Is Nutritional Ketosis helpful if you have a cold or seasonal hayfever allergies?



Let’s start with some antiquated health advice in the form of an idiom and then move on to an anecdote.

Starve a cold and feed a fever has also been written as Feed a cold a starve a fever.

That gives a pretty wide open treatment window.

Here is a science snack.

I’ve been feeling pretty cruddy for a few days. Sore throat, tired, some sniffles, general aches and pains, and not wanting to get out of bed in the morning. I know, sounds like a man-cold. This is serious.

I use the word cruddy in a hopefully learn-ed manner. I feel/felt internally coagulated.

So I ate a rib eye steak. Then fasted for 32 hours. The following morning I had a RAT* for breakfast. The result was negative. At about the 28 hour point of the fast I suddenly felt much better. Like a switch flip. The sore throat had disappeared, the lymph nodes had settled, and swallowing was easier, general joint and muscle aches and pains resolved, and brain fog cleared. I felt bright and alert. General grumpiness and pitifulness followed the other symptoms out into the ether. My blood ketones were 1.0 mmol/L, (interestingly my fasting blood glucose was 6.5mmol/L).

I was in nutritional ketosis by taking the fast(ing) track. So, I feel better and symptoms have gone for now.

The key here is that having been in nutritional ketosis and having experienced the hunger control the thought of fasting while unwell was no great hurdle, as lack of hunger is a natural consequence of nutritional ketosis for many.

I know I said it was an idiom but does the old adage of fasting a cold hold true?

What is your experience?

(*Rapid Antigen Test for COVID)

May the Meat Force be with you! - 31 day Zero Carb Carnivore Cruise
(Bacon is better) #2

In my family the adage was always “feed a cold, starve a fever.” When I started to think about this, after beginning a ketogenic diet, I realised that the adage is not prescriptive, but descriptive. In other words, when I have a cold, my appetite is still good, but when I have a fever, I don’t want to eat. Whether it is a good idea to fast during a cold or to force oneself to eat when feverish, I have no idea, but I am leaning toward following the body’s natural inclinations. Investigating this would certainly make a good RCT.

My most recent experience with high fever was a couple of months ago with the omicron Covid variant, when I not only did not want to eat, but also found it difficult to do so. There were a few days when all I could manage was some store-bought chowder. Moreover, it didn’t help that everything tasted odd for several weeks during and afterward. My lowered food intake did not appear to inhibit recovery from the disease. Perhaps it is best simply to go with what feels right, and eat or not eat according to what the body appears to want.


Glad you are recovered now. Did you happen to check you blood ketones while ill?


I live with that IN MY HEAD cause I am seasonal allergy prone and low pressure storm sinus sensitive but I have 0 issues from ‘the neck down’ in my life LOL

I don’t ‘get colds’, I get allergy issues and I KNOW them totally and deal and so yea, I can’t say anything about ‘a cold’ and ‘ketosis’ so…

just saying for me.

ol’ thoughts are IF A PERSON is OFF food, they are super sick! Something has got them and might be ok or might not cause to me if a person can still eat thru a sicky icky time’ they are ok ya know.

how many issues in life ya heard, the person stopped eating and for me, in my experiences on others and how it goes down, you stop eating you got big issues…you eat thru any other icky you are OK in a way (of course barring any big med issues coming your way etc which can vary)

off food, bad
on food, yea ya got a chance to recover :scream_cat::clown_face::partying_face:

also I don’t check ketosis numbers ever, never have, well, one time I did back in the day about a year into zc and of course my ketones are so diff. then a newbie ‘doing ketosis’ that it meant nothing so can’t go there either.

ok I got nothing to add…wee…

(Bacon is better) #5

Good question, and no, I was too sick to even think about it.

My allergies and asthma are much better on keto, I have to say. At the moment, I am doing quite nicely on my daily antihistamine alone. Very rarely, I will need a hit or two of albuterol, if the pollen count gets really high.


Northern born and bred and got down to the South and OMG do I just have to deal with it…ugh…but I know me so I get it what is happening so?

I also ‘got better’ til I went back down again. I think literally cut off the head and my life is gonna be way better headless :scream::joy:


I never even heard about those things. It’s known that under some circumstances fasting may be good but it’s not really practiced here…? And there is the opinion that we need food to get healthy, well not some heavy one, whatever it means (probably going for easy to digest food but I don’t feel those things). But IDK. I always eat according to the signs of my body. If it wants a ton of fatty food, I eat that. I don’t lose appetite/hunger/need for fuel just because I catch a cold, I rather feel the urge to consume something in order not to feel the bad feeling in my throat but that’s usually warm tea or soup. But if I feel unwell for days, I eat well at least, I always do that.
But I very rarely catch a cold and it’s never serious.
If I am super unwell (that’s almost never physical), I lose appetite, well not my hunger but I don’t care until I can ignore it.
My last fever was in childhood so I have nothing for that.

