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Extreme Picky Eating Could Signal an Eating Disorder

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Shows like TLC’s Freaky Eaters and recent news reports of people who have lived for years on only chicken nuggets or pizza strike most people as just, well, weird.  In fact, these people are suffering from a real condition called Selective Eating Disorder, or SED – and it starts when they’re kids, reports The Daily Beast.

Psychiatrists think SED can be a result of a bad experience with foods (such as choking on them as a child), a fear of trying new things or, if accompanied by a diagnosis of OCD or autism, sensitivity to certain smells or textures. Because people with SED don’t outgrow their picky eating habits from childhood, they often stick to eating kiddie staples like PB&J and French fries.

Plus: Moms and Eating Disorders

Psychiatrist Angela Guarda explained to The Daily Beast that she believes this disorder could also be linked to evolutionary history. “It’s possible that we have evolved to prefer high- calorie foods and to avoid bitter foods or sour foods in infancy because it’s protective to do so.”

But because SED is not categorized as a mental health disorder, it can be difficult to get a diagnosis and treatment. The Daily Beast reported on a mom of an eight-year-old with extreme picky eating habits. Doctors waived it off as a phase, but the mom has tried slowly desensitizing her daughter to new foods, by ordering things like plain noodles from different places and slowly adding different spices and flavors. That’s actually the same treatment some doctors are using – with an 87 percent success rate.

Plus: Guide to Picky Eating

Is you kid an extremely picky eater?  Do you think that selective eating is a childish phase or serious condition?

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