Maybe you are a foodie and would love to eat a lot of food. You would go reach your fridge at midnight to find what you have to eat. When you hear, smell, or see food, you would crave to taste it. But what if you suddenly start hating your favorite snack of yours? What if you are avoiding the food you loved? It is what you called food aversion. You’ll be surprised of hating them, and the smell, taste, or sight will no longer make you crave them, instead will make you feel sick.
Food aversion is experienced by both children and adults, especially it is most common for pregnant people to experience it. You can find food aversion conditions in children when they refuse to eat a few selected foods, while some will refuse most of the food, and accept only a few foods.
If you are surprised by the illness you have with a specific food, you can learn the causes, how it develops, works, and how you can handle it by reading this.
What is food aversion?
Food aversion is a feeling of getting disgusted by certain food. You will be developing food aversion to any foods, and the condition happens suddenly, leading you to hate the foods you previously enjoyed or the foods you have tasted before.
Food aversions can occur either consciously or unconsciously. Sometimes you will avoid the food unconsciously without realizing the exact reason. The strength of this condition depends on how much food you have consumed and how sick you were. For example, if you get nausea or vomiting, after eating a specific food, even long past the incident, you will be avoiding the food that you eat that caused you sick.
Even though the food didn’t cause that illness, you will not be able to eat it. This is what is called food aversion because you have made up your mind to avoid the food linking it to sickness.
This causes you to reject a particular food as your brain tells the body that it is not fit and not suitable for eating. It will cause the body to react negatively by feeling the sensation of nausea when you smell, see, or hear about the food.
How do you get it?
You are not allergic to the food, but it is your mind that is linking the food with the time you got sick. So more than seeing it as a physical condition, it can be seen as a part of a psychological one.
It can be a sign of a more serious issue like an eating disorder. You need to pay attention to it if your taste aversion is affecting your ability to eat a balanced diet.
What are the causes of food aversion?
Food aversions are caused in children, adults, and pregnant women. This can be due to various reasons.
Usually, taste aversion occurs after you have eaten something that made you sick. The longer the aversion lasts is depended on the intensity of the sickness. But there are certain conditions or illness that triggers nausea or vomiting, making you get food aversion.
Overeating, chemotherapy, motion sickness, pregnancy, drinking too much alcohol, stomach flu, liver failure, and morning sickness are a few conditions that make you hate a specific food. People who suffer from stress and anxiety are more likely to experience a loss of appetite while some overeat. If they suffer severe anxiety, they may lose interest in eating.
Other than it occurs in children and pregnant women.
What causes food aversions in children
Food aversion is more common among children. Kids will be slightly picky about what they want to eat, so it is difficult to find a child who loves green vegetables, more than finding a child who doesn’t like them. But apart from them, there are some kids, who completely avoid a lot of food. It goes beyond the normal choosiness.
This is something that you need to take notice of because it can be a serious problem when kids don’t get the needed nutrients. Eating so little, blue sometimes lead to limiting lives.
This is because some children will smell and taste flavors more intensely than other people. This will distance them from a lot of food. While some kids have anxiety about specific foods. Kids may avoid foods because they don’t like the texture or they are fear of choking.
If your child is suffering from food aversion, you can identify it with a few symptoms. When a child is trying new food, their bodies will react differently when compared to adults.
- The child will display strong emotions when you give them food they don’t like, such as screaming, crying, or throwing a tantrum.
- You will notice them refusing to eat food in the same way they eat other foods. It can be eating very slowly, not chewing it completely, and not completing it fully. Eating meals will take a long time, than the time they take to eat normal food.
- They refuse to eat boots that look, smell, or share the same texture as the food they don’t like.
What causes food aversions in pregnancy?
Some researchers believe that food aversion is developed as a type of protection against substances that can be harmful to a developing baby.
During pregnancy food aversions are completely normal. It often starts during the first trimester and goes away by the second. A pregnant woman will be avoiding food including dairy products, eggs, spicy food, coffee, and foods with a strong smell. You need to pay attention to it if you are unable to eat during the second trimester.
The exact cause of food aversion during pregnancy is unknown, but there are several factors that contribute to it.
The changes in hormones play a role in the aversion to food during pregnancy. During the first trimester, the level of estrogen and human chorionic gonadotropin increases. With the rise of these hormones, pregnant women will experience nausea and vomiting. And this makes them avoid certain foods.
During pregnancy, they will have heightened senses, and the smells and tastes will be strong. This increased sensitivity will make them avoid the foods.
