21 Food Phobias You Didn’t Know About

Food Phobias You Didn't Know About

So we all have our own particular likes and dislikes when it comes to food, and some of these can fall into the ‘I’m crazy about’ or ‘I hate’ categories. Some people are just picky eaters with a range of foods they don’t particularly care for. Others have allergies and steer clear of certain foods.  But would you believe that there are quite some people out there who are terrified of certain foods or scared by sensations associated with them? It’s totally true! Sufferers are hit with acute anxiety, dread and panic when faced with the source of their fear. Food phobias are very real, and if extreme, can be life-limiting.  They could prevent people from trying new restaurants, attending family get-togethers and even going to food markets.  In extreme cases, food phobias can even impact health, causing restricted diets that lack essential nutrients. 

What are these phobias you ask? My question exactly, and then like always, I promptly set out to quench my thirst for knowledge of all-things-food-related by doing a bit of research. To my surprise, the internet threw up quite a few food-related phobias, some of which are quite weird. So, for all you trivia buffs out there, here they are:

1. Cibophobia (cy-bo-foh-bee-a) – the general fear of or aversion to eating food.

It typically falls into patterns. For example, some people are afraid of highly perishable foods such as mayonnaise, others fear underdone meat or items that are nearing their expiration dates. Yet others are afraid to cook or refuse to eat food cooked by others. These people could be averse to one specific food or many foods at a time, and will go to extreme measures to avoid the food they fear. 

2. Mageirocophobia (may-gae-ro-co-foh-bee-a) – the fear of cooking.

Good excuse, you think. But this fear is very real. These folks are terrified of cooking a meal for themselves or others, perhaps because they think they are awful cooks or they are intimidated with kitchen equipment, or they get all confused while cooking. Whatever the reason, it’s home delivery or take-out for the likes of them. 

fear of cooking

3. Mycophobia (my-co-foh-bee-a) – the fear of fungi or mushrooms.

The deathly fear of mould getting into the house, or accidentally touching some dark musty mould, or the thought of getting poisoned by mushrooms, is enough to get some people very, very anxious indeed.   They could suffer from shortness of breath, blurriness of vision and a rapid pulse. Get them away from their fear as soon as possible!

4. Arachibutyrophobia (ara-ki-bu-tir-o-foh-bee-a) – the fear of peanut butter sticking to your palate.

Yes, you read it right. And no eye rolls please. Some people totally avoid eating peanut butter because they are scared of peanut butter sticking to the roof of their mouth! I can’t help wondering if they feel the same way about stickjaw. Or, maybe there’s another word for that!

5. Lachanophobia (la-kan-no-foh-bee-a) – the fear of vegetables.

If just the sight of veggies turns your next-door neighbour into an ugly shade of green from intense nausea or they just cannot bear to swallow a piece of carrot or potato without the fear of choking, the poor things could be suffering from lachanophobia. Can you imagine a diet with no vegetables? I certainly cannot. 


6. Fructophobia (fruct-o-foh-bee-a) – the fear of fruit.

Much like those who are afraid of vegetables, the folks with fructophobia are mortally scared of the sight and touch of fruits, so eating them is a whole next level of anxiety.  They stay far away from fruit jams and jellies, fruity drinks, desserts with fruit and even fruit candies. They also get sick watching others consume fruits! 

7. Alliumphobia (al-li-um-foh-bee-a) – the fear of alliums.

Those who suffer from alliumphobia may have major panic attacks if they see, smell or come in contact with garlic, onions and other members of the allium family like scallions, chives, leeks and shallots.  

8. Acerophobia (aser-o-foh-bee-a)– the fear of sourness.

So I can understand not liking the sour sensation in one’s mouth, but fearing it? That’s really strange. Apparently, someone experiencing acerophobia may find the mere thought of sourness incredibly anxiety provoking, let alone if they actually had to consume something sour, in which case they could have a full blown attack. It is supposedly quite a rare phobia.

