Why Do You Get Cold After You Eat? (4 Possible Health Issues)

Though many factors contribute to drops in body temperature, the main reason for this phenomenon lies in dietary choices and—in the most extreme cases—medical conditions that influence metabolism and circulation. Even in these more serious situations, getting treatment early can help to decrease the frequency of these shivers and prevent you from developing any other conditions.

Have you ever been overtaken by a sudden chill after finishing a meal? Though it may seem like a cause for concern at first, it can be a very normal reaction that often goes unnoticed.

If you have any lingering anxiety about this decrease in body temperature, don’t worry! We’ll go through the possible reasons for this change and at which point you should visit a medical professional.

A stagnant diet

Depending on the types of foods you eat, you may unintentionally make it difficult for your body to stay warm.

Carbohydrates, for example, can have two different effects depending on the amount you’re consuming; complex carbohydrates like rice can take more time for your stomach to digest, effectively keeping your body temperature lower.

Eating very few carbs, on the other hand, can deprive your body of the energy and heat it needs to function.

Below is a list that outlines some other possible—and completely normal—reasons for post-meal chills:

  • Consuming a lot of alcohol can cause your body to dehydrate and grow cooler.
  • Low iron levels can lead to sweating and chills.
  • Blood pressure—both low and high—can decrease body temperature.
  • Eating cold foods, ice cream being a prime example, can make your body feel colder.
  • Raw fruits and vegetables, being 80-95% water, can cool your body considerably.
  • Anything spicy, like peppers, can cause your body to sweat and cool down.

Though certainly not ideal, getting the chills for any of these reasons is no cause for alarm.

Your health is in no real danger, and you can try some tips and tricks at home to improve your body temperature without taking a visit to the doctor’s office.

Possible solutions that can regulate your body temperature

For some of the items on the list, the answer sticks out clearly. With low iron levels, for example, you can make improvements to your diet by including more spinach and fish.

If you happen to be a fan of spicy foods or a frequent consumer of fruits, though, you can try your hand at these other methods to balance out the cold.

GingerCaloriesFluids
Eating ginger slices before dinner can help digestion and blood circulationHigh-calorie snacks can increase your body temperatureKeep a cup of hot tea or water with you while eating for warmth
Mix ginger with lime and salt to help digestive enzymes and improve their strengthDuring your meals, avoid overeating since it can influence digestionThroughout the day, keep your body hydrated with water and other fluids

Symptoms of severe illness

Though most cases of body chilling aren’t serious, if it’s occurring frequently and bringing pains and sweats along with it, it may be a sign to seek further medical assistance.

Here are some red flags to be on the lookout for:

These reactions can be indicators of a heart attack, so talk to your doctor immediately if you’re experiencing them.

4 serious health issues behind getting cold after eating

1. Hypothyroidism

A young woman is clenching her throat in pain after eating. She's been feeling cold every time after she eats.

As the name implies, hypothyroidism is a condition that happens when the thyroid is underactive. Since the thyroid is responsible for producing hormones, this condition can slow down a person’s metabolism considerably.

Your body will be far more sensitive to changes in temperature, so you might often find yourself affected by high heat and cold weather.

Aside from the typical chills after a meal, here are some other symptoms of hypothyroidism to keep an eye on:

  • Depression
  • Weight gain
  • Low amounts of energy
  • Brittle hair and nails
  • Hair loss
  • Cold hands and feet

Fortunately, hypothyroidism is treatable; if it’s ignored or goes unnoticed for an extended period, however, the symptoms can worsen. After a blood test, your doctor can diagnose and prescribe medication to help with the treatment process.

2. Diabetes

Since diabetics are greatly influenced by their diets and often have reactions to meals, experiencing post-dinner chills can be one such symptom.

If diabetes isn’t treated as soon as possible, those affected can develop diabetic nephropathy, a type of kidney damage. People with diabetic nephropathy tend to feel cold nearly all the time.

For those with circulatory issues and the aforementioned low body temperatures, there are special socks that diabetics can purchase to maintain some extra warmth and stay comfortable.

3. Anorexia

According to 2015 research, those with anorexia typically have a lower-than-average body fat percentage along with poor circulation.

This, in turn, can lead to coldness. In addition, because their bodies aren’t consuming enough calories to function properly, they will often struggle to find any warmth.

Other anorexia symptoms are:

  • Fatigue/exhaustion
  • Dehydration
  • Dizziness
  • Constipation
  • Experiencing anxiety or guilt over food
  • Missing meals frequently for a period of 3 months

4. Anemia

Those with anemia don’t have enough red blood cells to ensure that the tissues in their bodies get the right amount of oxygen.

Because of the lack of oxygen, those with anemia are cold very often. When left untreated, the health consequences can be immense—even leading to organ damage.

Some additional symptoms are:

  • Fatigue/exhaustion
  • Finding yourself out of breath
  • A higher heart rate
  • Dizziness

How to deal with it these symptoms

Adding some new foods to your diet or diversifying your dinner plate can help in many cases. You can also try some of the homemade remedies listed on the table previously to warm up your body after a meal.

It’s only when these post-meal chills become too frequent or lead to other noticeable symptoms—as listed in the categories for anorexia and anemia above—that you should seek medical attention. 

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Is it normal to feel cold after eating?

No, it is not normal. It doesn’t happen to everyone but to some people. And that is usually due to the stagnant diet you are following or because of some health problems.

Low iron levels, high or low blood pressure, alcohol usage, spicy food, and raw fruits and vegetables can be the reason behind coldness after eating. 

What causes cold chills after eating?

Often, chills are a result of dietary choices. For example, having too few carbs—or consuming complex carbs that take longer to digest—can explain a lower body temperature.

Also, if you have low iron levels, you can feel chillier after meals. It’s only in rare cases that these chills are a cause for concern; if you’re having other symptoms that match with any in the lists above, or if you’re experiencing chest pains, you could have another medical condition that requires further treatment.

Could it be diabetes?

Yes. Since people with diabetes are greatly affected by their diets, experiencing chills after meals can result from diabetes.

Because those with diabetes often have irregular metabolic processes, many feel numbness in their fingers and toes after eating, and they may also shake and sweat.

If this sounds familiar to you, it would be best to talk to a medical professional immediately. When left untreated, diabetes can have other consequences on your health.

Conclusion

In the end, the likelihood of your lower body temperature alluding to a greater health issue is very small. Even so, if you find yourself meeting any of the symptoms listed above or feel as if you experience these post-meal chills too frequently, see a medical professional, or for mild issues, you can follow the health tricks as we have mentioned in the table.