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Eating by Texture

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 29 Apr 2019 | comments*Discuss
Eating Texture Food Taste Disordered

Eating by texture can be a type of disordered eating. Individuals who engage in eating by texture make their food choices based on how food feels in their mouths rather than by its nutritional value or even by its taste. However, eating by texture may also indicate other conditions so those who notice loved ones rejecting or accepting food based on texture should investigate why this is so.

Eating By Texture and Disordered Eating

Eating by texture is a common type of disordered eating. When it is not indicative of another condition, eating by texture means that an individual has decided to sort his or her food choices by the way that foods feels rather than by how it tastes or if it is required for a balanced diet. For example, some disordered eaters may choose only foods that require chewing with the thought that this action may burn extra calories.

Other disordered eaters may choose only foods that “squish” in their mouths because they prefer that feeling to foods that “crunch.” While there is nothing inherently wrong with enjoying some textures over others, if this preference leads to eliminating foods required for healthy eating then it will adversely impact the body and overall health.

Eating By Texture and Other Conditions

Eating by texture, while a common type of disordered eating, may also indicate another condition. For example, some individuals with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) report a hypersensitivity to the texture of food that makes certain foods intolerable to them.

Sensory Integration Disorder can also leave individuals unable to tolerate certain textures of food. Individuals with Rett Syndrome may also have a low texture tolerance as related to their food. Because there are obviously reasons other than simple disordered eating that may be related to eating by texture, further investigations should be carried out when eating by texture is noticed.

Overcoming Eating By Texture

It may seem that eating by texture can be overcome by simply learning to appreciate different food textures, but this is not so easy when a food texture can make an individual choke, gag or even vomit. Some individuals may be able to consciously begin to add more foods and textures into their diet but others may need professional help to explore why they react so violently to certain foods. Still others may find that changing the texture of a food, such as by making smoothies out of crunchy fruits and vegetables, can help them add nutrients to their diet without having to eat a texture that they do not enjoy.

However, forcing someone to eat foods with textures that are despised is not a good idea as it will likely lead to that individual avoiding the food even more. Rather, those who eat by texture must be the ones to decide that they want more food choices in their diet and to design, or seek help to design, ways to make this possible.

Eating by texture is a common form of disordered eating but it can also indicate other conditions. Individuals who eat by texture may benefit from professional help in finding out why they eat this way and how they can overcome it.

