Masking Bitterness in Food

Ask the Nutritionist

Q: My mother has pancreatic cancer. She says that everything, even water, tastes bitter. She is losing weight. Do you have any suggestions?

Jane, Boston, Massachusetts

A: People going through treatment may face challenges that can impede their ability to eat well and keep their weight up. It can be a frustrating experience for everyone involved.

Taste changes can be different for every patient. Here are some strategies to address the lack of appetite during treatment.

These tips may especially be helpful to your mother:

To hide strange or metallic tastes:

  • Rinse your mouth with tea, ginger ale, salted water, or water with baking soda before eating to help clear your taste buds.
  • Chew on lemon drops, mints, or gum to help get rid of bad or off-tastes that linger after eating.
  • Cold dishes that contain meat may taste more appealing than hot meals with this ingredient.

    Here is some information on gaining weight during treatment that may help.

    • Email
    • Print
    • Share
    • Text
    Highlight Glossary Terms
    • Ask the Nutritionist

      • Do you have questions about making healthy food choices during and after cancer treatment? Our team of nutrition experts can help. Submit your question through our Ask the Nutritionist form.
      • To create a customized plan, please schedule an appointment with a Dana-Farber nutritionist by calling 617-632-3006.
    • Nutrition Services

    • Free Nutrition App