- Fussy eating usually associated with kids who don’t like vegetarian
- But it doesn’t seem to be just a phase, according to a new study of 500 students.
- Study results show 190 undergraduates still identified as a fussy eater
Being fussy is a term commonly associated with young children who do not like to eat their vegetables.
But it doesn’t seem like it’s just phase one—according to a new study, nearly half of young adults are still making choices by the time they go to university.
Researchers analyzed 488 undergraduate students in the US and found that 190 still identified as a fussy eater.
Most of them reported consuming fewer than 10 foods, and ate ‘significantly’ less fiber and vegetables than their peers.
Being fussy is a term commonly associated with young children who do not like to eat their vegetables. But it doesn’t seem like it’s just phase one—according to a new study, nearly half of young adults are still preferring the time they go to university.
They also reported situational distress – for example not being able to find acceptable food when dining out with others – and excessive meal planning.
Lead researcher Dr Lauren Dial, from Bowling Green State University in Ohio, said: ‘Picky eating is generally defined as a rejection of both familiar and new foods.
‘It is a common occurrence during childhood, although there are cases in which picky eating may continue into adolescence and adulthood.’
The findings, which were published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, also revealed that some picky eaters chose not to eat at all on occasion, and had to decide who they chose to eat with.
Dr Dial said: ‘Overall, this study sheds some more light on the consequences of picky eating in young adults and may help guide future research to identify how picky eating is related to other eating behaviours.’
She said that some people identify themselves as a picky eater in the same way that others classify themselves as healthy eaters or vegetarians.
And while some saw going to the restaurant as a challenge, others enjoyed it as the amount of ‘what to eat’ options were limited.
Reasons for being picky eaters vary widely, although some participants said it made it easier for them to lose weight.
“Currently the definition of picky eating is too broad, so it doesn’t really capture the reasons why people are eating a limited diet,” Dr. Dial said.
‘It may be possible that someone is eating a limited diet to address a specific health concern.
‘Interestingly, we had participants who identified as picky eaters told us about the time they had benefited from eating pickles – they were able to achieve weight loss and fitness by eating a limited amount of foods. Were able to achieve the goals.’
What should a balanced diet look like?
According to the NHS, meals should be based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally whole grains.
• Eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruits and vegetables every day. All fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruits and vegetables count
• Foods based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally whole grains
• 30 grams of fiber a day: This is the same as eating all of the following: 5 portions of fruits and vegetables, 2 biscuits of whole wheat cereal, 2 thick slices of wholemeal bread and a large baked potato with the skin
• Have some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soy drinks), choose low-fat and low-sugar options
• Eat some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins (2 portions of fish per week, one of which should be oily)
• Choose unsaturated oils and spreads and consume them in moderation
• Drink 6-8 cups/glass of water in a day
• Adults should have less than 6 grams of salt and 20 grams of saturated fat per day for women or 30 grams for men
Source: NHS Eatwell Guide