15 Unique Phobias Related to Food

It is generally accepted that phobias mostly appear by a combination of traumatic events and genetic factors. Phobias can be divided into Specific Phobias, Social Phobia, and Agoraphobia. Many specific phobias can be traced back to a specific triggering event, usually a traumatic experience at an early age. It is believed that heredity, genetics, and brain chemistry combine with life-experiences play a major role in the development of phobias. Specific Phobias can also be divided, there are ones related to humans, animals, food, colors, numbers, nature, specific situations, etc.

Phobias aren’t uncommon. In fact, according to Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 19 million Americans experience phobias so severe they impact their lives in a significant way.

In this article, we’ll be discussing 15 unique phobias related to food only.

        1- Cibophobia: Fear of Food

People who suffer from this phobia fear food and drinks in general or some specific food items such as perishable, undercooked food, leftovers, and expiration dates. Also, they might find it difficult to eat in a restaurant or at someone’s house where they got no vision or control over the prepared food. So basically they prefer preparing their own food.

        2- Arachibutyrophobia: The Fear of Peanut Butter Sticking to The Roof of The Mouth

It’s not actually the fear of peanut butter as an object but rather the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth. It can be related to the fear of chocking or just occurs on its own. The severity depends on each individual. Some people can eat small portions while others would try to completely remove it from their diet. This phobia can extend to any food related to peanut like peanut butter ice cream or cookies, peanut sauces, etc.

        3- Alliumphobia: Fear of Garlic

People who suffer from this phobia can’t eat nor smell garlic. Also, they avoid other pungent plants such as onion, chives, and shallots. Moreover, they can’t eat meals that contain garlic; they can’t sit in a place where they can smell garlic as well. So, they prefer eating at home where they make their own food to make sure the food is edible.

        4- Ichthyophobia:  Fear of Fish

It makes phobic people afraid of all types of fish even the smallest harmless ones, both alive and dead. Similarly to Ostraconophobia, those people would avoid swimming or walking on bridges or even going to see the aquariums. Also, they would never eat fish nor touch it nor look at it. They would even avoid sea food restaurants and living near the ocean.

        5- Ostraconophobia: Fear of Shellfish

People who suffer from it can get a great anxiety in the presence of a shellfish or even when someone is eating it near them. This fear involves all types of shellfish such as shrimps, lobsters, crabs, and crayfish. Those under this condition might take major life decisions like living inland and avoiding the ocean and all sea food restaurants just to reduce the chances where they can come across a shellfish.

        6- Deipnophobia: Fear of Dining

It’s the fear of dining with a bunch of people and making conversations at the same time. Maybe you are excited for your next dinner party but those phobic people would prefer to skip it. They usually eat silently alone and if dining with others, they expect them to eat in silence as well. This phobia goes under the category of social phobia. It could be triggered by a previous traumatic event such as an embarrassment at a dinner party or a terrible blind date.

7- Mortuusequusphobia: Fear of Ketchup

Do you love putting ketchup on almost all your food? Probably it’s a terrible idea to do so near a person who suffers from this. It’s the fear of ketchup. They can never taste it nor touch it nor smell it. They just don’t like texture and color; it’s not certainly related to blood or tomatoes. If they’re eating with you, you shouldn’t ask them to pass you the ketchup bottle, and preferably don’t use it at all.

        8- Turophobia: Fear of Cheese

People with this condition can’t eat nor touch cheese. The texture and the smell might give them a panic attack or cold sweat. It can be related to a traumatic memory or lactose intolerance. Melissa North from Kent University explains to Dailymail what’s like to suffer from Turophobia. She says: ‘Going into a supermarket and seeing all the cheeses piled high together makes me panic – I really have to struggle to hold it together. If there’s ever a news item or a documentary on TV that shows cheese, I have to change the channel straight away’. Also, Turophobics may dislike one type of cheese over another, while others hate the whole diary food. In her case, she hates cream cheese the most because of its soft and gooey texture followed by blue cheese.

        9- Mageirocophobia: Fear of Cooking

We can all be nervous while cooking for guests and worried if the food wouldn’t taste delicious or the presentation isn’t as perfect as we want it to be. But when this feeling goes to the extreme to a degree that it becomes one of your daily problems, that’s a phobia. This fear can take different forms. Some people are afraid of cooking for a large group of people while others don’t have the power to even cook bacon or make scrambled eggs. There are many reasons why someone would be Mageirocophobic. Those reasons can split into 2:

  • Fear concerning the cooking process: cutting or burning themselves or fear of cooking techniques that they don’t fully master, fear of the seasoning, presentation concerns, fear of the recipe, etc.
  • Fear concerning the outcomes of the cooking: poising and causing illness, serving inedible food: undercooked or overcooked meals, etc.

