Children are typically known as the pickiest eaters, but what happens when this behavior continues into adulthood?
A common occurrence among children is the dislike of vegetables. Unusual foods, like pomegranate or asparagus, aren't what children are used, which make it challenging for them to try new foods. Picky eaters might not always dislike a taste of certain foods, but it can be hard for them to push past appearance. Children may move on from a dislike of a food, but it sometimes may linger into adulthood. Stephanie Lucianovic, author of
Suffering Succotash: A Picky Eaters Quest to Understand Why We Hate The Foods We Hate
, talks about her experience as a picky eater in her book.
“It's a really scary thing to overcome,” she says, “People aren't choosing to dislike food. There's not a lot of empathy for picky eaters.” Broccoli and other vegetables can be common dislikes among adults, not just kids.
Children who are picky eaters can grow into adults with picky eating habits. Adults might stay away from food that they disliked while growing up. Having a traumatic childhood experience while eating could prompt social anxiety even in an adult. Taste buds vary in different people and can affect taste perception. Juyun Lim is an associate professor of food science and technology at Oregon State University whose research has focused on the role of the senses in food preferences.
“Other people may have a heightened sensitivity or even somewhat distorted perception to certain tastes and smells,” said Lim.
Picky eating isn't always an extreme dislike of something. But in some cases, it can become more extreme. For example, some may think that cilantro tastes soapy or that pork smells sweaty or like urine. Others may find textures of foods hard to get past. For example, to some, okra is slimy. Most people really want to change.
Some adults may go to a treatment facility like Duke Center for Eating Disorders because they want to be a better role model for their kids. Experts advise to not push food on adult picky eaters because it can be stressful. Next time you see an adult picky eater, try holding back from harsh comments.
The New York Times