Fish, Vegetables, and More Food Phobias You Won’t Believe

Some people are scared of spiders, some are scared of snakes. Then there are some people who are just terrified of food

Until science makes it possible to live on air alone (or perhaps a steady diet of food pills) sitophobes are going to have a tough run — they’re afraid of food and eating.

Phobias are a curious thing — sometimes we’re scared of cockroaches or spiders (or clowns, no judgment) because of an early and unpleasant childhood run-in with them, and just the sight of them as adults is enough to strike the most epic of fears into our hearts. Other phobias have no finite explanation for their origins; they simply exist in our psyche, though they are no less serious or spine-chilling.

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Some phobias, though, are a little, shall we say “unusual.” Allodoxaphobia is the fear of people’s opinions. Yes, opinions. Dutchphobia is the fear of Dutch people. Strange yes, but these can mostly be circumvented by just avoiding the thing that scares you… but what if you’re phobic about something unavoidable, like food? We may need food to survive but some people have a terror-reaction to certain kinds of foods, tastes, even to food itself.

Alliumphobia is the fear of garlic. Understandable if you’re a vampire, but just the smell of garlic (or even being near it) can trigger a severe anxiety or panic attack in some people! Other symptoms include loss of breath, dizziness, shakiness, becoming inexplicably angry, losing the ability to speak, starting to feel like you may actually be about to die, and even becoming completely detached from reality.

Ever noticed how sticky peanut butter is? Well, some people can be debilitatingly afflicted by arachibutyrophobia… that’s not actually the fear of peanut butter itself, but the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth. As with the fear of garlic, just contemplating the thought of eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich could be enough to trigger symptoms like extreme anxiety, dread, and anything associated with panic such as shortness of breath, rapid breathing, irregular heartbeat, sweating, excessive sweating, nausea, dry mouth, , inability to articulate words or sentences, and shaking.

Then there’s the absolute terror-inducing mageirocophobia, the fear of cooking. Many people prefer the convenience of ordering rather than cooking their dinner. Or perhaps you’re sometimes just too tired to cook things… but for some people the thought of cooking food stirs up all kinds of anxious feelings. Guess they’re not big fans of Top Chef then.

Food phobias are really no laughing matter, but some are unlikely enough to give us some serious food for thought (yes, pun intended); read on to learn more about some unusual food phobias that people experience.

Acerophobia — Fear of sourness

Some people really love their sour candies, or that wonderfully tart pucker caused by citrus fruits like lemons, oranges, and limes. For others though, that sour taste is just too much to handle — acerophobes get anxious and panicky at the thought of sour tastes and will avoid this tongue-tingling sensation whenever possible.

Alektorophobia — Fear of chicken

Why did the chicken cross the road? Well, never ask an alektorophobe that question, ever! They are deathly afraid of chickens and all chicken related products (and chicken jokes, one would assume.) Also, never use the phrase “it tastes like chicken" to describe another food to them, they won’t eat that either… this subset of people might feel better if an unfamiliar food tastes like beef.

Read on for more about Fish, Vegetables, and Other Food Phobias You Won't Believe Exist Around the World


Serusha Govender is The Daily Meal's Travel Editor. Follow her on Twitter @SerushaGovender