        10- Phagophobia: Fear of Swallowing

For most people the action of swallowing is as simple as breathing but in some conditions, that is not the case. It usually occurs because of a horrific event regarding choking or swallowing in an abnormal way or because of another food fear. Those who fear swallowing may find themselves physically unable to do so once they become too anxious. The tension can cause the throat muscles to constrict and feel like a lump in the throat. However, finding a comfort zone to cope this phobia can help with eating, like trying to stay calm and eat with small bites and sips of beverages or water, also using a distracter such as TV and calm music.

        11- Chiclephobia: Fear of Chewing Gum

Those people would get irritated when someone chews gums; they hate chewing gum and its texture and its look and even the sound it makes. It is also mostly related to a terrible event during the childhood with a gum. A great example is Oprah Winfrey. She bans gums from her Harpo Production Studio.  During her interview with People magazine, she said: “I hate chewing gum. It makes me sick just to think about it. When people chew loudly or smack it and pull it out of their mouth, that’s the worst.” She linked her phobia to a memory from her childhood: she didn’t like the way her grandma used to chew gums.

        12-Acerophobia: Fear of Sourness

It’s the fear of sour food. Phobic people would avoid anything sour from lemons, limes, oranges, pickles, sour candies, etc. They also suffer from anxiety and panic attack if they ever eat any sour food. Also, eating outside can be difficult. Some phobic people would take it to the extreme and eat only the food they prepare themselves or even same food every day.

        13- Consecotaleophobia: Fear of Chopsticks

It’s an irrational fear of chopsticks. It can be linked to an event regarding the Asian culture, people, and food. People who suffer from this specific phobia cannot use chopsticks nor stay near them or watch someone use them; otherwise they’d get a panic attack or anxiety like any other phobia. Also, they might avoid any restaurant that serves Asian food. Probably all chopsticks’ Asian countries users would be chopped from their places to go list.

        14- Emetophobia: Fear of Vomiting

People who suffer from this phobia would do anything to avoid vomiting. This includes the fear of seeing vomit, doing the action of vomiting or watching someone doing it either in public or private places. It’s common for those people to be underweight. To escape the situation, phobic people would do anything from starving or staying in pain or running away if it’s related to another being. Factors vary from case to case such as a traumatic experience with vomiting or childhood abuse. Moreover, Dr. Angela L. Davidson et al. conducted an experiment where it was concluded through various surveys that people suffering from Emetophobia are more likely to have an internal locus of control pertaining to their everyday life as well as health-related matters. (Wikipedia – Emetophobia).

        15- Food neophobia: Fear of New Food

It is a mix of both Neophobia and Cibophobia. It is more common in children than adults. Trying new food for some people seems like an exciting experience while for some others it’s terrifying; therefore they feel safe consuming just the regular food that they’ve always had.

To conclude, if you’ve got any of these phobias or symptoms such as shortness of breath, dizziness, nausea, accelerated heart rate, anxiety, depression, panic attacks, cold sweat, sudden fear and chest pain or if you feel that it has a severe impact on your daily life, please try to seek help.

Wikipedia – Emetophobia. At: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emetophobia#cite_note-Davidson2008-2
Anxiety and Depression Association of America. “Facts & Statistics.” ADAA. At: https://adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics
Rush, James. “She Must Brie Terrified: Student Reveals Chronic Cheese Phobia so Bad She Cries When She Passes Supermarket Counter.” Daily Mail Online, Associated Newspapers, 25 Mar. 2014, www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2588714/You-Brie-terrified-Student-reveals-chronic-cheese-phobia-bad-cries-passes-supermarket-counter.html.
Davidson, Angela L., Christopher Boyle, and Fraser Lauchlan. “Scared to Lose Control? General and Health Locus of Control in Females with a Phobia of Vomiting.” Journal of Clinical Psychology 64.1 (2008): 30-9.
Tribute. “stranger phobias of the stars.” Tribute Entertainment Media Group. At: https://www.tribute.ca/news/photo-galleries/strange-phobias-of-the-stars/oprah-winfrey-chiclephobia/

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