Most common foods that you avoid eating during pregnancy
There are possibilities for you to have an aversion toward a specific food at a point and then crave the same food later. But the most common aversions occur towards food that has strong smells.
- Spicy foods
- Tea or coffee
How is it diagnosed?
There is no need for a medical diagnosis to find an aversion toward food, especially if it is a mild case where you experience a strong dislike of a few foods, that do not interfere with the ability to eat a well-balanced diet.
It can be a bit more challenging among children and adults due to the unknown cases. In such cases, you will be asked to provide a complete medical history along with a physical test to rule out any conditions that include taste aversion as a symptom.
In pregnant women, the healthcare providers will diagnose food aversion after ordering a blood test or urine test for the human chorionic gonadotropin hormone.
How to treat the condition?
In some cases, especially for pregnant women who are facing the condition, it is fine to avoid the specific food that causes Taste aversion, as long as it doesn’t replace the nutrients from the food with something that you can eat safely.
But if the food you do not like is vital for your health, you need to work the treat it. If your children are facing this condition, and getting fewer amounts of nutrients, then treating it is important.
Moreover, if you notice a few severe symptoms, like malnutrition, dehydration, unable to lose or gain weight, or facing frequent headaches, then you need to overcome them.
- You can change the texture of the food that you do not like to eat, where for example, if you hate fried meat, then you can try it by grilling. Or if you hate fried eggs, you can try them by preparing an omelet.
- Hide the food you don’t like within the food you normally eat.
- You can increase the exposure to the food you hate slowly. When you slowly increase the taste of the food, you can prevent from feeling sick or disgusted about the food. First, smell the food and then take it in small amounts.
- You can associate the food differently. For example, if you got sick after eating a food that consists of coconut flavor, you can try associating the coconut flavor consciously when you have gone on a vacation, on tropical islands, or when resting on a warm beach. So that it will change the mindset of the flavor you previously had.
- You can work with a therapist to understand why you do not like a certain food.
- You can try it with new recipes. Try another culture’s cuisine, as it can help you to overcome the dislike. Try different restaurants and recipes to find the right application to overcome the dislike.
How to treat the condition in children?
You can implement a few strategies to change the mindset of your child to like food.
- You can build off textures preferred by your child. Think of making small changes, by altering the flavors, and brands. So this will help to build a bridge to new foods that your child feels comfortable with.
- Cook everything together. So that the food they dislike will also be within the food they like. You don’t have to pressure the kids to explore new foods, instead, they will try them when you cook them together in a fun and relaxed mood.
- Encourage your children to interact with food. Let them take a few steps to spend some time touching the food and getting used to this texture.
- You can alternate crunchy bites of food with soft foods. If they are trying to spit it out, you can give a gentle squeeze on the cheeks to help them the process of sensation the food.
How to treat the condition in pregnant women?
During pregnancy, it is healthy to listen to your body. So that it is fine to avoid the aversions you get and just eat the foods that do crave but in moderation. But if you find aversions in foods that are most important during pregnancy, you need to make sure that you can get those nutrients in other ways.
For example, if you have a food aversion to meat, you can eat other high-protein foods like beans and nuts. Or you can try hiding the food that you do not like to eat in other foods. If you find salad to make you sick, you can try smoothies and include leafy greens.
You might feel to eat cold foods because they do not smell strong. While the foods with a mild taste are easier for the stomach, so you can try eating rice, mashed potatoes, plain noodles, or oatmeal.
Have someone else do the cooking for you because when someone else does it, foods will seem less off-putting.
Usually, taste aversion occurs when you feel like getting nauseous or vomiting after eating a specific food item. The association of the food with sickness leads you to avoid the food completely. Sometimes it will fade over time, but some people will have it for many years after the incident occurred.
It’s all fine until your experience an extreme taste aversion that stops you from getting proper nutrition. So at that time, you need to get the proper treatment or make an appointment with your doctor to get rid of it. If you go to the doctor, they will point you in the right direction with the treatments that can help you to put away the taste aversions.
Other than that, there are simple remedies that you can do yourself at home to get rid of your aversion to food. During pregnancy both foot aversions and craving for foods are common and normal, which occurs in the first trimester, so you do not need to be concerned about them. But if you feel unable to eat most of the foods, it will affect the growth of the baby. In such situations, you need to discuss it with your doctor.
Children to get affected by food aversion, and this sometimes affects them when they do not get the proper nutrition they need for their growth. It is not a great problem if you can replace those foods with other nutritional foods, but if they are going to avoid completely, then you need to do some tricks in order to make them eat.
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