As far as the title goes… Not playing with the can of worm that carbs are (to me) is always a nice thing… Carbs are the last thing I need when sick or feel stressed or down.

(Bob M) #8

I had covid and had a negative rapid test. I only took one test (my dumb mistake), but I had cold symptoms for that test. One of our friends also had a negative test while having symptoms, but then took additional tests, which turned positive. She did the right thing.

I only knew I had covid when I gave blood a few weeks later, and got a “reactive+”, meaning I had the highest level of antibodies. What I thought was a cold turned out to be covid. Oddly, my wife and kids did not get it (that we know of) from me, although my oldest daughter already got it (also had two shots). It was similar for her: cold symptoms. We knew she was at a party where someone later tested positive, so we had her tested multiple times, including a PCR. She tested positive with multiple rapid tests and the PCR.

For me, I have no idea how I got it. I got it after a week’s worth of antibiotics, which I blame for reducing my immune system, allowing me to get covid. But no idea who gave it to me or when.

I was about to get a booster, but from what I read, two shots + covid provides a high level of protection. No booster for me now.

(Bacon is better) #9

Give it a month or two, then get the booster. Right now, it would be a waste.

(Bob M) #10

I’ve been listening to This Week in Virology, and some (all?) of them are against the booster. They think there’s too much reliance on antibody levels, which are only one part of the immune system. They think b cells, t cells, all kinds of stuff (all of which I’m unfamiliar with) would still be ready to fight off an infection.

I’ll probably get a booster, but it’ll be interesting to see how my antibody levels change over time. I give blood about every 2 months (6 times a year if I can), so I’ll be able to track the levels.

(Ronnie) #11

Good call.


Dose local raw honey. The bees harvest the pollen and dosing the honey helps alleviate the hay fever. Honey is OK for carnivores, as it is animal-based nutrition. It is also not a food. It is medicine in this context.


honey is not ok for carnivores…it is not animal. it is pure azz sugar LOL

I know some use it, one can’t tell others what to eat and control all stuff people put in their mouths, wee…but I wouldn’t touch it with a 39 1/2 ft pole.

but ya know I am a hardcore addict so I am not letting that kinda sweet into my carnivore life. It took great effort to get off all sugar, I wouldn’t allow that back for me personally.


Honey is plant sugar. With some animal assistance.
It doesn’t matter to me though, it’s pure enough sugar for my body to reject it in bigger amounts (like a whole teaspoon), at least alone. I am pretty good at eating sugar under certain circumstances but I have my limits.

But it never ever ever ever helped when I was sick.

So it’s easy for me.

But if it’s medicine for someone, that’s different, of course.


yea me too. I tried SO MANY DAMN ol’ folklore remedies when ‘I got into natural herbal’ short stint in life about how ‘to fix it all’ with herbal and other plant supps and more and found nothing ever worked for me the way ‘others claimed’ it worked for them LOL

I feel ya on that :wink:

but I also know when one is ‘sicker and ickier’ with medical issues and massive weight and ‘trying to diet’ and improve health and more, people drop some of this and that from their food intake, ADD a ‘supp or natural remedy’ from the good ol’ days and feel better and yet they give all the credit to that remedy vs. the fact they dropped crap food…but in the end, we can’t do for all, or guess about all and we all walk in our own time thru our own journey of discovery and knoweldge about our bodies so…so many gray areas in it all for each of us.

(Robin) #16

Glad you found some relief. Thanks, bees!

(Bob M) #17

Honey seems to do fairly well for upper respiratory tract infections:

Another one:

Honey might not be “carnivore”, but it might have benefits regardless.

(Bob M) #18

I saw Manuka honey at Costco, but when I went back to get some, it was gone:

(Joey) #19

This sums up my experience, too. Prescriptive vs descriptive? Who knows.

[Just a thought: if both a cold and a fever are the body’s response to viral infection, why would different treatments produce different results? :thinking:]


For hayfever as noted above by @FrankoBear to @Fangs , it has to be locally grown honey not honey from Hawaii or so I have read. Not a big hayfever sufferer so no clue if it works

As for the question, here is a link to a very old post Getting colds more often While on Keto. I spent the first year on Keto getting a ton of colds and other weird aliments that I usually do not get. I finally decided it was fasting as I sometimes would get weird symptoms a few days into the fast. I also started taking Liposomal C and that seemed to help. With Covid I stopped any fast over 36 hours as I feel that it did make more vulnerable to viruses. I think there was a study posted awhile ago by one of the Keto Dudes that fasting was helpful for bacterial infections but not viruses but I have not done any research and it was a number of years ago

Here are some links Continue extended fast? Sinus and ear infections