Teenager suffering from bizarre food disorder only eats chips and cheese and suffers panic attacks at the thought of fresh vegetables
Picky: Abi Stroud has been eating cheese and chips – and nothing else – for eight years
A teenager suffering from food phobia has had nothing but cheese and chips for eight years – because other food petrifies her.
Abi Stroud suffers panic attacks at the thought of eating fresh fruit and vegetables and even seeing someone peel a banana makes the 18-year-old heave.
The A-lever student’s average weekly diet consists of three blocks of mature cheddar, three bags of frozen chips and three bags of bread – but only from the right brands.
Abi, from Newport, Wales, began refusing food aged ten and says she is so embarrassed by her phobia that she has never had a boyfriend.
The unusual condition, called Selective Eating Disorder (SED), means she has a phobia of almost all foods, leaving her scared of trying anything new and was once reduced to tears by a teacher who tried to tempt her to try a chicken nugget.
Abi said: ‘I”m living off chips and cheese and I hate it. I”m so embarrassed about it – I”ve never had a boyfriend because I”m worried about what he would think.
‘I never go out for dinner with friends or eat with other people because so I”m worried about being expected to eat something else.
Abi will only eat food prepared by her mother Debra, 42, but will extend to bread and chips from her local takeaway when her mother and father Russell, 42, are away.
As she is finishing her A-levels the prospect of University which looms come September is terrifying the teen.
‘When people ask me to try something different I feel sick and dizzy.
“I”m going to uni in September and I really want to get help so I can enjoy myself and not have to think about chips and cheese.’
Weekly diet: In one week Abi consumes three packets of bread, three blocks of cheddar and three bags of McCain chips – not a carrot or a tomato in sight
Abi has her staple meal of cheesy chips and a chips sandwich, left, and is repulsed by a plate of salad, right
The student’s condition has been a part of her life for eight years and Abi believes it may be connected toher grandmother’s death with whom she was very close.
She said: ‘When I was 10 I stopped eating just about everything. I physically couldn”t put something I didn”t want into my mouth.
‘I don”t remember when it happened but it was around the time my nana died and it could have had a psychological effect.
‘Ifsomeone asks me to try something else it makes my heart race. The smellhits me first, then the thought of the texture on my tongue.
‘Once on a school trip my teachers tried to get my to eat a chicken nugget and I burst into tears.
Dedicated chef: Abi”s mother Debbie is the only one Abi trusts to cook her food, something which will prove difficult for the 18-year-old as she leaved the family home to attend University in September
‘It”sso embarrassing that I pretend to like things when I don”t. If someone posts a picture of food on Facebook, I”ll say it looks really good. But in reality I”d never touch it.”
As well as chips and cheese, Abi makes chip butties using white bread – but only if it”s the right brand.
She goes without breakfast, has a plate of chips and cheese for lunch then another for dinner with a chip butty to finish.
Herdiet had a severe effect on her health. /07/29/article-2180552-1445952D000005DC-768_634x354.jpg” width=”634″ height=”354″ alt=”Trial and error: Her mother Debbie tries to tantalise Abi with a banana but the teen shies away and says it makes her gag. – a result of her SED ” class=”blkBorder” />
Trial and error: Her mother Debbie tries to tantalise Abi with a banana but the teen shies away and says it makes her gag – a result of her SED
She said: “The doctor said it was a phase I was going through and basically told me I needed to get over it or I would never have children and probably die young – I was devastated.’
However, instead of changing her diet and introducing healthier food, Abi started eating less to control her weight.
‘I cut down on the amount of chips and cheese I was eating because I still couldn”t face changing my diet.”
Last year Abi was referred to a specialist who diagnosed her with SED – and through diet and exercise she slimmed to 13 stone.
She said: ‘Now I know it”s not just me being a fussy eater I feel more confident.
‘I”m determined to try something new.”
SELECTIVE EATING DISORDER (SED) – THE FACTS
SED is also known as picky eating, fussy eating, food phobia, selective eating, or Perseverative Feeding Disorder.
It is more common among those within the autistic spectrum and in combination with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
It starts in childhood or early adolescence and themost common cause of SED is a development of extra sensitive taste sensation, which is caused by an increase in fungiform papilla – taste buds – throughout childhood.
Typicallythe food preferred by an SED sufferer are ‘comfort foods’ – bland and refined foods, high in carbohydrates – such as pizza, cheese and chips, often from particular brands or food outlets.
The types of food will be restricted to ten or less with extreme cases only eating one or two types of food.
SEDsufferers can get psychiatric help such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapyand other treatments for OCD which have been successful.