Chemosensory function, food preferences and appetite in human liver disease

Rhonda Oetting Deems, Mark I. Friedman, Lawrence S. Friedman, Santiago J. Munoz, Willis C. Maddrey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


We evaluated chemosensory function, food preferences, and appetite in 88 patients with liver disease including those with hepatitis, cirrhosis, primary biliary cirrhosis, and sclerosing cholangitis. Reported chemosensory disturbances were common in the patients with liver disease: over 40% reported recent taste changes, and 27% reported recent changes in smell, compared to only 6% of healthy, age- and gender-matched controls with no history of marked chemosensory malfunction. Compared to controls, a greater proportion of liver patients reported food cravings (47 vs. 17%) and food aversions (33 vs. 16%). Foods with a predominantly bitter taste were specifically less preferred in patients with liver disease compared to healthy controls. Patients were also more likely to report poor to fair appetite than controls (37 vs. 5%). Groups of patients with different types of liver pathology showed varying patterns of food preferences, suggesting that dietary recommendations to liver patients might be tailored to the altered preferences associated with a particular type of hepatic dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-216
Number of pages8
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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