Why Does Meat Taste Bad To Me Suddenly

7 Reasons Meat Suddenly Tastes Bad (Quick Read)

Our taste buds constantly change – sometimes as a result of a disease, but this phenomenon is often explained simply by growing older. 

Because of that, certain foods and beverages that we used to love might not be as appealing anymore.

One of the most common foods people complain about not tasting as good as it used to for them is meat. There are various reasons why this might be the case.

But what does it mean when it happens all of a sudden?

  • As with any food and beverage, there are various reasons why meat might start tasting off to you, even if you’re an avid meat lover. 
  • For example, you may suffer from an infection, be taking a new medication, or simply have a bad batch of meat.
  • When meat starts to taste bad to you all of a sudden, it doesn’t mean it will stay this way forever. 
  • Once you identify the cause, you can take certain measures to make meat taste great for you again.

So, read on to find out what may be causing your issue.

7 Reasons Why Meat Might Suddenly Taste Bad to You

1. Infection

The simplest explanation as to why meat might suddenly taste off to you is an infection, from viruses to bacteria.

The most common symptoms of a regular infection include a stuffed and runny nose, headache, fever, and sore throat. All of these symptoms can make all types of foods taste different to you, and this includes meat.

When your throat is sore, and your nose is stuffed, you don’t experience flavors the same way you normally do. So, meat might not taste good to you anymore.

Luckily, infections are treatable. If you start taking medication (or simply wait it out if it’s a common cold), you should be able to enjoy meat again relatively soon.

In some cases, though, you might need antibiotics if the infection doesn’t clear on its own. So, if you feel bad for a prolonged period of time, you might want to consult your doctor.

2. Pregnancy

Another reason why meat might taste bad to you is pregnancy. When pregnant, your taste buds and preferences change. This can be due to hormone levels, but it’s also very random and individual.

For example, some women report not enjoying meat anymore, but other women don’t like foods like bananas, tomatoes, or even oatmeal.

In addition, pregnancy causes a rise in gonadotropin (also known as hCG) – a hormone that’s responsible for the growth of the baby. This hormone causes changes in food preferences, food aversions, and nausea.

All of these issues can affect which foods you can tolerate and which you might want to give up for the next several months. 

What’s more, pregnancy increases your sensitivity to smells and flavors. So, more pungent meats like red meat and similar might be off-putting to you when you’re pregnant.

Fortunately, this usually passes once you give birth, so it’s rarely permanent.

3. Disease

Sometimes, your sudden dislike of meat might be because of a disease. 

For instance, one of the most common symptoms of COVID-19 is loss of sense of taste and smell. When that happens, you might experience that you either don’t taste any foods, or they taste horrible to you.

Whether you will get your sense of taste and smell back is very individual. Some people feel completely normal after a few weeks, but not everyone gets their senses back. So, it all depends on you personally.

What’s more, there are certain genetic conditions that can reveal themselves later in life, causing your sudden aversion to meat. 

Some of the most common diseases that affect the way you taste foods are autoimmune conditions. These include Sjögren’s syndrome and systemic lupus erythematosus.

You may also suffer from complications caused by an infection. Sometimes these complications can lead to a loss of smell and taste. That’s why it’s always important to keep track of your health to avoid any complications.

Another medical issue might be nerve damage. This destroys your taste buds, which changes how foods taste to you. 

Most of these conditions can be treated. But if you’ve already suffered from nerve damage or similar, it might be impossible to get your taste back. To be sure, make sure to contact your doctor, especially if you’re concerned.

4. Medication

Some types of medication affect how you taste foods and beverages. For instance, certain pain relievers, blood pressure medications, central nervous system stimulants, and more can negatively affect how you perceive flavors.

These medications do this by directly impacting your taste receptors, affecting nerve impulses, or changing the chemical composition of your saliva.

What’s more, these medications can change how your food tastes, especially if they’re not in pill forms. For instance, medicine that’s chewable or liquid might linger on your tongue, further impacting how you taste foods like meat.

In most cases, this issue is resolved on its own, but sometimes the only way to get your taste back to normal is to stop taking the specific medication, which isn’t always possible.

If the prescription medication you take negatively impacts how you taste meat, talk to your doctor about some alternatives. Luckily, in most cases, there are some pills you can take instead that don’t affect your taste buds.

5. New type of meat

Sometimes the reason why meat has suddenly started tasting bad to you is straightforward: You simply ate a bad portion of meat.

Generally, when meat is rotten, it smells really bad. But it’s not always as obvious. These days, a lot of meat types contain antibiotics, preservatives, and even added water. All of these influence how the finished product tastes.

So, if you normally buy meat from a certain brand but have recently switched to a new one, this might be the reason for the change in flavor.

For instance, meat, particularly poultry, with added water tends to have a less distinctive taste and can be much harder to chew. On the other hand, meat types containing antibiotics or preservatives might be rubbery.

So, keep that in mind when shopping for meat.

6. Taste aversion

Taste aversion, particularly conditioned taste aversion (CTA), occurs when your body develops an association between certain foods and an illness. For instance, if you’ve eaten a certain type of meat while you had the flu, your body might link it with feeling bad.

You may also experience taste aversion to meat if you’ve gotten sick after eating it. For instance, if you ate some rotten meat by accident and got stomach flu, your body will instinctively try to keep you away from this meat type to avoid getting sick again.

In some cases, taste aversion can resolve on its own, but it might take some time. Depending on the severity of the aversion, it might take up to a couple of months.

In rare cases, taste aversion might not disappear. If that’s the case, you can talk to your doctor about alternative forms of treatment. 

7. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies

If meat tastes strange to you all of a sudden, you might suffer from deficiencies of certain vitamins and minerals. 

For instance, people with zinc deficiencies are much more prone to loss of taste, which can either make foods taste off or not taste at all. A deficiency of various B vitamins can lead to a similar problem.

This is most commonly a problem for people not following a varied diet. So, if you do eat a mix of whole grains, veggies, fruits, and healthy fats, this shouldn’t be a reason for your sudden dislike of meat.

But if you’re not sure, it’s best to consult your doctor.

Can meat start tasting good to me again?

Depending on the reason why meat started tasting bad to you, this issue might be fixable or not.

For instance, if your dislike of meat was due to an infection, treating it should reverse this and make you taste meat as you used to. 

The same goes for pregnancy – once you give birth, meat should return to tasting normal.

On the other hand, if meat has started tasting bad to you as a result of infection complications, serious disease, or nerve damage, this might be an irreversible issue.

If that’s the case, you can try consulting your doctor, as there might be a treatment plan available for you.

After all, every case is different, so before you assume the worst, talk to a health professional.


There are various reasons why meat might start tasting off to you all of a sudden. You could be dealing with the aftermath of an infection, experiencing nerve damage, or simply consuming a bad batch of meat,

So, before you jump to any conclusion, think about any recent health issues you’ve had or if you’ve made any dietary changes.

Talk to your doctor if your taste aversion to meat doesn’t disappear. Together, you might be able to identify the cause of this sudden change.

Sources: PMC, National Library of Medicine, Science Direct, and Research Gate