Adult Picky Eaters UK

For Picky-Eating Adults in the UK and worldwide

Ramblings on Terminology August 11, 2007

I’m not exactly fond of the term “picky eating”.  The word “picky” is a bit too close in meaning to the word “choosy”.  And I don’t know about you, but there’s very little about my eating that would constitute choice.  “Picky” seems to be the American version of what I was always labelled as: a “fussy eater”.  But “fussy eating” doesn’t seem quite right either, even if we all know what it means.  I mean, I never made a fuss about not eating stuff. I just quietly refused.  I would only cry if people would be mean to me about it.  And even then, I didn’t want to make a fuss, I just wanted the ground to open up and swallow me.

So what other options are there?  Well, there is “food neophobia” – being phobic of new foods.  In a sense this is quite good, although I’d query the phobia aspect in what I would think of as the true sense:  I don’t feel afraid of fruits and vegetables.  I don’t start shaking, sweating, or feeling sick at the sight of them.  My heart doesn’t start racing, my breathing doesn’t get rapid and shallow.  I can have fruit and veg on my plate quite happily as long as I’m not expected to eat them.  I can even eat a dish that’s had them picked out of.  I can imagine them quite happily too, the idea of them really doesn’t bother me.  I just have a big problem with putting them in my mouth, with having them in my mouth, with chewing or swallowing them.  Maybe some of you feel differently.

The one I like the best is Selective Eating Disorder (SED).  Granted, it still has a connotation that choice is somehow involved, but it’s better than “picky”, it’s more formal, more adult, more official-seeming, and somehow feels less judgemental.

What do other people think?

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5 Responses to “Ramblings on Terminology”

  1. Rosemarie Says:

    How about Limited Eating Disorder (LED)? Not quite right I know but removes the suggestion of choice.

  2. Laura Says:

    I really like Rosemarie’s suggestion of Limited Eating Disorder, after all this isn’t a choice for us.

  3. Marla Lopez Says:

    I think “SID” Sensory Integrative Dysfunction” seems to fit the best, and not conotate any sense of “choice” in this matter. I’m a 48 year old, HEALTHY mother of 2 teen boys. Both my 16 yr old and my self have SID….and eat VERY few foods. Mainly french fries, chips & MILK. It’s truly been a nightmare, especially socially….and for anyone to state that it is a choice in ANY WAY is rediculous. Certainly, I undertstand why they might state that, as we don’t even understand ourselves. But, it is truly wonderful to meet this group…and I’d love to see a CONVENTION someday….again, there are several levels of this condition….and we are at the extreme end, for sure!

  4. Claire Says:

    Hi Marla
    I think I’d need to have some neurological evidence to support a label of SID.
    I see your problem with the term “selective eating disorder”, but I think the “disorder” part of the label does kind of undermine the connotation of choice somewhat.

  5. Marianne Says:

    I’m sure there is some neurolgy behind it. For many, their “disfunctions” are phisiological, and their bodies may phisicaly react to what they think about foods. I just don’t think it has been studied much.

    I like the word “sensory”, becasue its not just about taste, but smell and texture too.

    I like “Limited”, but that implies that its not possible to change, and I have hope that with some kind of therapy, it can!


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