Phobias can be tough to live with. A person with acrophobia has an unreasonable fear of heights and folks with arachnophobia are terrified by spiders. These unreasonable fears can have a specific origin, like being bitten by a spider, or can have no known cause and the treatment for them varies from confronting the fears head on to intensive psychotherapy.
Some phobias can be downright weird, for example, the fear of little clusters of holes is unofficially called trypophobia. But there is a growing segment of out population that has unreasonable fears related to food.
Lately, it seems as if just the simple act of buying or preparing food is enough to throw anybody into a panic attack. There's new worries that foods with gluten are damaging our digestive systems, genetically modified foods are prevalent on the market and we never really know if that next bowl of spinach salad is going to give us salmonella!
These things, however worrisome, are not phobias but there are many of them are that related to general food issues, like mageirocophobia which is the fear of cooking. This can affect people in small ways, like worrying too much about cooking a certain thing (overcooking noodles or panic about your Thanksgiving turkey) or larger ones like my mother was afflicted with. She was paranoid about the possibility of picking up germs or other nasty things from under cooked meat (teniophobia is the fear of tapeworms!), so she overcooked everything. I had to have been a teenager before I found out that cheeseburgers weren't supposed to be crunchy. I have a somewhat irrational fear of burning my food, which causes me to check what I'm making obsessively and can make me undercook some things. This could be in reaction to my mother's obsession.
Some other, general food phobias:
- Cibophobia is the fear of eating or food in general.
- Consecotaleophobia sufferers are afraid of chopsticks.
- Mageirocophobia is the fear of cooking.
- Phagophobia is the fear of swallowing, of of choking when eating.
- Thermophobia sufferers have a fear of hot things, like coffee or soup (or, in some cases, bathwater as this is not limited only to food).
- Deipnophobia is the fear of dinner or, more specifically, dinner conversation.
- Entomophobia is the fear of insects, and some folks are so afraid of eating one that they will not buy or eat packaged, prepared foods.
- Geumaphobia is interesting, it is the fear of taste. This can translate into specific flavors (like pickles, for instance), or sweet, sour or savory foods. Some unfortunate people can't handle any taste at all.
Body dysmporhic disorder and other weight related issues can cause food phobias, although the primary fear is of gaining weight, a person who is afflicted with these disorders can become terrified of food or of specific kinds of foods.
Totally Weird Food Phobias
One of my very best friends' husband is afraid of onions and I once knew a woman with a terrible anxiety that had to do with meat that was still on a bone - she would become violently ill watching someone eat it. I also have another friend who will become sick on her stomach if she sees someone else eating beef that's been cooked medium-rare or lighter.
There may be a phobia for just about everything. These are some fears that people have that are based on specific foods or tastes. Some of them are unofficial as in they have not been officially documented as a diagnosis. Phobialist.com does have a huge list of officially recognized phobias.
- Arachibutrophobia is the fear of peanut butter or, more correctly, the fear of getting peanut butter stuck to the roof of one's mouth.
- Lachanophobia is a fear of vegetables that goes way beyond kids disliking broccoli. Folks who suffer from this phobia could also be afraid of veggies because they may have been grown in soil that is contaminated.
- Mycophobia is the fear of mushrooms. Lots of people don't like them because they're slimy and, well, grown in poop, but some folks are deathly afraid of them.
- Ostraconophobia sufferers fear shrimp, crabs and other shellfish.
- Alektorophobia is the fear of chicken, and can translate to their cooked meat and/or eggs.
- Ichthyophobia's sufferers fear fish, live and cooked.
- Acerophobia is the fear of sour tasting foods, so no lemon in the sweet tea, please.
- Alliumphobia causes people to be terrified of garlic.
- Carnophobia suffers are afraid of meat, cooked or raw.
- Sitophobia is related to specific food smells or textures.
- Methyphobia is the fear of alcohol, and not necessarily just the after effects of imbibing.
- Oenophobia, likewise, is the fear of wine.
If Your Life is Disrupted by a Phobia
Phobias, although they can be seen as unusual, weird and even funny, are no laughing matter for some folks. If you have a crippling fear and don't know where to get help, try first calling your family doctor. He or she may have advice or may refer you to a therapist or psychologist.
I would caution you against some of the "remedies" you may come across on the internet because most of the people offering advice are not medical professionals.
Though some phobias can be faced and overcome, they are a form of anxiety and anything major should be treated by a professional.
