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Nora Saul, MS, RD, LDN, CDE

Manager, Nutrition Services
Joslin Diabetes Center
Boston, MA

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Body Temperature and Eating

Ask the Expert


Sometimes I have to grab a sweater after eating a meal because I am literally freezing. What causes this?


Our core body temperature stays relatively constant, ranging from about 98 degrees to 100 degrees, depending on the air temperature. The body dissipates heat by sweating and tries to generate heat by shivering. Body part, individual tolerance, length of exposure and intactness of the skin, actual environmental temperature and humidity affect the body's tolerance to heat and cold. In addition, people with neurological problems often have distorted temperature perception. When you have an infection or traumatic injury, your body temperature will rise. Too low a body temperature can occur due to cold exposure, certain types of infections, hypothyroidism and diabetes.

Although I do not have a specific answer to your question, I can hazard a guess. The temperature of the foods themselves affects our feelings of hot and cold. For example, we may feel cold after eating ice cream. During digestion blood is directed away from the muscles and tissues and toward the digestive system. If you were physically active before eating your meal, which generates heat, and then stopped and ate, the combination of heat lost due to digestion and the loss of blood flow to the skin may cause you to feel cold.

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