9. Thermophobia (ther-mo-foh-bee-a) – the fear of hot things.

This means no hot coffee, tea, soups, food right off the stove, straight out of the microwave or oven, no hot chocolate – absolutely nothing hot! People who have this fear are utterly paranoid about the fact that it will burn their mouths. 

fear of coffee

10. Turophobia (too-ro-foh-bee-a) – the fear of cheese. 

Curiouser and curiouser, can there be such a thing as the fear of cheese? Apparently, yes. Some people of so fearful of trying even the slightest piece of cheese lest it be rotten or mouldy. Even the sight and smell of cheese get them so sick.

11. Ichthyophobia (ik-theo-foh-bee-a) – the disproportionate fear of fish. 

This could be acultural phenomenon, and encompasses the fear of eating fish, touching raw fish, or fear of dead fish. Just seeing fish gives people with this fear the acute creepy crawlies. No aquarium trips for these folk. 

12. Methyphobia (methi-foh-bee-a) – the fear of alcohol.

Yup, there’s those who dread alcohol too, folks. Why? How? It doesn’t matter.  They just fear the worst when it comes to consuming any kind of alcohol or being with someone drinking it. One of the common fears is the effects that alcohol might have such as violence and abuse.

fear of alcohol

13. Brumotactillophobia (broo-mo-tack-till-oh-foh-bee-ya)– the fear of food touching.

This phobia is believed to be a mild form of an obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). People cannot handle different foods touching each other on a plate. No gravy on mashed potatoes, no curry on rice, and definitely no sandwiches or burgers! They’d probably like to enjoy the flavours separately and feel that the plate looks cleaner that way.

14. Neophobia (neo-foh-bee-a) – the fear of new foods.

For some people, encountering new foods may cause intense anxiety and panic. 

15. Ostraconophobia (ostro-con-o-foh-bee a) – the fear of shellfish. 

While one would think shellfish allergy is scary, these people say that their fear is far, far worse.

16. Deipnophobia (dee-ip-no-foh-bee-a) – the fear of dining with others.

Arguably a form of social anxiety, these folk cannot bear to eat in company or have to converse with others while eating, so they perpetually sit alone while dining.  The thought of others joining them makes them desperately stressed.

17. Xocolatophobia (sho-co-lat-o-foh-bee-a)– the fear of chocolate.

Now isn’t this almost unbelievable? Who in the world could be petrified of chocolate? And how could this fear have possibly taken root? I’m sure there must be sound reasons for a rare breed of humans to fear chocolate, and an even rarer pool who are afraid of anything cocoa. My heart goes out to them – imagine a life without chocolate!

Food Phobias You Didn't Know About

18. Consecotaleophobia (con-sec-o-tal -oh-foh-bee-a) – the fear of chopsticks.

Using chopsticks can be challenging at the best of times, but for some people the embarrassment may turn into irrational fears and cause extreme anxiety.

19. Alektorophobia (alek-to-ro-foh-bee-a) – the fear of chicken.

This rare condition is characterized by an intense fear of all things chicken – the sight, sound, smell, touch and most of all in food.  Sufferers of alektorophobia get debilitated by serious symptoms of anxiety that accompany exposure to chicken. 

fear of chicken

20. Emetophobia (em-et-o-foh-bee-a) – the fear of vomiting.

This can cause wildly restricted eating patterns. People suffering from this affliction worry that a particular food is undercooked or spoiled, or fear that they will get a tummy upset. They are too scared to eat out, lest they get sick. 

21. Carnophobia (car-no-foh-bee-a) – the fear of meat in general. 

As with vegetables, fish, fruit etc,these people avoid meat like the plague. Just the sight of meat or the thought of meat gives them all the symptoms of anxiety like sweating, breathlessness, dizziness etc. Never, never serve them meat!

That’s as far as I got, folks. Can you find more?

Evidently there are many people who suffer from these phobias for the phobias to be named. And having any kind of phobia is no fun at all. So, if you come across anybody with these acute fears, act quickly and take them away from their own personal kryptonite quickly. And get them medical help as soon as possible.

Stay safe, folks!

All Photo Credits: Shutterstock

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