At long last there is scientific evidence that may shed some light on the mystery of picky eaters.

Hello. My name is Zane. I am a picky eater. I wish I wasn't, but I am. I have to believe I was born this way, because it's all I've ever known. I didn't choose to be this way, and I've tried to change. Now, after 50+ years, I've given up on trying to change. I am who I am.

I was reading this article on Yahoo about the new science behind picky eaters, much of the information I already knew, having lived a lifetime of picky eating. But, I smiled as I read, hoping that perhaps this new evidence would help others better understand why picky eaters are picky.

While some of it has to do with taste, the problem of picky eating is largely a texture issue. For example, I love cottage cheese and I love jello, but put these two together and my gag reflex kicks in immediately. In my mouth, the lumpy texture of the cottage cheese contradicts the expectation of the smoothness of the jello. For the same reason, lumpy pudding - whether it be intentional (tapioca) or not is not easily tolerated.

The same goes for casseroles, which can bring together all kinds of food that have no business being stirred together, present one of the biggest challenges to my taste buds.

Here's another example. I could easily - although not necessarily gladly - consume a small box of raisins. However, raisins in breakfast cereal, cinnamon rolls, cake, pie, or cookies could not be tolerated without incurring an automatic and instant gag reflex. The problem is that raisins conflict with the texture expectations of those foods in which it is contained.


The tomato is another classic example of what I call 'textural conflict.' You've got the outer skin, and the inside which can be a combination of mushy and firm textures, wet/dry,  plus seeds. Combined with a lack of real taste, the tomato is something that must be avoided at all cost whether it be fresh, sliced, diced, or stewed. However, although I can't explain it, I would like a generous dollop of ketchup on my burger.

It has been suggested that picky "texturalists" may have pronounced survivalist instincts. As you know, often times, slimy food indicates spoilage. It's possible those instincts are simply kicking in when we experience textural conflicts.

This article talks about studies that suggest that some food neophobia - the fear of trying new foods - could possibly be generically determined. In my case, that doesn't make a lot of sense, because my mom, dad, and brother are all non-picky eaters. I'm the only one.

The fact is, I don't enjoy being a picky eater, but it's not something I control. I have made great strides from my early years when I would eat mashed potatoes without gravy,  garden salad without dressing, and overcame major texture issues to finally come to embrace and actually fully enjoy some texture laden foods such as pecan pie, coconut cream pie, and lumpy mashed potatoes.

It is comforting to know that I am not alone in my eating disorder, and to think that there may be some legitimate scientific and intellectual reasons for my issues.

While I don't expect major changes in my eating habits at this point in my life, I am a work-in-progress, and continually trying to expand my horizons and experience some adventures in eating.