I'm Feeling Cold While on a Diet

A low-calorie diet can be one cause of an increased sensation of coldness, but hormonal irregularities, nutritional deficiencies and certain medical conditions may also be the cause. Feeling colder than others around you isn't always abnormal, but if you feel like your body temperature is interfering with your quality of life it's worth a visit to your health-care provider. If you do suspect your diet is to blame, ensure your calorie intake is adequate to support your basic needs and that you're getting adequate nutrients.

A woman in a sweater holding a mug. (Image: sarahdoow/iStock/Getty Images)

Too Few Calories

When you skip meals or consume too few calories, you may feel excessively cold. Your body senses that it doesn't have enough energy to keep you warm. Its priorities shift to supporting your organs and brain -- not creating heat to warm the body. Low-fat diets in particular can lead to increased feelings of being cold.

Too Underweight

If you've dieted yourself down to a very lean frame, you may feel cold often. Fat is an insulator. Losing a lot of fat quickly, or having a naturally thin build, makes you more sensitive to the cold. Talk to your doctor about what a healthy weight for you is and whether you've gotten too thin.

Nutritionally Deficient

When you're eating a low-calorie diet, you might be missing out on certain essential nutrients. Registered dietitian Joanna Larson recommends eating a minimum of 1,200 calories per day, even when trying to lose weight. Fewer calories usually makes it impossible to fit in all the vitamins and minerals you need for good health. Larson notes that menstruating women may find that a low-calorie diet makes them low in iron. Iron deficiency can lead to impaired body temperature regulation.

Other Potential Causes

Hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid, can make you susceptible to feeling cold. Hypothyroidism isn't related to dieting, though. You may develop this condition due to genetics, an autoimmune condition or a simple malfunction of your hormonal system. Being fatigued and sleep deprived can also make you feel colder than usual. Raynaud's phenomenon is another possible medical cause to discuss with your doctor. This condition usually acutely affects the fingers and toes, making you have cold hands and feet. Additionally, your reactions to the slightest drops in temperature may be exaggerated. Doctors aren't sure what causes Raynaud's phenomenon, but it is unlikely related to a low-calorie diet.

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