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Selective eaters

Por MyDiet™ -
Selective eaters

It is not easy for people to recognize that their habit of eating a limited variety of foods can be problematic and unhealthy.

Experts agree that this manner of limited food selection may be a sign of a disorder known as Selective Eating Syndrome. This is a defined as a condition in which a person eats less than 10 types of foods within a minimum period of 2 years. 

According to the American Society for Nutrition, if a person meets this criteria, further investigation is need to identify the issues, motives, and reasons why a person would limit their diet so drastically. 

Many selective eaters have had difficulties in incorporating new foods into their diets from an early age.

Analyzing each case gives very different and individualized results; however, in all of the cases there is a common scrupulous selection of foods. In general, this is linked to a lack of motivation to try new foods.

Although this behavior is much more common in small children, the behavior can persist well into one’s teenage years. It can cause anxiety in the child because he/she may feel forced by parents or his/her surrounding environment to eat a variety of foods, which may make the problem with food even more serious.

To prevent this syndrome from persisting into adulthood, parents should keep in mind that the natural food selectivity period is short-lived. It's usually most prevalent in children between the ages of 2 and 6 years and is usually outgrown. A good way for alleviating the problem is to present new dishes in a creative way by experimenting with different flavors and colors.

If, according to the parents, selectivity begins to have an impact on a child’s health and well-being, a physician should be consulted. Eating a variety of foods provides children with the nutritional value they need for growing.

Many adults hide their food selectivity behind the saying "I eat to live, not live to eat."  These eaters not only restrict their diet to one type of food, they also limit the types of food preparation. Boiling and grilling tend to be the most common.

Although an adult is no longer growing and physically developing, limiting the types of foods they eat will still have an impact on their health. In addition, researchers point out that this also impacts basic emotional and social aspects of their lives, since the selective eater tends to reject foods when they are invited out, or during work lunches. It also limits the variety of food they prepare for others, which can lead to feelings of criticism and isolation.

Eating is a highly social activity, and a person who only eats 2 or 3 types of food is often seen as "strange," "snobbish," or even "rude" if politely offered food is not accepted. Variety is the key to a healthy diet. This basic nutrition concept should be introduced and encouraged at an early age. 


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