Chloe on August 30, 2019:
I have a fear of meat overlapping or touching each other. For a sandwich I can only have one layer of meat or I will start gagging. I don’t have a problem with the meat and with other foods I’m fine if they are touching but if it is a ham sandwich with ham piled on it I will freak out. I have been looking for the name of the phobia ( I know someone who has this too) but I can’t find it
Bryan on December 28, 2018:
why I have Lachanophobia becuase I alaways eat junk food but I never eat vegetables????when I eat vegetables...I feel like a gonna vomit and fear.....can anyone help me with my phobia?
olivia on August 25, 2018:
i have a fear of crumbs. it just makes me want to gag or cry. if anyone has any idea what this phobia is called please leave a comment saying it..
serena on June 11, 2018:
i have a massive fear of cooking and eating canned soup
but i'm not afraid of cup of soups or making tea or coffee
would it still be Thermophobia if it just soup
Anna on April 25, 2018:
I have a fear of frozen food and if my freezer is full of frozen food I don’t like opening it up or using the food instead I will go and buy fresh meat. If I think there’s too much in the freezer I will want it cleaned out.
Chloe Cox on January 12, 2017:
The phobia for being afraid is called Phobophobia.
Summer Ryder on January 04, 2017:
I started developing a fear of eating food in general, and especially when it's served by others. It all came from when I started college. I moved in late and all my roommates as already settled in.
I unpacked my things and went to get some food for the kitchen. When I came back to store my food away I noticed the sink was over flowing with unclean dishes and the smell was deathly. There was this one tupperware that had green mold growing from it and when I came back a couple of days later it turned into big fluffy white mold. We had a school break and no one cleaned up before I we left and that mold decompressed into red mold!
The fridge was also a mess. It was filled with half eaten food that's been in there for weeks. There were many bowls of food left open without a cover over it in the fridge and all the vegetables and fruits were rotten and stuck onto the shelves of the fridge. There was a bowl of what used to be salad that shriveled up and turned into soup. There was so much mold in the pantry and in the fridge I didn't feel safe with my food. --And I was right. I got extremely ill since living there and would have to visit the hospital over 2 times a week. The doctors couldn't find out what's wrong with my but I blame the mold.
Since moving in I refuse to buy food since I don't want my food being contaminated by the mold and spores left from the food my roommates refuse to throw out or wash up. I've already done their dishes for them twice and taken out their trash that was overflowing before I moved in and the proceeding ones.
My fear later sooner grew when I visited my mom and saw that 85% of the food in the fridge was expired. All the milk has gone chunky like yogurt, the bread had mold on it, meat was expired and she would leave it out sometimes thinking that shed make it and put it back in the fridge the next day when she changes her mind. She didn't have this habit before.
Now my mom cooks me the expired food and it made me very sick to where I had to go to the hospital again. I told her about her food and how everything was expired, but she just got offended and was stubborn about getting rid of things.
Because of these incidences I have a fear of anyone else making food for me, including premade meals and restaurants. And a fear of food in general because I fear that it's unsafe to eat.
Georgie Lowery (author) from North Florida on April 18, 2013:
Glimmer Twin Fan:
One day when I'm bored, I'm going to attempt to figure 0ut just how many phobias there are. One of the most interesting, in my opinion, is phobophobia which is the fear of being afraid.
Thanks for the comment!
Claudia Mitchell on April 18, 2013:
Wow - that is disturbing yet fascinating. I had no idea there were so many phobias out there!
Georgie Lowery (author) from North Florida on April 14, 2013:
I agree, there are many of them! Sometimes it's just not possible to get over them, though. :(
Thank you for your comment!
Nithya Venkat from Dubai on April 14, 2013:
So many phobias I never knew even existed. Phobias can be a real torture and it is better to address it as soon as possible and get over with it. Great hub.
Georgie Lowery (author) from North Florida on April 13, 2013:
I'm not sure about UFOs, but I'm pretty certain there is a gremlin that likes to steal one half of a pair of socks out of my dryer!
Thank you for stoping by! :)
Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on April 13, 2013:
Oh my what a list of phobias!! I can't imagine eating crunchy hamburgers. Haha! I knew someone who claimed she had the phobia of tiny holes, yet she also said she saw a few UFO's so I found it hard to believe anything she said. To each his own. I wish I knew how to use chopsticks...I don't fear them, I just don't have that talent! Awesome hub! I learned about a few new phobias I'm glad I don't have :)
Georgie Lowery (author) from North Florida on April 01, 2013:
It does seems as if there is a phobia for everything. I wonder if there's one for being afraid?
Thank you for commenting!
Mike Robbers from London on April 01, 2013:
Lachanophobia!! Didn't know about this :)
I have a little thing with heights but I guess I'm not the only one on this planet!