Here, I've compiled some articles that I've come across over the years that made me feel like less of a weirdo, basically. There is a real, science-based approach to adult selective eaters, and we have now been recognized as having an actual eating disorder. I always felt different and ashamed, and while I met people over the years who claimed to be picky eaters, these articles really shed some light on how many other people there are, dealing with what I am. There are plenty of nay-sayers out there who like to say, "Just grow up and eat it!" but as you will see in some of these articles, it's not that simple.
Eating Disorders Go Untreated as Experts Debate Definitions
Anorexia and bulimia are probably the most familiar types of eating disorders, but they are not the most common. Some 50 to 60 percent of patients don't quite make the cut to be diagnosed with full-blown anorexia or bulimia, and are instead classified as having an eating disorder "not otherwise specified" (EDNOS).
But this group is so vast, and the cases within it so diverse, that many in the field believe it creates more problems than it does solutions in terms of treating patients and understanding the syndromes.
Adult Picky Eaters Now Recognized as Having a Disorder
"People who are picky aren't doing this just to be stubborn," said eating researcher Nancy Zucker of Duke University, explaining that extremely picky eaters experience food differently than the rest of us.
Zucker, who is also the director of the Duke Center for Eating Disorders, first became interested in selective eating, because adult picky eaters were walking in, looking for help. Their eating behavior was getting in the way of their job or social life, or they were worried about being bad role models for their kids, she said.
How to Handle Kids' Picky Eating
Why do kids become picky eaters?
One second, they are putting anything and everything into their mouths. The next, they are turning their noses up at even their most previously cherished snacks. Where did this pint-sized food snob come from?
Neophobia – Extremely Picky Eating
Many American children will only eat some foods like pizza, french fries, pancakes, and grilled cheese sandwiches. For a small group of adults, the preference continues and is called neophobia or Selective Eating Disorder.
Many American children will only eat a select group of food items. Pizza, pasta, French fries, pancakes, grilled cheese sandwiches – these bland foods are so popular that some children will eat little else. Most children who are picky eaters graduate from this restricted diet and learn to eat all types of food. For a small group of adults, the preference for the bland comfort foods of childhood never disappears.
Is Picky Eating an Eating Disorder? Living With Selective Eating Disorder and No Vegetables
My whole life, I was called a picky eater, but I was always assured that I would grow out of it. My parents had both been “picky” (according to my grandparents), but like most children, they had grown out of it. By their early teens, they ate like normal, well-adjusted people. As a kid, I believed that eventually, that would happen for me too.
Until it just didn’t.
I Infiltrated the Online Community of Adult Picky Eaters
The online community of PEAs—adult picky eaters who only consume a handful of bland foods—is incredibly active but secretive.
In 2011, Anderson Cooper made a difficult admission about his personal life on his talk show. It was unexpected and candid, catching many of his viewers off guard when he opened up a conversation with his audience about their own lifestyles. Anderson Cooper came out as an adult picky eater or Picky Eating Adult, as the phrase is often cutely acronymed "PEA" online.
Anderson Cooper Admits He's a Picky Eater
On his new show Anderson he has staged an intervention on himself, the ultimate picky eater. How picky? He eats the same exact lunch every single day. He won't eat vegetables. He picks the green things out of his food. He thinks drizzling honey over peanut butter is "weird." He "doesn't get the point" of couscous when there's already rice. Texture scares him.
Hear Anderson Cooper talk about his selective eating disorder.