Loss of appetite 
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What can you do if you suffer from loss of appetite?

patient with appetite loss
You've lost your appetite? That's a common side effect.

Loss of appetite is one of the most common challenges of cancer and cancer treatment. Usually, it seems to be affected by the cancer itself but also by physical side effects like fatigue, pain or medication, mental side effects like stress, depression or anxiety as well as side effects of the chosen treatment like  vomiting, nausea, or changes in how you perceive the taste and smell of food.

It may be a problem for a few days but it also may persist throughout the whole treatment. The longer it lasts, the higher the risk of developing malnutrition.

What to do depends on the reason for your loss of appetite. This makes it important to identify what triggers it.

Here are 9 hints to help you outsmart your aversions:

  1. Keep snacks you like nearby in case of a sudden impulse to eat something tasty.
  2. If you feel that you won’t eat enough throughout the day, add extra protein and calories to the meals you will eat. For example, use high-fat milk and nut butter.
  3. Always eat and drink caloric beverages whenever you feel hungry, even at night.
  4. Have small snacks, such as nuts, crackers and cookies, placed out wherever you spend a lot of time.
  5. Eat things that are quick to make, such as frozen meals.
  6. Remember to drink enough liquids and choose liquids with extra calories and other nutrients instead of pure water, but also:
  7. Reduce the amount of liquid you drink while eating to avoid fullness from the liquids instead of the food.
  8. Change the texture of your meals by switching to smoothies or soft or frozen foods to change the impression food makes to you.
  9. Sometimes it helps to eat casually while doing something else. Visiting with company, for example, reading or watching TV can serve as welcome diversions.

In any case:
Consult your doctor or dietician/nutritionist if you worry about your caloric intake through loss of appetite. They may come up with some ideas for your diet or additional suggestions like exercises to improve your appetite.