Send to

Choose Destination
Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2017 Nov 22;57(17):3684-3689. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2016.1160208.

Taste loss in the elderly: Possible implications for dietary habits.

Author information

a Department of Medicine-DIMED , Geriatrics Division, University of Padova , Padova , Italy.


Aging may coincide with a declining gustatory function that can affect dietary intake and ultimately have negative health consequences. Taste loss is caused by physiological changes and worsened by events often associated with aging, such as polypharmacy and chronic disease. The most pronounced increase in elderly people's detection threshold has been observed for sour and bitter tastes, but their perception of salty, sweet, and umami tastes also seems to decline with age. It has often been suggested that elderly people who lose their sense of taste may eat less food or choose stronger flavors, but the literature has revealed a more complicated picture: taste loss does not appear to make elderly people prefer stronger flavors, but nutrition surveys have pointed to a greater consumption of sweet and salty foods. Real-life eating habits thus seem to be more influenced by other, social and psychological factors. Elderly gustatory function is worth investigating to identify dietary strategies that can prevent the consequences of unhealthy eating habits in the elderly. This paper discusses age-related changes in taste perception, focusing on their consequences on food preferences, and pointing to some strategies for preserving appropriate dietary habits in elderly people.


Taste loss; dietary habits; elderly; food preferences

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Taylor & Francis
Loading ...
Support Center