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.
In addition, here are some recipes from our Health Library that integrate some of the tips associated with taste changes:
Here is some information on gaining weight during treatment that may help.