Fishy fears: Food phobias mean one in five Mancunians miss vital nutrients from diet – and seafood scares us most

By Kenny Lomas

Food phobias mean almost a fifth of people in Manchester could be missing out on vital nutrients in their diet, a study has claimed.

Fish and other seafood are the most feared foods in the city – which means many Mancunians could be short on vitimins and minerals like omega 3.

In fact 7% of all Mancunians admitted they never eat fish AT ALL, according to the Share the Love of the Loch Study by Loch Fyne Seafood & Grill.

Other common food phobias include sour cream, cottage cheese, spam, couscous, baked beans, bananas, bagels, or condiments like ketchup and brown sauce.

Food psychologist Dr Christy Fergusson said: “Fish and seafood are not only delicious but are a vital source of important vitamins and minerals such as omega 3, vitamin A, B and D, potassium, selenium, zinc and iodine.

“Those who don’t eat fish are seriously missing out.”

MM spoke to one Manchester resident Lee Sentino who has battled with a phobia of condiments or ‘moist foods’ his entire life.

Lee revealed that he would eat like everyone else, but it had to be dry.

That meant no food with any sauce or gloopy fillings, so pies, lasagne’s and condiments were all off the menu.

Lee says he would be overcome with anxiety, a common symptom with any phobia, when he came face to face with his fear.

“When presented with something I didn’t want to eat it I would gag and feel as if my body would reject it were I to consume whatever it was,” Lee told MM.

“I had a fair amount of comments about it from people over the years and this only served to heighten my anxiety about it.”

“It was difficult to go to restaurants as most, if not all, of the menus wouldn’t be suited to my needs. I remember the time I went to an Italian restaurant and just asked for a bowl of pasta.

“When I close my eyes, I still see the woman’s look of confusion and disgust.”

A NHS spokesman told MM: “Real food phobias are very rare but they would be treated like any other phobia, such as fear of flying, dogs, needles, etc, with phobic cognitive behavioural therapy; building up changes in thought patterns to manage the anxiety.”

Picture courtesy of Practical Owl, with thanks.

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