According to the Daily Mail
, 19-year-old Sophie Ray has not eaten a varied diet since she was two years old. Since the age of 11 she has not eaten anything other than Margherita pizza.
Reportedly, Ray lives with Selective Eating Disorder (SED), a condition that includes being afraid to eat almost all foods. The teen says the condition started at the age of two after she experienced a stomach bug. After she recovered from the Gastroenteritis, she became afraid of food and only ate a handful of foods including cheesy pasta, lemon curd sandwiches and chips.
From the ages 2 through 11 the girl survived on this limited diet, but by age 11 had switched over to pizza, casting aside all other food options. Even pepperoni causes her to turn away from a meal, the pizza has to have only tomatoes and cheese. Vegetables and fruits have not been a part of her diet in years.
The Daily Mail
reported Ray said, "I began selective eating when I was two. My mum said after I was ill, I became frightened to eat, I thought food had caused my illness. I began eating cheesy pasta or chips and then moved on to lemon curd sandwiches, which I ate every day for four years."
"I plucked up the courage to try pizza when I was 11," Ray told the Daily Mail, "I’ve eaten it every day since - sometimes I have it for breakfast, lunch and dinner."
The college student said she'd rather skip a meal than eat something other than pizza. The smell of other foods makes her gag as she describes her food aversions
. She's picky about her pizza, not only does she frown upon toppings, cold pizza is out of the question. Ray noted occasionally she'll try to eat other foods, but says she feels sick afterward. Anytime she considers adding more foods into her diet, she says anxiety emerges.
She said her SED is more than just being a "picky eater", comparing her fear to asking "someone who hates spiders to hold one."
According to a Live Science
article (published in 2010), SED is a real phobia.
"People who are picky aren't doing this just to be stubborn," said eating researcher Nancy Zucker of Duke University. Zucker noted extremely picky eaters experience food differently than what's considered 'normal'. Zucker has examined issues related to SED, and said it is not clear whether this type of food phobia is biology or psychology related.
The researcher said adult picky eaters usually experienced some sort of negative experience with food in early childhood. Zucker noted severe acid reflux or gastrointestinal issues often had occurred to the individual.
Zucker noted that salty foods are very common for selective eaters, french fries and bacon are common foods individuals focus on as staple dietary foods.
Seems pizza easily falls into this category.
Ray appears to be aware of the potential negative health effects her limited diet can bring, realizing the high fat, sodium, cholesterol and calories can create a poor health situation.
"I know my diet isn’t doing my health any good and I’d really love to eat normally but it’s really hard to change my diet after eating like this for so long," Ray said.
According to Livestrong
, the American Psychiatric Association may add SED as a new diagnosis to its "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,"
In Jan. Digital Journal
reported on another situation where a 17-year-old girl was fixated on a particular food. In this case, the girl eats nothing but chicken nuggets, and as a result of her poor diet, had collapsed and ended up in the hospital.