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Can Sugar Worsen a Cold?

by
author image Vanessa Newman
Based in Colorado Springs, Vanessa Newman writes for "Women's Edition" magazine and has been published in "Rocky Mountain Sports," "IDEA" magazine and "The Teaching Professor." She has been writing professionally for over 10 years and holds a master's degree in sports medicine. She has written online courses for companies such as Anheuser-Busch and Chevron, but prefers creative writing.
Can Sugar Worsen a Cold?
Sugar is not advised during a cold, but it probably won't worsen it. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

When someone once said "feed a cold and starve a fever," he probably did not mean to eat sugar ... or did he? A cold and its symptoms are a real nuisance and sugar can be a pick-me-up, but you need to know at what cost. An individual consumes about 155 pounds of sugar in a year's time. This excess could be the cause of epidemics like obesity and diabetes, so eating sugar on a regular basis has repercussions.

Sugar Consumption

Humans are not able to turn sugar into vitamin C as other animals can. According to Jim Howenstine, M.D., glucose and ascorbic acid compete with one another. So a diet high in sugar means lower levels of vitamin C. Overall, the immune system is weakened by this scenario. Keeping sugar consumption to a minimum might be a way to avoid colds.

Cold Symptoms

With a common cold, you might have congestion, a runny nose, coughing, tiredness, body aches, watery or red eyes, a sore throat, sneezing and a decreased appetite. Usually, a cold does not include fever, vomiting or diarrhea unless the cold has turned into something else due to a suppressed immune system. People with diabetes can have highly variable insulin levels from a simple cold, and eating lots of sugar could worsen the situation.

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What to Eat for a Cold

You definitely do not want to stop eating when you have a cold. It is just that with a stuffy nose and possible sore throat, soups and lighter meals might be better. Chicken soup is a common folk remedy, but "The New York Times" health guide online says the salt, warmth and fluid replenishment are probably the key factors in its appeal. Keep your fluids up with warm or hot beverages. Some recommendations for avoiding a cold to begin with consuming white button mushrooms, salmon, and yogurt, according to "Fitness" magazine.

What Not to Eat for a Cold

Cold beverages might not be as soothing as warm ones, but that may depend on whether you have a sore throat. Dairy products and ice cream are not no-no's according to Mayo Clinic. They actually do not produce more mucus. Although tempting, sugary drinks or foods may prevent the immune system from doing its job to rid the body of infection. Yet, avoiding sugar is best done before a cold strikes. During the cold, there seems to be disagreement among experts as to whether having it will do you any harm. The general consensus is that it will neither improve nor make matters worse.

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