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Old 03-24-2008, 04:27 PM   #1
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I am very interested in the psychology ...

... and/or physiology of extremely picky eaters. Particulary adults.

This interest is prompted by some other threads where posters admit to being picky eaters who won't eat long lists of such and such, won't eat foods that touch, etc.

I've tried to find info online, but I must not be googling properly, since I'm not finding a lot of information.

I'm thinking that the causes of/reasons for being picky eaters are varied and multiple, but I'm wondering if there is a common theme.

If anyone knows stuff about this phenomenon and is willing to share, I'd appreciate it!

Note: I'm not as adventurous as Tony Bourdain or Andrew Zimmerman, but I am not at all a picky eater. My parents never allowed us to be! But there MUST be more to it than strict parenting. Right? I would like to understand more about this.

Lee

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Old 03-24-2008, 04:41 PM   #2
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I think it's just, what you are used to...
what you got from your parents or who ever..
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Old 03-24-2008, 04:44 PM   #3
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Here's an article about the psychology of eating: Psychology Today: Food: The Science of Scrumptious

There's an entire Web site for adult picky eaters: Picky Eating Adults

Interesting.
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Old 03-24-2008, 04:46 PM   #4
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I think it's a fascinating topic, Lee. Most of us eat at least once a day so we all have some kind of relationship with food.

For me, I think it's that I have a vivid imagination. The look of a certain food can set off all sorts of thoughts in my head and make it desirable or repulsive to me. Also the smell. But just the idea of where it came from can also do it for me. And I mean truly repulse me to the point that if I tried to eat it, I would choke. I don't know why but I have always been this way. Really, I'm a person who will order the same thing in a restaurant every single time if I like that dish rather than try something different. Before anybody gets excited, I know I'm missing out on lots of different things. And I have tried to make myself eat things that aren't appealing to me and it doesn't help.

Because of the way I have always been, I told myself I would never make anyone eat anything they didn't want to when I had kids. And I never have. I really believe that it is my job as a mom to prepare a variety of healthy foods and their job to choose what they will eat. I didn't know if that would be a good thing or not but it has worked out OK. Most of my kids will eat anything and all of them will eat a very wide variety of things. One son started out as a very particular eater and even though it worried me, I respected his choices. He just seemed to grow out of it and now at 15, he will eat all sorts of things that I find disgusting.

As a side note, none of my kids has a weight problem, which is statistically unusual. I don't know if this is because they have been allowed to choose their foods and never pressured into eating anything or if it's because I have always been a bad cook or if it's just a lucky stroke of genetics.
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Old 03-24-2008, 04:46 PM   #5
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Having a physiology and psychology educational background, I've never heard of a direct relationship between being a picky eater and what one looks like. It's like saying someone who loves food would be/should be obese. And we know this isn't the case. A person's physiological makeup is partially responsible for the way one looks. Other factors that influence are what and how much we eat, what our physical activities are, state of health, and some other environmental things, just to name a few. I don't believe being a picky eater would guarantee a svelt physique, unless only choosing to eat vegetables and low calorie/fat type foods.

For example, I have a cousin who is the most pickiest of eater I have ever met and he is grossly obese. The list of foods he would eat can probably be counted on fingers and toes. His foods of choice? Pizzas, processed crackers with lots of cheese, chips and dip, fast food take outs, soda (not the diet kind), and KFC. Oh yeah, I forgot, and Hot Pockets. That consists of 95% of his weekly meals. He might occassionly have some Chinese food when he visits his parents.

My belief is that what we eat as adults are heavily conditioned when we were kids. But I also believe that our tastes do/can change as we get older. Our bodies change, our lifestyles change, and all that can effect what we like to eat. I bet most of us on this forum can come up with at least one food item that we either liked or disliked as a kid but now feel completely different as an adult.
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Old 03-24-2008, 04:53 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plumies View Post
Having a physiology and psychology educational background, I've never heard of a direct relationship between being a picky eater and what one looks like.
Where did this come from? I don't see where anyone said something like this in this thread.
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Old 03-24-2008, 04:53 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by cara View Post
I think it's just, what you are used to...
what you got from your parents or who ever..
Yup.

I know people that can't let different foods on their plate touch each other. I used to eat one item at a time until the plate was empty. I would usually eat the thing I least liked first and went on from there. LOL

Some folks just don't like/want certain foods because there didn't experience them as a kid. OR had waay too much of it.
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Old 03-24-2008, 04:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GotGarlic View Post
Here's an article about the psychology of eating: Psychology Today: Food: The Science of Scrumptious

There's an entire Web site for adult picky eaters: Picky Eating Adults

Interesting.
The Psychology Today article is very good! The specifics on bitterness is a perfect example of how people learn to like something but can also be influenced by our taste buds. Some people have more bitter trigger taste buds than others. Heat (spicy heat) is another sensation that we learn to like. Most children cannot tolerate too much spiciness.

Not to get too technical but how our brain is wired for taste have a lot to do with what we like to eat (as well as non-food related items). The article does a good job explaining the theories behind this.
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Old 03-24-2008, 05:00 PM   #9
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Where did this come from? I don't see where anyone said something like this in this thread.
I'm sorry but it's wasn't meant to offend anyone and I'm not sure what you mean by it. I was just stating that during my studies and research days, I don't recall reading or hearing about studies that proved of direct relationship that QSis had asked.

Edit: Oh, I take it back. I do understand now what you mean. I reread and was focusing primarily on picky eater=physical appearance. Sorry about that. I do understand that QSis was asking about why picky eaters are the way they are.
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Old 03-24-2008, 05:02 PM   #10
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Interesting topic..

I used to be an extremely picky eater (those who don't know me would probably say that I still am..) I completely agree that it has to do with your parents and how you were raised. My husband grew up, not having a choice of whether or not he liked green beans, onions, etc.. He either ate it, or went hungry. There is very little that he "won't eat".. My parents on the other hand,couldn't justify letting me go hungry, so they'd replace what I "didn't like" with what I did like. I very much "set my menu" when I was little.. and I think that's crazy.

I also, seemed to only like the foods my mom liked. (She is a VERY picky eater, but would never admit it.) I can't remember her ever trying to feed me something, that she wouldn't eat herself. She NEVER tries new things, so I never tried new things.... until I moved out.

My parents are still amazed at how much my eating habits have changed. Like I said, i'm still a picky eater, but I am MUCH better now that i'm older, and on my own.

I would still have a very very.. very long list of things that I won't eat, or "don't like", but I know i'm absolutely nothing like I used to be. I'm a bit closer to normal now.. lol
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