by the immunological system and antibodies to fight the sickness when sick.

Whenever a virus or foreign substance enters your body, the immune system produces inflammatory chemicals. These chemicals increase your body temperature in response to killing the pathogens. It also protects you from getting the same sickness again, depending on the type of illness.

However, raising your body temperature has a price. If you have noticed, you tend to lose weight when you are sick. Below are reasons why you lose weight:

1. Burning calories

Fighting disease in the body is not easy. Your body burns calories to get the energy needed to combat the disease. The energy raises your body temperature.

2. Losing water weight

When you are sick, you will vomit, sweat, or make several trips to the toilet. In the process, water levels decrease in your body. That is why it is good to stay hydrated when you are sick.

3. Eating light food

When you are sick, you eat light foods that are easy to digest. You will lose weight because of these light foods if you consume them in low amounts. You need to eat light foods in large quantities.

4. Eating less

When you are sick, you do not have an appetite to eat. Your body will focus on fighting the illness more than eating. Even if you eat you consume little food, you will still lose weight. Moreover, if you are nauseous, you will rarely feel like eating.

Do You Need More Calories When Sick?

more calories

When you are sick, you do not need more calories. Studies have shown eating below the required amount of calories has better outcomes. Eating the right amount of calories has the following benefits. They include a shorter hospital stay, increased mortality, and reduced ventilator dependence.

You should consult your doctor on the number of calories you should consume when you are sick for a quick recovery. However, there is a slimline between too little and less because inadequate protein consumption and calories lead to poor healing. Moreover, your body will lack energy which will prolong the sickness.

How Many Calories Do You Lose When Sick?

When you are sick, the body loses a hundred to two hundred calories when the body temperature increases by 0.5 0C. When you are sick, the basal metabolic rate increases by seven percent when the body temperature increases by half a degree Celsius.

The number of calories you burn when sick will be determined by a number of things. They include:

a. Body size

If you have a small body size, the number of calories required to raise your body temperature will decrease. But if you have a big body size, the number of calories you will burn will be more.

b. Your temperature

Your body temperature relies on burning a certain number of calories. So, if you have a fever, more calories will get burned.

c. Your gender

It does not matter if a man and a woman have the same body weight and size. Women’s metabolic rates are lower than men’s. That is why it takes women fewer calories to raise their body temperature.

Calorie Watch Counter!

How Many Calories Should You Consume When Sick?

When you are sick, you should be eating two thousand to three thousand calories. However, this depends on your age, body weight, and gender. Moreover, it depends on your lean body mass, physical activity, and the food you eat.

When you are sick, you should focus on eating a healthy diet. It should consist of fresh fruits, vegetables, and protein. A healthy diet will not shorten your sickness, but it will strengthen your body. Moreover, it will boost your immunity.

When you are sick, it is important to consider your calorie intake. Doing this will ensure you are eating the correct number of calories. Doing this will ensure you recover quickly with full-body strength.

Furthermore, when you are sick, you should not have calorie restrictions. The only time calorie restriction is allowed is when you are bodybuilding or having a weight loss goal.

Will You Burn Calories If You Have a Fever?

can you burn calories when sick

Your body uses fever to improve immune response. In the process, extra calories will be burned to increase the body temperature. It will lead to the basal metabolic rate in your body increasing. Moreover, when you have a fever, you will be dehydrated and eat less.

Furthermore, apart from increased body temperature, there are other physiological changes. They include hormonal changes, metabolic adaptations, and sleep cycles.

These changes play a role in how your body uses energy and the level of appetite in your body. What if you want to burn calories in a healthful manner?

How Many Calories Will Be Burned By Having a Fever?

It is difficult to find an accurate number of calories when you have a fever. When you have a fever, studies show that your basal metabolic rate increases by seven percent for every half a degree Celsius when you have a fever.

For example, let’s say you are twenty-five years old and weigh one hundred and fifty pounds. Your average basal metabolic rate will be 1640 calories. It will mean you will burn 1640 calories each day without doing anything.

Now, if you have a fever of 101.30F, your body temperature is above normal, 98.60F. So, your basal metabolic rate is up by 21% compared to usual from the above numbers.

If you do 21% of 1640 calories, you will get 344 calories burned each day because of the fever.

