There are many different factors that could all contribute to SED/ARFID. For some people it’s more about the psychological and emotional impact, and for others it’s more about developmental and sensory challenges.
One instance of this is potential zinc deficiency. Zinc is an interesting mineral that plays a big role in how food tastes. I came across some research a while ago suggesting that a lot of people with ARFID/SED or sensory food aversion are deficient in zinc which in turn could how food tastes to them.
In which case it is recommended to try an experiment. Buy a good supplement for liquid zinc (or the gummy bear option for children) and then take a teaspoon of liquid zinc mixed with a glass of water.
If you can taste the metallic zinc taste then that suggests that you are most likely NOT deficient. If you are not able to detect that metallic taste then that would suggest that you are likely deficient in zinc, in which case I would recommend adding a zinc supplement to your daily regime.
Please note: do not under any circumstances ‘trick’ your child by adding liquid zinc to their regular drink. Children are natural supertasters. Many parents have informed me that their children are like little sharks when it comes to detecting smells and they can pick out a tiny part of fried onion or whatever was sneaked in per 100 parts of their safe food. Consequently, trust has been broken and they will be even more reluctant to experiment with new foods. Instead perhaps tell them that you have added some tasteless vitamins. Again, if they cannot taste the zinc taste, they need zinc. If they can, then their zinc levels are likely sufficient.
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About the Author
Felix is a chartered psychologist with a very busy private Practice in London, England. He was the psychologist on BBC3’s “Freaky Eaters” (series 3) working with people with selective eating disorder (or ARFID as it is known in the USA) and has since then been sought from clients around the world for help with his one-session treatment for SED.
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