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A Taste of Honey

Doc_Hawk's picture
Posts: 685
Joined: Jan 2012

Has anyone else had a change in their taste buds since starting chemo? I've found that I can no longer even tolerate the smallest amount of peppers. Even a little bit of black pepper makes food inedible anymore. I've had other people taste foods that I thought were too peppery and they couldn't taste any at all. Other foods that I used to enjoy seem to not have any flavor at all. I just tried to eat a tin of sardines and they tasted like cardboard. Other foods seem to taste even better than before, usually fruits. I'd really like to hear others feedback to see if they've noticed a change in taste.

steveandnat's picture
Posts: 887
Joined: Sep 2011

Yea certain foods taste different now. Sometimes depending. When my last treatment was will make a difference in my tastes. Since started chromosomal do better with veggies and fruits. Breakfast doesn't taste as good as before. I'm like you with food with any heat is hard to eat. Crazy cancer what you have done to us!!! Jeff

JayhawkDan's picture
Posts: 206
Joined: Apr 2012

but I can't really pin point it. I've always been a "pepper freak," really liking the stuff and that hasn't waned. But it seems to change. Some things, like naked burritos from Qdoba, which I used to love, sounds horrible. But, in general I like Mexican food. My taste buds seem to be a moving target, depending on the day. My reaction to chemo seems to be somewhat different each time too, which mirrors my taste bud changes. I dunno -- just like I feel about much of this damn journey.

Annabelle41415's picture
Posts: 6722
Joined: Feb 2009

Salt was something that my tastebuds couldn't recognize and it seemed like my food had really no flavor at all. One craving that seemed so intense was watermelon and cantalope. We always had both in the refrigerator and although it was a favorite before treatment, it seemed like it was such a strong craving during treatment. Seems like a lot of things change and the doctors neglect to tell you all of them. You're not alone and it will get better.


Posts: 835
Joined: Apr 2004

I too have become intermittently less tolerant of spice- especially chilli. I put it down to a mild mucositis from chemo (I have never had clinical mouth symptoms and don't use mouthwashed like I should but just assume this is a mild form of that).

The nice stuff is the really fresh flavours and fruity flavours including fruit flavoured sweets. I will often buy some on way home from chemo as takes away the bitter taste I have after avastin and previously on oxaliplatin.

Taste for booze waxes and wanes too- used to never have to be tempted into wine but now can quite often leave it unless I'm on a chemo break. Wife always moaned at me I shouldn't wash down my morphine with wine anyway!


abrub's picture
Posts: 2178
Joined: Mar 2010

I had the same thing during chemo, but after completing chemo, my taste buds returned to normal. My most noticeable effect was the pepper effect - anything with the slightest bit of black pepper was too spicy, and inedible. This from a woman who enjoys her spicy food! Everything had to be bland for months.


Posts: 93
Joined: Nov 2011

My husband cannot tolerate any pepper (always loved it pre chemo). I use a lot of cracked pepper when cooking, hard habit to break, I hope he gets his taste back. I'm not complaining but sometimes cooking is very difficult, I want him to eat but his taste buds change almost daily. Something that was good yesterday may not be tolerable today.

abrub's picture
Posts: 2178
Joined: Mar 2010

the way we liked again, because I was having problems with tastes. However, at least for me, everything returned to "normal" shortly after stopping chemo, much to David's relief (and mine!)

Doc_Hawk's picture
Posts: 685
Joined: Jan 2012

Thank you all for sharing your experiences. From what you've said, I'm thinking that this might be related to capsaisan . I can still eat mustards and horse radish, if I couldn't still enjoy wasabi I think I'd probably cry! Like others, I used to enjoy chiles and peppers, even used to do shots of tequila with jalapenos.

Posts: 158
Joined: Jan 2012

I used to live on coffee in the mornings and when I started chemo I could not tolerate the taste of coffee and had to give it up. I have been off of chemo now for three weeks and had a cup yesterday and it wasn't too bad.

As for hot and spicy, pre-cancer I could not tolerate hot and spicy but now the hotter and spicier the better! I hope this one stays because I am really enjoying it!

But you knows, this is an ever changing journey!

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