mm tastes like bananas
July 10, 2009 9:40 AM   Subscribe

Why are some foods tasting like bananas to me?

Over the past few months I've noticed that certain foods leave a banana-esque taste in my mouth. The flavor is slight and is a little stronger than an aftertaste, but it definitely tastes like banana when it shouldn't This doesn't coincide with any illnesses, travesties, or other big changes that I can remember. Aside from this, everything else tastes fine. My sense of smell is as acute as ever. Affected foods are generally (but not exclusively) baked goods and ones that I made: chocolate chip cookies, bakestones/welsh cakes, pancakes, even cinnamon bread. The ingredients these all have in common are self-rising flour, granulated sugar and eggs, and I do not keep bananas or anything banana flavored in the house. I thought it must be something I was doing, even though nobody else who ate the things I made could taste anything remotely banana-like; however, I just finished a Cadbury Caramel milkshake from McDonald's and it, too, had that same funny banana-y flavor.

So does anyone have any ideas on what might be causing this or how I could stop it? I'm not sure if it's just me or if it's the food but I would like to enjoy pancakes again.
posted by Polychrome to Food & Drink (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Isoamyl acetate is a highly volatile substance that might have gotten in to your kitchen somehow. The milkshake seems to be a bit of problem to that theory. You might have gotten a new toy, towel, or cleaning product that has Isoamyl Acetate in it and it permeated a bunch of the foods in your kitchen.

When brewing beer, sometimes certain yeast strains create Isoamyl Acetate as a byproduct of fermentation. Perhaps there is a colony of something growing in your house that puts off the esters that you've been tasting.

Your strong sense of smell and taste might just be the thing enabling you to taste this when other people can't.
posted by JimmyJames at 9:53 AM on July 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

I'm with JimmyJames on this one, although I would still recommend talking to your doctor. He might think you're nuts, but have him do a few tests to be sure. Changes in taste can point to problems in areas unrelated to your mouth, such as hormonal changes or some other underlying medical cause you may not be aware of.
posted by neewom at 12:31 PM on July 10, 2009

Not to be alarming, but changes to one's sense of taste or smell can be one of the early signs of a brain tumor. Here for example is a similar question posted by a guy to whom everything tastes salty. I would definitely check with your doctor.
posted by kindall at 12:53 PM on July 10, 2009

I think jimmyjames is right about a "colony of yeast" being responsible, but it's probably a colony of yeast growing in your mouth.

You can get rid of it by gargling with nystatin, or by systemic treatment with something like diflucan, or you can try various herbal antifungals.

All forms of diabetes make yeast overgrowth more likely, so I urge you to go to the doctor to eliminate that possibility.
posted by jamjam at 1:59 PM on July 10, 2009

My girlfriend had an oral yeast infection and said that (almost) everything tasted like bananas. She had small white bumps near the back of her throat but no other symptoms. Doctor prescribed syrup to gargle with and it cleared up in a few days.
posted by thehmmhmm at 5:52 PM on July 10, 2009

Response by poster: This is all really helpful, thank you. I just had some Special K with bonus banana flavor, so a visit to the doctor seems to be in order.
posted by Polychrome at 10:46 PM on July 10, 2009

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