Feed a Cold, Don’t Starve It

Sometimes sugar causes inflammation. Sometimes it does the opposite.

Do you feed a fever and starve a cold? Or is it the opposite? In the journal Cell today, it showed some dramatic benefits to starving a bacterial illness—but feeding a viral illness. It’s true that the fever distinction is useless. Both bacteria and viruses can give us fevers. And the holistic benefits of a well-balanced diet are tough to overstate. But in cases of infectious disease, the rule that Medzhitov has discovered seems to have merit.

To be more precise, we do not feed or starve the bacteria or viruses themselves, but we may be able to modulate the different types of inflammation that these infections cause.

One day a doctor could give a diagnosis along with a specific dietary recommendation. That could speed recovery and limit the global crisis of antibiotic overuse.

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