It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
Surprisingly, fever is caused by a substance made by our own cells. This chemical then acts on the temperature regulating center in the brain to raise body temperature, presumably to make the environment of germs less hospitable and hastening their departure.
Despite being uncomfortable, fever is generally not harmful unless temperatures higher than 105 degrees are sustained.
No one really knows the origins of the axiom, but most accounts link it back as early as 1574, when dictionary writer John Withals wrote “Fasting is a great remedie of feuer.”
In those days, medical wisdom dictated that a drop in body temperature caused colds, while fevers produced a temperature spike.
The rationale behind “feed a cold, starve a fever” may have been that eating food and drinking tonic helped the body generate warmth during a cold, while laying off the calories helped temper the inner heat during a fever.
A more plausible interpretation is that the feed-a-cold idea arose out of a folk understanding of the disease process, namely that there were two kinds of illnesses, those caused by low temperatures (colds and chills) and those caused by high temperatures (fever). If you had a chill, you wanted to stoke the interior fires, so you pigged. If you had a fever, you didn't want things to overheat, so you slacked off on the fuel.
The maxim "feed a cold, starve a fever" may be right after all, researchers have discovered.
Until now, most doctors and nutritionists have rejected the idea as a myth. But Dutch scientists have found that eating a meal boosts the type of immune response that destroys the viruses responsible for colds, while fasting stimulates the response that tackles the bacterial infections responsible for most fevers.
"while levels of another chemical messenger, interleukin-4, nearly quadrupled. Interleukin-4 is characteristic of the humoral immune response, in which B cells produce antibodies that attack pathogens lurking outside our cells. This response is needed to tackle most bacterial infections,
Evidence Against the Health Claim
Current medical opinion puts the “feed a cold, starve a fever” maxim in the same category as other medical advice from the Middle Ages–false and maybe even dangerous! An infection–particularly one associated with fevers– is no time to deny your body the nutrients and fluids it needs. Like any bodily system, the immune system requires energy to function properly.