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This is new to me because I have never had a problem with textures until now at the she of 42.Would menopause have anything to do with it? I can start eating and then I start thinking about it and I have to quit eating.
Tamya - 29-Apr-19 @ 10:41 AM
It's good to see I'm not alone in this.I can only do soft foods. No meats, breads, grains or vegetables.Only the broth off soups, baked potatoes or creamy mashed potatoes.I literally vomit when I try anything else. I have seen many nutritional therapists with no help.I'm literally starving to death.I'm 38, 5ft 6in and weigh 95 pounds. I'm scared. I NEED HELP! ANY ADVICE WOULD BE APPRECIATED BY ANYONE.....
asmj1006 - 25-Apr-19 @ 6:40 PM
Help. I’m such a texture person. I don’t like any fruits or vegetables because of it. And i need a better diet. What’s some tips? I’ve tried everything. (Eating in small amounts, holding my nose, etc.)
Kk - 21-Mar-19 @ 12:39 AM
For as long as I can remember I've had a texture problem with food. I cant eat stewed tomatoes or raw tomatoes but I can eat tomatoe sauces without tomato chunks. I love the flavor of onions and peppers in my food but cant stand biting into them. Fruits...forget it you bite into it them its squished. Use to love bananas until my last pregnancy but cant even stand the smell now. I have tried for years to eat lettuce even in salads minutes later I throw up. I love fried okra unless its slimy same with squash. I can take eating baked brussel sprouts that my son fixes. I even cant handle the texture of smoothies. I've got to figure this out because I'm now going to have to fight a disease and need a better diet.
E - 12-Mar-19 @ 5:01 AM
I hate slimy foods like over cooked tomatoes and onions or foods like rice when the rice has hard bits into them it makes me gag also over cooked tomatoes is gross for me if I eat the tomatoes in spaghetti they have to be well blended and I hate weird home made foods that have no flavor or are just nasty cooked
Lola - 17-Jan-19 @ 6:58 AM
I will be 37 in July... Since the age of 3 I've never eaten veggies or meat. It's affected my life and health in a massive way. My problem is trying to swallow... I can chew but when it comes to swallowing it refuses to go down so I stayed with the food I've known and felt comfortable with. Only now am I making a change and slowly introducing raw veggies etc
Landi - 12-Jan-19 @ 6:47 AM
I have a horrible problem and I have no idea how to make it better I have texture issues with fruit and veggies it the smell and texture it'll make me puke or gag I've tried smoothies and other ways to change it but it still gets to me especially if it still smells bad. I've tried food therapy it didn't work I'm worried I need to eat veg and fruit but can't and it's affecting my health I'm obese and seeked professional help it didn't work I need advice.
Gwen - 24-Oct-18 @ 2:55 AM
I've read this and can't relate more. I would love to be a healthy eater but many food make me gag as soon as I try eat them. For example I love the flavour onions and to food I cook but when it comes to eating them in a slasa or anything I physically can't and I throw up. But the worst part is lettuce and vegetables I love the favour of salads and veggies together but the thought of putting all the veg into my mouth and trying to bite and chew makes me nauseous and I hate it. Does anyone have any tips on how to overcome the mental block of food textures
Brinajenning - 19-Sep-18 @ 3:06 AM
It's a relief I'm not alone with this. I can't eat foods, that are soft and have something cruchy inside them, like onion. But soft foods in general I do like, mashed potatoes, cottage cheese etc etc. Certain crunchy I can also eat, but not as much as soft foods. I am currently 20 but I've developed my eating habits better throughout the years. I still have trouble eating any salads for example. Though I love cucumber, corn and carrots at least. Also I can't eat foods that are like really chewy and rubbery.
Sally - 4-Sep-18 @ 10:22 PM
@Danielle - yes all these things too. Soup, hummus even dips I can't eat.
Bevv - 10-Aug-18 @ 3:42 PM
I’m this way! I can’t do slimy - yogurt is the worst. I really want to eat healthier but yogurt, beans, fish all make me gag (at times vomit). I can’t even do smoothies ??
Danielle - 3-Aug-18 @ 11:18 PM
@Shay - I can understand this. Maybe it has come from some incident when you were a kid. My incident came from meat that had gristle. I can't eat minced beef for fear of chewing on a piece of gristle again, but this overlaps into burgers, hotdogs or chicken nuggets, even though you don't get gristle much anymore these days the thought of ever coming across it makes me feel physically sick.
PrinnyM - 31-May-18 @ 3:21 PM
Long story short, if it's slimy, I'm not eating it! Example: Over cooked vegetables, mushrooms, onions, clams, wet chicken, brussels sprouts, asparagus and so on. These items (for the most part) raw or cooked al dente, I love. So, I have an eating disorder? My guy gets ticked that I won't eat a sandwich that has been sitting for 30 minutes. The bread is saturated by the tomato, mayo and mustard. Gross! I will eat lettuce on a hamburger if I eat it immediately after it's put together; wait and it becomes limp letuce...not happening. Please advise.....
Shay - 29-May-18 @ 12:05 AM
@Abbygail - I'm the same with sloppy textures, but I can eat crunchy. rice pudding would have to be my ultimate worst food to eat. You'll have to define what it is that you don't like about the foods you hate. How can you hate potato but like french fries and why can you eat chicken nuggets and corn and not other foods? I'm sure people will understand that you hate certain foods, but you are preventing yourself from enjoying others. I always had an aversion to olives too and a friend dared me to eat one and now I love them. I would have so missed out if I hadn't have done the bet.
Han - 24-May-18 @ 3:42 PM
