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Selective Eaters: A new eating disorder?

July 21, 2010 by  
Filed under Eating Disorders

Are you a picky eater, or should I say “selective eater?”

The American Psychiatric Association has coined the new term selective eater and they await a final decision from the DSMMD as to whether of not selective eating will become an official eating disorder.

They say picky and fussy eaters are not just being difficult to please, they may be suffering from an eating disorder like anorexia or bulimia.  Selective eating may not be associated with serious health risks but the risk of nutritional deficiencies that lead to heart and bone problems remain.

Earlier children were the only ones labeled picky. However new research has shown that there is a substantial population of adults who come under this banner. Some blame textures and smell for this behavior that is seen as a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder by psychologists.

Researchers at Duke University and the University of Pittsburgh have now started the first national public registry of picky eating, which will allow people to log in and report on their unusual eating preferences and habits. This exercise will give an insight into the disorder they feel. One trend that they have noted in these early stages is that most of these eaters shun bland foods like plain pasta or cheese pizza but like junk foods like chips and chicken fingers….hmmm, that is kind of odd, no?



12 Responses to “Selective Eaters: A new eating disorder?”
  1. annonymous says:

    Isn’t the correct term- not selective eater, but EDNOS. (Eating Disorder not Otherwise Specified?) I believe this is correct

    • Simone says:

      EDNOS is an umbrella term. As psychology progresses, one hopes that we will gain a better understanding of many of the conditions currently classified as EDNOS, enough that we should be able to “otherwise specify” those conditions. Framing “selective eating” as its own disorder seems like an attempt to do just that.

  2. annonymous says:

    I looked it up and what is open for debate that should be covered is referred to as the term Ednos- NOT selective eating. I asked my psychiatrist who is one of the top specialists in ED in the united states who is actually on the panel for revising the 5th division of the DSM section of Ed’s.

  3. .C. says:

    Wrong, Anonymous. EDNOS stands for Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified, and so while you could lump any disorder pertaining to food under here, generally this means something similar to or a combination of Anorexia/Bulimia/Binge Eating Disorder. What they are debating here is not what kind of eating disorder it is, but whether it is an eating disorder at all.


  4. anonymous says:

    Once again, My psychiatrist has been selected to be on the panel to change the critera as it stands right now for all Eating disorders- including anorexia. One being that if a patient still menstruates at 85% below their ideal body weight without hormone therapy, that they do not qualify for the diagnosis of anorexia which in her professional medical expertise and renknowned all over the world with her research is bullshit, because it is irrelevant to the psychological and other medical consequences/behaviors anorexic patients experience.

    I am well aware of what EDNOS Specifies and that it is an umbrella term. I can’t explain it as well as she can, but what she is saying and explained to me is that all kinds of disordered eating- be it selective/picky eating, chewing and spitting, and symptoms of anorexic and bulimic behavior that occur at less of a frequency than a few months or certain # of times a week, along with other crazy specifications like if a patient’s weight is normal, fall under the EDNOS category at present. For example, a person with EDNOS behavior accroding to the DSM right now could starve/restrict themselves five days a week, binge and purge the other two, but if their weight is normal, it’s neither anorexia or bulimia, but EDNOS, according to the manual.

    What her and the rest of the panel are trying to do is – I don’t know if redfine/revamp is the right word, but try to make the Category of EDNOS less umbrella/broad like so that more people with eating disordered behavior who may not be clinically anorexic and bulimic can get help, because they often have the same problems with screwy labs and health issues. So I understand what you are saying about people making an argument about “selective eating” it’s own disorder independant of the ones that already exsist, but right now, the only place you could put it is under the EDNOS category. I am just relaying what she told me- and I probably am not explaining it as well as she did because I don’t know the clinical lingo. But I know she knows a lot more about this than the general public.

  5. annonymous says:

    I know. We’ll see what happens. My dr. doesn’t think it will pass period as any type of an ED we shall see. Personally, I am not sure that it should. I think “picky eater” could identify like more than 1/2 the population and calling it a true eating disorder is excessive. And to be honest- I know plenty of people who love chips and chicken fingers and have aversions to things like cheese and hate vegetables. My brother won’t touch veggies or fruit or salad- likes only certain kinds of meats, hates eggs, etc. His labs are fine. Trust me- he DOES NOT have an ED

    I was reading more articles on this today- I think it’s more common in children than in adults which is normal. I did read about extreme cases in older adults with picky eating, but I honestly feel these cases are more issues as said above- related to Phobias/OCD. I don’t feel it’s a true ED and should not fall under it. They don’t have the same traits that Ed sufferer’s do like fear of getting fat, weight, calories, #’s, excessive exercise. And while eating junk or not enough variety every day is not healthy, I don’t think picky eating quite nearly causes as serious physical ramifactations that obesesity/Anorexia/Bulimia or a combonation of any of the three together can. I am all for getting help for serious disorders, but in recent years- the trend of calling every freaking little thing a disorder has gotten a tad out of control and over-kill. Next thing you know, there will be Facebook Addiction in the DSM. Just my two cents….

  6. Shinobu says:

    It seems kind of stupid. Being a picky eater only means that you don’t want to eat things you don’t like, which is completely different from being scared of food or saying you don’t like something as a way to get out of eating.

  7. Bonez says:

    Go to Stamp out Fat on FB People become PICKEY eaters because their parents were LAZY!In stead of saying NO KID we don’t eat MAC&Cheese or bennie weeneeies every night!Here is what the rest of the family is having if you don’t want it go get ready for bed!in stead of doing that they just say screw it and give in.I can assure you HUNGER will override PICKYNESS…..oh I’m sorry I ment SELECTIVE EATING DISORDER. GMAFB

  8. This is really funny review. i can’t believe this. that’s a great joking.

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