Whereas some people can eat anything, others cannot. The picky behaviour may start during childhood and can grow into adulthood.
Scientifically, picky eaters sense taste differently to other people. Taste buds, which are comprised of groups of receptors on the tongue, are specialised to discern the basic tastes such as sweet, salty, bitter, sour or aromatic by detecting chemicals in food and relaying this information to the brain, where there are specific areas for each basic taste in a brain region called the gustatory cortex.
Most people who are picky with their food are considered to have a disorder and are highly embarrassed by their limited food selection. They may go to great lengths to keep it hidden, either by avoiding social events that involve food or drinks or by making up excuses to avoid eating.
How to handle
If a child is picky about a particular food, coercing them to eat will make things worse. For such children, family meals should be fun, and dining together must happen regularly so that children can watch others enjoying a variety of foods.
It is not a choice for one to be picky at their food sometimes but may because their body does not tolerate some foods. There are times when selective eating disorder has a biological component that the person is just intolerant to foods like dairy products, meat and others.
Intolerance or allergic?
Food intolerance affects the digestive system yet if you are allergic to the food; it usually affects the immune system. If someone is intolerant to a certain food, their body would have a difficult time digesting it. However, if someone is allergic to the same food, it could be life-threatening due to a reaction called anaphylaxis.
Compiled by Beatrice Nakibuuka