I have some serious issues with food textures. I can't eat any type of fish/sea food. Lettuce, cabbage, sprouts. Strawberries, kiwi, peaches, okra, and some green beans. All forms of potato besides French fries. I literally cannot keep it down if I try to force myself to eat it. Went on a date with a guy and almost threw up strawberries and crème on him when he fed me a bite and I didn't want to sound crazy and deny it. I quickly shoveled some of my elote into my mouth to try to cover it. It is just reaching a point where it is a little embarrassing. I am 22 years old and feeling like I'm still eating like a small child who thrives on chicken nuggets lol. When people invite me to dinners I always stress over whether or not I'll be able to eat what they cook. Has anyone found ways to improve this that have worked for them?
Abbygail - 22-May-18 @ 10:23 PM
@Karizma - doctors generally are concerend if someone is too thin. Many anorexics are able to disguise their weight if they try hard enough (wearing baggy clothes etc). They are also good at lying. It's more difficult for an overweight person to hide their weight and lie :(
KelK - 23-Apr-18 @ 12:09 PM
When I was a teen I decided I wanted to get into modeling and I did. I was a healthy weight, about a size 8-9.I became a size 4 at almost 5'10". I ate about every 3 days and would fill up quickly. I think my stomach was about the size of a walnut...lol. It got to the point that the feel of any food in my mouth any texture made me feel ill. I became a very selective eater and began having migraines. I even saw a neurologist for a couple of years being prescribed all sorts of pills. No one ever said maybe the migraines are caused from a lack of nutrition and dehydration, because thin was and is in, even too thin. The migraines andthinness continued on through my 40's. Now in my 50's after a heart issue I'm told I'm overweight and according to test results considered malnutritioned. Can't win...lol I think part of current health issue was caused by my past eating disorder. I almost starved myself to death with doctor and family approval. Docs should focus on way thin as well as overweight.
Karizma - 23-Apr-18 @ 5:43 AM
@ Paul - can you drink smoothies and fruit juice? Vitamin tablets are an option to consider also, but they don't replace the fibre. There are other foods that can give you the same vitamins and fibre needed for a healthy diet, so you could get by taking this route. The main thing is to avoid junk foods - as they are where many problems lie.
TamsO - 12-Apr-18 @ 2:02 PM
Ever since I can remember I have had real issues with the texture of fruit and veg to the point where I’m gagging and almost to the point where im throwing up. Countless times I have tried to eat many different fruits and vegetables but have been unsuccessful in intergrating them into my diet and as a result I have found it difficult eat healthily and as I’m getting older the effects of my diet are taking more of a tole. Even though I’m only 27 I know my diet is the source of my fatigue, tiredness and my very low fitness level as I lack motivation to excersise and even get out of bed in the morning. But any advice on how to overcome this issue or where to seek the help I need would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
Paul - 10-Apr-18 @ 10:18 PM
I feel like I have found my long, lost family!I keep reading about AFRID, bit it speaks about underweight people - and this most definitely is NOT me.My texture problems seem to have always been around; however, in 2002 I had a roux en y gastric stomache stapling.If anyone here has had this surgery you know it is very invasive and only worked on about 10%.The docs placed (in theory) a non expandable band around the opening of my tummy to restrict intake - this meant chewing ... lots and lots of chewing.Lots and lots of texture discovery. I am about to see a hypnotherapist because my situation jis getting dire.
Imbubblezz - 5-Apr-18 @ 4:56 PM
@AngelDv - I have the same problem. I have listed all the foods I do like and then searched online to see if they can be cooked in a way I like. I don't mind fruits in desserts and puddings, or with ice cream, that way I'm still getting the benefit :)
LisaLO - 28-Jul-17 @ 3:14 PM
As long as I can remember I have always had trouble eating certain foods. I don't like the texture of most fruits, and the texture of cooked veg.I am 43, I have always been a picky eater. I want to eat healthy and lose weight , but I don't like a lot of the foods that are healthy for me. I don't like the soft cooked veggie feel on my tongue, or the taste. I am open to suggestions,can anyone help with this problem?
AngelDv - 27-Jul-17 @ 8:52 PM
Finally found some there understand my eating habits. While growing up I was always told "Your a fussy eater", as I have grown older I have noticed that maybe this is apsychological issue that has just gotten worse. My parents tell me that even as a baby I would not eat certain foods, mainly veg, and that I would simply spit them out even though they would try todisguise it from me. It seems crazy but my parents would make a sandwich, I would not be present and I would know if they cut the sandwich in half with a knife they used to cutlettuce. Recently It has got to a stage where as I got older it would get embarrassing, you take a girl out for a date and you would worry what would be on the menu. The thought of eating certain foods makes me feel physically sic and if I try to eat them the texture in my mouth makes me gage to the point I am nearly sic. I really want to be able to sit down and enjoy a salad, or as stupid as it sounds go to Mc Donald's and order a burger and not have it specially cooked. I'm also worried because i may be passing this on to my children, which upsets me so much.
Dysan - 25-Jul-17 @ 1:28 AM
Continued from my post below.There appears to be a maximum amount of characters. ....I no longer "fear" cooked vegetables however I just can’t stand the texture; however I now eat green salads and some raw vegetables. I estimate that of all the food I didn’t eat at 19 years old, I am now able to eat a third.I think with more effort I could eat half.When I go to a restaurant I can usually select two out of the ten mains dishes without any anxiety and three with some anxiety.I know there are some great foods out there ready to be discovered.I tell myself that having a bad experience will only last a moment and finding a good food can last a lifetime. For myself, I don’t consider Texture eating as a disorder.I think it is a part of who I am.However, for people with more severe cases, I can understand how it could be considered a disorder.
