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How to Deal with Food Neophobia in Adults

written by: moniquesam • edited by: Jacqueline Chinappi • updated: 4/12/2011

Adult food neophobia can be severely detrimental to health. The fear of trying new foods can cause many nutritional deficiencies and affect a person's social life negatively.

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    About Food Neophobia in Adults

    At one time or another in our lives we have all turned up our noses at a particular food. Some of us may not like broccoli, some may not like onions, or some may not like fish. But no matter how picky we may become about certain foods most of us do not restrict the kinds of foods to the point that we are not getting the proper nutrition that we need.

    Some of you may know what neophobia is, it is the fear of trying new things. There are many different types of things that people fear or refuse to try for some reason or another. Food neophobia is an eating disorder in which an individual has a fear of trying new foods. When you think of people who may be affected the most by this order you may think of your five year old who refuses week after week to eat the peas on his plate. But the truth is that many adults suffer from food neophoibia.

    They may have had food neophoibia since they were children and carried it into adulthood or they may have developed it later in life. No one really knows what causes adult food neophobia but there are many theories about it. As a child a person may have had a bad experience with a particular food, such as a family member choking and dying after eating chicken or having an allergic reaction to peanut butter. An individual may be afraid to eat the food for fear that it may harm them in some way or they may not like it. They may also choose to avoid certain foods because they view them as disgusting, may dislike the way they smell or may have a parent who suffers from food neophobia.

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    Dealing with Food Neophobia in Adults

    Adult food neophobia can actually be very crippling to many adults. They may try to avoid social situations where food may be consumed because they do not want others to know about their condition. They may not be eating enough and may be lacking the proper vitamins or nutrients because they may restrict themselves to one kind or only a few kinds of foods.

    Even though the exact cause of food neophobia is not known there are ways for you to get help and overcome your fear of trying new foods. The first thing you should do is admit that you have a problem and tell a loved one about it. You should not try to hide it, having a good family support group will help you to deal with this disorder. You also want to see a cognitive therapist or cognitive behavior therapist, this individual will help you by allowing you to see that the way you think about food is distorted. Slowly they will help you to see the food that you fear the way it really is and over time your fear will diminish allowing you to taste and experience various kinds of foods.



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