Here is something you probably did not know – we all have at least some degree of a eating disturbance called Neophobia.
This is the fear of trying new foods and a high level is common in children up to six years old and also the elderly.In fact we are all born with it.
In most adults the fear is lessened, but in some it remains at a high level.
There is a specific test used to identify just where each person is on the food neophobic scale, which involves rating the response to a series of 10 questions.
The following are the questions used in this test;
- I am constantly sampling new and different foods
- I don’t trust new foods
- If I don’t know what a food is, I won’t try it
- I like foods from different cultures
- Ethnic food looks too weird to eat
- At dinner parties, I will try new foods
- I am afraid to eat things I have never had before
- I am very particular about the foods I eat
- I will eat almost anything
- I like to try new ethnic restaurants
Besides limiting experiences, those with a high level of food neophobia or avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) are also at risk of being nutritionally deficient, as they will not be consuming a wide variety of foods, and therefore nutrients.
There is a way of overcoming high level neophobia or ARFID.
Dr Byrne said “They can actually learn to like new foods by just trying them over and over again and getting to learn, to like, the taste,” she said.