Food tastes slightly different to everyone. This is because the taste of food is affected by so many variables. Our taste buds, sense of smell, hunger levels, health (or illness), cravings, and so much more. In this article, we will first look at the most common reasons meat suddenly starts to taste bad to someone then we will look at any possible solutions to the problem.
Dysgeusia & Parosmia
The main components of taste are the feedback your brain receives from your tastebuds and your nose. The reason meat suddenly tastes bad to you will be a result of something impacting one of these feedback mechanisms. Dysgeusia and Parosmia are the medical terms for a distorted sense of taste or smell.
Dysgeusia can refer to any form of taste disorder. If you have it, you may feel that all foods taste either sour, sweet, bitter or metallic. Parosmia is a condition that specifically affects your sense of smell. If you have this the smell receptors in your nose are either not picking up odors properly or not transmitting them to your brain correctly.
The first thing you need to do is work out if it is your nose or your tastebuds that have been compromised. Try eating a piece of meat with your nose covered. If it still tastes bad you can be confident it is your tastebuds that have changed. Make sure you either block your nose before you start cooking or you get someone else to cook the meat for you so you don’t smell the meat at any point.
Covid-19 is know to cause partial and full loss of both taste and smell. There have also been numerous reports of changes in food tastes due to Covid. The symptoms don’t necessarily manifest during the Covid 19 infection and are often reported as symptoms of “long Covid”. Somewhere between 40% to 75% of people with COVID-19 develop parosmia. The strange part is that the average length of time between contracting Covid and developing parosmia is 3 months so many sufferers fail to link the two.
If Covid is responsible for your change in taste there is not much that can be done in way of treatment. In the majority of cases the symptom will disappear on its own eventually. Reports vary with how long this takes, with some peoples tastebuds returning to normal within a month and some cases taking over a year to rectify. There have also been some Covid cases that have lead to thus far permanent changes to the patients taste.
Infections of the Nose, Throat or Tongue
Infections of the nose,gums, mouth, or throat, or tongue such as those caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi, can lead to inflammation and swelling. This inflammation can cause the blood vessels in the area to become constricted, which can restrict blood flow to the taste buds. When the blood flow to the taste buds is reduced, it can cause changes in the sense of taste.
Treatment here will involve treating the underlying condition. This could mean taking antibiotics or just waiting until you recover naturally.
A change in the sense of taste, is a common experience during pregnancy. This is due to the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy, particularly the surges in estrogen and progesterone levels. These hormones can affect the way that taste buds perceive different flavors, leading to changes in the sense of taste. Some women report a metallic taste in their mouths, while others may experience a heightened sensitivity to certain flavors, such as spices or sourness. Dysgeusia can also cause food aversions, where certain foods that were previously enjoyed become unappealing.
Symptoms of dysgeusia during pregnancy typically go away on their own after the first trimester, as hormonal levels start to stabilize. However, in some cases, the symptoms may last throughout the entire pregnancy. While dysgeusia is not a serious condition, it can make eating and enjoying food difficult. It is important for pregnant women to be mindful of their nutrition and to speak to their healthcare provider if they are experiencing difficulty eating or maintaining a healthy diet due to dysgeusia. Some women may need to take vitamin supplements to ensure that they are getting all the necessary nutrients for a healthy pregnancy.
Medications and Chemotherapy
There are many medications that can alter your sense of taste, including antibiotics, diuretics, calcium channel blockers, and blood pressure medications. Some common examples include amoxicillin, metronidazole, and captopril. Additionally, radiation and chemotherapy treatments, particularly those that target head and neck cancers, can also cause changes in taste
If you are experiencing changes in your sense of taste while taking medication, it is important to speak to your healthcare provider to determine if the medication is the cause and if there is an alternative option.
Zinc and vitamin B deficiencies have been linked to a loss of taste. Zinc is an essential mineral that plays a vital role in taste perception, as well as the development and function of the taste buds. A deficiency in zinc can lead to a reduced ability to taste sweet, sour, and salty flavors.
Vitamin B deficiencies, specifically B12 and folate, have also been linked to a loss of taste. Vitamin B12 is necessary for the proper functioning of the nervous system, including the taste buds
Metabolic disorders such as diabetes, hypothyroidism, and kidney disease can cause dysgeusia by disrupting the body’s metabolic processes. Diabetes can damage the nerves that control taste, leading to a loss or change in taste sensation. Hypothyroidism can decrease metabolism which can lead to changes in taste sensation. Kidney disease can build up of waste products in the blood, which can cause a metallic taste in the mouth.
In conclusion, there are a plethora of reasons you might suddenly find meat tastes bad. If you are aware that one of the causes on this list applies to you you have likely found your culprit. Treating the condition involves tracking down the underlying cause of the issue and treating that. If you can’t find a root cause the most effective treatment is likely to be time as you could be recovering from something otherwise asymtomatic.