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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.

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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.