Karl - 20-Jul-17 @ 8:05 PM
@Aidan - it's all about trying to educate yourself by trying new things little and often. Along with fatty foods, carbohydrates are the worst foods for weight gain. It sounds like you don't enjoy the foods you eat. Instead of chicken nuggets try cooked chicken breasts with new potatoes and salad. Instead of breaded fish try fresh fish. If you have a computer my advice is to list the healthy foods you like in your computer and try to find a healthy recipe containing these ingerdients and more. Or buy your yourself a cookery book you like and begin experimenting a bit by cooking new foods you like.
Rosco - 14-Jul-17 @ 11:20 AM
Hi my name is Aidan for as long as I remember the only things I eat are chicken nuggets, breaded fish, pasta and bread. I'm 18 now and I wiegh 16 stone just over obese I really want to eat healthy but I can't due to the textures of foods and I often gag. I don't eat any fruit or veg for the same reason and I don't want to be like this forever please help
Aidan - 13-Jul-17 @ 3:28 PM
@Karl - thanks. This has put my fear into perspective. It's been such a nuisance in my life. Eggs and cheese being my worst fear. I can't imagine how any person can eat an egg, even the thought of the texture makes me feel sick and squeamish.
Bea90 - 10-Jul-17 @ 9:52 AM
I am a 36 year old fussy eater.As a child, I ate no vegetables (accept deep fried chips) and no meat (accept sausages).I was able to maintain a reasonably healthy diet eating bread and most fruit.Crunchy Peanut Butter was and still is my favourite food. I was petrified of the texture of most foods.If there was a possibility of being surprised by the texture of a sub component of a complex food I wouldn't try it.When my father forked together steak and beetroot and then scoop some onions on top I would look on in horror as he put it all in his mouth, imagining the tongue inevitably coming into contact with the slimy onions and the uncertainty of whether there is going to be a soft-crunchy onion sensation passing through his teeth as he bites down or will it be an unplanned piece of gristle from the steak which has hard to describe texture properties.And beetroot, well its colour says it all. As a child, I used to use excuses to not try new foods, usually "it always ends badly" or my big sister would say she doesn't like something and therefore I would conveniently copy her.Being force feed only made me more anxious and therefore I pushed the food away harder. My number one arch nemesis as a child was chicken.The sight of Mum shoving stuffing up the back end of something that looks like it has just been beamed down from Mars just seemed wrong.And then after it was cooked my family would tear its carcass to pieces chewing on its oily skin, allowing their teeth to make contact with its bones.I would sit there thinking that humans have bones and justify not trying chicken by classifying my family as a pack of cannibals.I didn’t once even attempt Chicken until I was in my 20’s. The first time I noticed I was capable of eating new food was when I was 16 and I held up another worst enemy (a carrot) in front of me and because I hadn't been force fed in many years I couldn't remember what it tasted or smelled like.After trying really hard for five minutes to remember what a carrot smells or tastes like I took a bite and even though I didn't particularly like it, it was edible in its raw form, its texture was okay as well.I now like grated and lightly cooked carrot. During my first year at Uni I stayed in a residence with 400 other 1st year students and I was one of two people who needed special meals every night.It was during this year that I went to see a hypnotist to discuss my difficulty at studying.We somehow got on to discussing my diet where he suggested that I had a fear of food.This was quite an apophony to me because up to this point I had always been taught that my "fussiness" was due to me being a stubborn selfish person. The hypnotism focused on not procrastinating and trying new foods.It was helpful and over the next few years I felt more proactive at trying new foods and was able to eat most meats.Chicken is now my 3rd favourite food behind Ice Cream.I no longer fear cooked vegetables however I
Karl - 9-Jul-17 @ 1:04 AM
@JLH15 - have you been to the docs? You should go and get an autism test if you want to find out. Your food fad may be connected and your doc may be able to get help for you with your eating habits. Carbs aren't very good for you and you will gain weight the older you get if you keep only eating bad foods. Bread bloats the stomach, crisps are really fattening, pasta, chips and pizzas are too. But I guess you know all this.
MessyMe - 16-May-17 @ 2:45 PM
I'm 15 years old and I can only eat carbohydrates. I've always been like this ever since I was little. I've always hated being different and not being able to eat the same foods as everyone else. It's so embarrassing and people don't understand. I want to eat normally but I just can't. I always gag when I try new things. I think I may have autism but my parents haven't told me (it runs in the family). I always thought I was the only person like this and that I was just extremely picky. I don't know what to do because I don't like being unhealthy (I'm overweight but not by a lot) and I always make excuses not to go places like my friends houses because I know I won't be able to eat the food. Even when my parents suggest trying something new I REALLY really want to but I just get severe anxiety and I avoid eating it because I know I'll gag and even the smell makes me feel sick. I don't know what to do and I don't want to be like this for the rest of my life:(
JLH15 - 13-May-17 @ 5:10 PM
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