Factors That Determine Number of Calories a Fever Will Burn

Below are several factors that determine the number of calories you will burn in your body if you have a fever. They include:

a) If you have a big body size, your basal metabolic rate will be high. Meaning your body will burn more calories.

b) If you have a small body, your basal metabolic rate is low. You will burn fewer calories than someone with a big body.

c) A man has a higher basal metabolic rate than a woman. So, if you are a man, you will burn more calories despite being the same age and body weight.

d) If you have a high fever, you will burn more calories than when you have a slight fever. A slight fever only burns a few calories and you are less likely to lose weight.

Do Calories Get Burned When You Have a Fever?

When you have a cold, there is no increase in body temperature. That is why there is no noticeable increase in calories spent. Although, there might be small use of calories to fight the cold compared to fighting a fever.

When you have a cold, your body temperature will not increase systemically. However, your body needs to do some work, such as the production of white blood cells. Such a task will require a small number of calories.

When you have a cold, your appetite will be affected. You will not eat regularly like on your normal days. You will end up eating a few calories when sick. It will often lead to temporarily losing weight during colds.

Calories and infection

Infections happen when you come in contact with fungi, yeast, viruses, bacteria, and other microorganisms. These organisms spread in the body and cause infection. Your body’s immune system will fight them by elevating the body temperature, leading to increased metabolic activities.

Metabolic activities increase calories burned because more energy is required to fight these organisms. Studies have shown that you will suffer from malnutrition and lose weight if you do not take in enough calories during an infection.

What foods you should eat when sick?

food to eat when sick

When you are sick, you should eat foods that strengthen your body and give you some calories. Those foods include:

a. Vitamins and minerals

Minerals and vitamins are necessary for strengthening your immune system. They help in the prevention of depression in the immune system. You should eat foods rich in vitamins C, D, E, A, B12, B9, and B6.

Minerals such as iron, zinc, copper, and magnesium strengthen your immune system. Moreover, you should limit fat intake when you are sick. Increasing protein intake balances and accelerates your recovery.

b. Water

drink water

High body temperature will dehydrate your body. It will make it harder for your body to fight pathogens. Therefore when you are sick, you need to stay hydrated to recover quickly.

c. Proteins

In your diet, the protein content needs to be higher than usual. During inflammation, your body will use amino acids from your diet for energy.

Proteins are not only suitable for energy sources, but also they help repair worn-out organelles and manufacture new cells. Moreover, their diet should include one palm of high-dense proteins for women, and for men, it should be two palms.

d. Soup

drink soup

When you are not feeling well, you should eat soup to help improve digestion in your stomach. It also keeps you hydrated and provides you with electrolytes. Examples of soups you can eat include mushroom or chicken soup. These are healthy for your body.

e. Nuts


Nuts are good sources of calories. They are healthy, and you will enjoy eating them compared to salads and fruits. Once you start chewing them, they will give you that feeling of wanting to eat more without stopping.

Frequently Asked Questions?

1. Can you do workouts when sick?

Yes, you can work out. Most of the time, when sick, you take a rest until you recover. After you recover, you can start working out with light exercises. However, you should find advice from your doctor to know which kind of exercise to do.

2. When sick, will vomiting burn calories?

Vomiting does not burn calories. Even if you vomit immediately after eating, your body will have absorbed a few calories. But if you vomit the food you ate, you will be removing all the calories you have eaten.

3. When sick, does fever burn fat?

Yes, it does. Apart from burning fat, it also burns muscles. When you are sick with a fever, it will not discriminate between muscle and fat. Both will burn, although fever burns more muscles than fat.

4. Should you eat more when sick?

The essential thing is to eat well and a standard amount of food. However, do not limit yourself to eating as much as possible when it comes to eating fruits. Fruits will provide you with all the vitamins you need. Ensure the diet you eat is balanced and has a high content of proteins.

Final thoughts

In conclusion, when you get sick more calories will get burned because your body needs to fight the illness. You might lose weight depending on the type of illness, your appetite, and the amount of food you consume.

You need to ensure that you eat a high protein-rich diet when sick. As for fruits, eat as much as you can. They are suitable for your health. Moreover, depending on the kind of sickness, you may lose a lot of weight or just a few pounds.

Lastly, please share this article with your friends, family, and colleagues. Thanks for reading through the article.

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