Effects of a Keto Diet When You Have a Cold

Photo by Yu Hosoi on Unsplash

In the month of February this year when the world was not fully aware of the forthcoming pandemic, I had a common cold. My diabetic condition delayed the recovery to 14 days. I had to endure 7 full days of continuous painful coughing. There was no shortness of breath though, phew! Only positive thing that happened is getting a sick note for those 7 days from my Doctor in Berlin. I was resting when the virus allowed me to rest, mostly for 15 to 30 minutes. Since the day I recovered, I have been glued to my television, watching scary news from all around the world. Every day I refresh JHU statistic pages, to see if the world has recovered. One thing is clear, there is no hope until we get that vaccine in all our bloodstreams.

So when coronavirus started flipping coins in the lives of humans, I made a firm decision. If I want my ‘heads’, I can not live with Diabetes consuming metformin on a daily basis. With a compromised immune system weak enough to lose against a common cold, staying on corona’s hit-list was not an option for me. So I decided to reverse my diabetic condition. Through Low Carb High Fat diet otherwise known as Ketogenic diet.

I started a Ketogenic diet a month back cutting my daily carbohydrate intake to a mere 20 grams per day. Imagine how hard this could be for a south Indian guy, who eats Rice cakes for breakfast, Rice for lunch and Rice pancakes for supper

On the first day my brain was completely fogged, I could not write a single line of code for my pet project (A reason why I chose a weekend to do this). I was so tired and ill-tempered. For 2 days I was fighting extreme cravings for carbs and brain fog. And then something wonderful happened, for the next 2 days my fasting blood sugar level was close to 90 mg/dL. I bought a Ketone test kit which works on urine samples. On the fifth day I tested my ketone levels and was amazed to see I was already on Nutritional Ketosis. The next few days I have been extremely productive at work and I started doing regular workouts during the morning, before breakfast. The workout part is something I could never do under the captivity of Diabetes.

My first ketone test strip :)

For more than 3 weeks, my ketone levels were precisely in the range of nutritional ketosis, and my blood sugar levels dropped to the levels of a non diabetic.

So I was waiting with a spear and an armor this time to defend my body against any virus. At least I wanted to give a decent fight before giving up. In the month of July we decided to send our kid to the kindergarten which opened for the first time after the outbreak. The single most dangerous thing to do during these times is sending your kid to the school or kindergarten. Kids can not control themselves from touching their mouth or nose, well can you? So they will bring home the virus sooner than you thought. And you never know if you have a common cold, a flu or the novel coronavirus.

Being infected is one thing, but the fear of not knowing what you are infected with is quite another. It is horror.

So when my daughter infected me with this unknown virus, I knew it right away. It was on a Tuesday when I felt a burning feeling in my nose. However I decided to continue my Keto diet for that day. Eggs and greek yogurt for breakfast, chicken steak and mayo for lunch, avocado for supper with some macadamia nuts for snacks. The next day I had an itching sensation in my soft palate followed by a sore throat on the third day.

My ketone levels for these three sick days were extremely low than my usual nutritional ketosis level.

I understood that my ketones are doing what they are meant to do (In the right place at the right time baby). On the fourth day when I woke up from bed, I felt a huge relief in my throat and my nasal passages were clear. I was no longer feeling tired. I did my regular exercise which I paused for 2 days and I could even do a 30 minutes of resistance training too.

My experience with Keto during sick days was already stated in a research by the Yale school of medicine.


“They showed that mice fed a ketogenic diet and infected with the influenza virus had a higher survival rate than mice on a high-carb normal diet. Specifically, the researchers found that the ketogenic diet triggered the release of gamma delta T cells, immune system cells that produce mucus in the cell linings of the lung — while the high-carbohydrate diet did not.”

I hope this is not just a lucky incident which happened to me. If I repeat this magic I will definitely keep you posted. Until then, remember this my friends,

Hominins who left the woodlands and adapted a new habitat, walked upright and ruled the earth. When nature pushes a species to its brink, the evolving group survives.

Do you want to know the truth about Type 2 Diabetes? Read this story…




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Richy Great

Richy Great

Father, Software Architect and a Story teller

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