“Food” and “phobia” are the last two words many of us think would ever appear in the same sentence. After all, how can one fear something that’s essential to both our existence and sanity? Believe it or not, there is a good chunk of people out there who are actually terrified of certain eats or scared by the sensations associated with them.
What Is Cibophobia?
Here’s a little head start before we dive into the trivia: the general fear of food is known as cibophobia. “A food phobia is not an eating disorder, it’s an anxiety disorder,” Emily Roberts, MA, LPC, psychotherapist, and author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girl’s Guide to Speaking Up and Becoming Who You Are, explains. Roberts also says that phobias fall under the umbrella of anxiety-related disorders. “Generally this fear develops after a person has had an unexpected and scary experience with this food. For example, if they ate an expired product or choked on a particular food and panicked. Sometimes, specific foods trigger a traumatic event in one’s life, which could be the primary reason for avoidance,” Roberts says.
In order to cope, individuals with cibophobia who fear new and unfamiliar foods “may rely on eating ‘safe’ foods (foods that don’t provoke a strong fear reaction). Individuals with cibophobia may avoid situations where they don’t have control over their meal choices (for example, avoiding restaurants),” says Rachel O’Neill, PhD, LPCC-S, and Talkspace Therapist.
Unlike eating disorders, food phobias are characterized by the preparation and handling of ingredients found in food. While it sounds pretty outlandish, folks suffering from cibophobia actually experience debilitating side effects such as drastically micro-managing their diet, obsessing over expiration dates, and avoiding perishable foods.
Below, you’ll find 13 crazy food phobias that send some over the edge. And if you want healthy recipes, supermarket shopping guides, and essential nutrition tips at your fingertips, subscribe to the new Eat This, Not That! magazine now! For a limited time, you can save 50 percent off the cover price—click here!
Contrary to how religiously your mom bribed you to eat your veggies as a kid, lachanophobia—the fear of vegetables—is a real thing. Too bad, because failing to get your daily recommended amount of veggies is one of the 50 Little Things Making You Fatter and Fatter.
There’s a rare breed of humans out there who dislikes chocolate, but there’s an even sparser pool who’s afraid of cocoa—also known as xocolatophobia. A world without chocolate seems scary enough, and we can’t help but wonder, is it possible to fear the fear itself?
People who suffer from alliumphobia avoid garlic like the plague. Similarly, other alliums such as onions, chives, and shallots may trigger major panic attacks and anxiety upon sight, scent, or contact.
Arguably a form of social anxiety, people with deipnophobia fear dining with others and conversing while eating. So if you’ve spotted your coworker eating alone or heard they were recently ghosted by blind dinner date, think twice before confronting them.
While laziness and lack of time don’t exactly fit the bill for good excuses to skip meal prep, mageirocophobia, or the fear of cooking, might. Folks with this fear either avoid cooking a meal for themselves or a group of people for a number of reasons. Whether it’s because they’re afraid of serving a subpar supper, being in contact with high heat, experimenting with kitchen tools and recipes, or even presenting their dish, mageirocophobia is real.
If you’re deathly afraid of the mold growing on your bathroom ceiling as much as you are of the cremini your roommate ordered on her pizza, you may have mycophobia. That’s the fear of fungi or mushrooms.
Peanut butter lovers know that one minor side effect of indulging in the creamy spread is getting it stuck to the roof of your mouth. People with arachibutyrophobia are seriously scared of this side effect, so much so that they just may go about living life sans PB. Our hearts go out to you, arachibutyrophobiacs.
Much like those who are afraid of vegetables, those with fructophobia fear fruits. People with this phobia stay away from the produce aisle and artificially-flavored fruity drinks and foods. They even avoid seeing others consume nature’s candies. Such bittersweetness.
Citrus has been shown to help detox the body, spurring weight loss, but folks with acerophobia just can’t seem to get on this bandwagon. Acerophobia is the fear of sourness. However, this fear might do you some good if you’re trying to wean off the junk and steer clear of that pack of Sour Patch Kids.
“Methy” in Greek means alcohol, and when you pair that prefix with “phobia,” you pinpoint folks who seriously dread drinking alcohol. Come to think of it, who wouldn’t be scared of the feeling of cheap tequila, next-day head spins, and hangxiety?
Fish are rich in heart-healthy omega-3s and lean protein yet people with ichthyophobia avoid the swimmers at all costs. After all, seafood is one of our 20 Foods Most Likely to be Contaminated.
If you can’t stomach the thought of eating another piece of chicken breast for dinner, you may be a victim of alektorophobia or just need to jazz up your daily protein with these 35 Healthy Chicken Recipes for Weight Loss.
According to a 2014 survey, only four percent of Americans classified themselves as expert-level chopstick users while 24 percent admitted they’ve never tried using the Asian utensil. We’re not sure if how many people of the latter group actually have consecotaleophobia: the fear of chopsticks. But here’s another trivia tidbit: Swapping your fork for the sticks is one of the best ways to lose body fat.