Today we are featuring a blog post written by Maple Tree Dietitian, Allison Dunaway. Enjoy!


Cancer treatment, especially chemotherapy and radiation can change the way some foods taste.    Approximately, 50% of patients receiving chemotherapy or radiation of head /neck report some degree of taste dysfunction.  Chemotherapy and radiation affects cells that rapidly divide, and this can include taste buds which has an average turnover rate of only ten days.  Fortunately, in most cases, taste changes can return to normal around 3-4 weeks after treatment.


Common taste change experiences include: foods now tasting metallic, bland, bitter, or too sweet.


General Strategies for Taste Changes


  • Rinse your mouth before and after eating with a baking soda rinse. Swish in mouth, but do not swallow. Simple Recipe:  1 teaspoon baking soda + ¾ teaspoon salt + 4 cups water


  • If foods taste metallic, try adding a little sweetness and a few drops of lemon.


  • If you do not have mouth sores, try adding tart flavors (like lemon, lime, vinegar, pickled foods) to add flavor and stimulate taste buds. A few drops of lemon juice can also help if a food tastes too salty or too sweet.


  • Herbs and spices are great flavor enhancers. Marinades and rubs are great ways to incorporate flavor into food.


  • If your taste is more sensitive, try bland foods, such as cooked cereal, toast, rice, and potatoes.


  • Try foods that are different than ones you typically consumed. Many times, taste changes can open the door to eating new foods.




As always, be sure to communicate with your health care team about what you are experiencing.



Allison Dunaway RDN