Health Information

Appetite Loss and Taste Changes

  • Appetite / Taste Changes and Chemotherapy

    Treatment for cancer, as well as the cancer itself, can affect your sense of taste or smell. You may find that many foods seem to have less taste. Other foods, especially meat or other high-protein foods, may taste bitter or metallic.

  • Nutritional Management of Loss of Appetite During Cancer Treatment

    Nausea, vomiting, or changes in food’s taste or smell all may contribute to a person's losing his or her appetite. Sometimes, the cancer treatment itself will make you feel like not eating.

  • Appetite Stimulation

    To help stimulate your appetite, eat small meals five to six times a day. Drink juice or milkshakes between meals. Eat in pleasant surroundings in the company of friends or family.

  • Enteral Feeding

    Nutritional supplements are available to provide protein, vitamins, and other nutrients your body needs for energy. If you can’t take these supplements by mouth, special tubes can be placed that allow you to receive the necessary nutrients without eating or drinking.

  • Parenteral Feeding

    If you can’t tolerate food by mouth, or your bowel needs to rest, you may be given nutrition by vein. This special nutrition solution can be given into an implanted port, a tunneled catheter, or any other long-term catheter placed in a large vein.

  • Taste Changes

    To help manage changes in taste, avoid foods and odors you find unpleasant. Brush your teeth before and after meals to keep your mouth clean.

  • Nutritional Management of Taste Alterations During Cancer Treatment

    Try these ideas: Serve food chilled rather than hot. Try tart foods that contain oranges or lemons. These may have more taste. A tart lemon custard might taste good and will also provide needed protein and calories.