What should I eat if food tastes bitter during cancer treatment?

Changes in taste and smell can occur after using certain drugs or undergoing cancer treatment and can affect nutritional health and negatively impact quality of life. These tips can help if food tastes bitter:
  • Marinate meat, chicken, or fish in sweet fruit juices, sweet wines, Italian dressing, or sweet and sour sauce.
  • If red meat is too bitter, try poultry, fish, dairy products, eggs, or nut butters.
  • Add extra sugar to decrease bitterness.
  • Try sweet protein foods like ice cream, milkshakes, puddings, and nutritional supplements to meet your nutritional needs.
Certain foods may taste bitter during chemotherapy for cancer. It is best to avoid very sweet, salty, fatty or fried foods. During treatment, you may find that cool foods have less bothersome tastes or odors than warm or hot ones.

In general, choose foods that look and smell good to you. Tart foods like oranges and lemonade sometimes taste good, but it is best to avoid them if your throat or mouth are sore. Additionally, if solid foods are difficult to tolerate, see if you can incorporate liquid meal replacements or protein drinks.

Continue Learning about Living With Cancer

Recovering From Cancer Weight Loss
Recovering From Cancer Weight Loss
Many people with cancer experience weight loss, which can be a result of both having cancer and some of the therapies used to treat cancer. Unexplaine...
Read More
How should I adjust my diet and exercise habits after a cancer diagnosis?
Discuss any changes in diet or an exercise plan with a member of your healthcare team before you sta...
More Answers
How do patients deal with their emotions after cancer treatment?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
It is common to experience stress, depression, and anxiety during and after cancer treatment. Many p...
More Answers
What Alternative Therapies Can I Use to Manage My Cancer Pain?
What Alternative Therapies Can I Use to Manage My Cancer Pain?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.