How ARFID differs from AN/BN — science of picky eating 1


Tabitha Farrar talks to Hana Zickgraf about a recently published research paper titled: Adult picky eaters with symptoms of avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder: comparable distress and comorbidity but different eating behaviors compared to those with disordered eating symptoms

Link to orginal study:

Study summary

Picky eaters are people who avoid many new and familiar foods because they dislike their taste, smell, texture, or appearance. When it is severe, picky eating can lead to weight loss or difficulty maintaining a healthy weight, nutritional deficiencies, dependence on supplements to get adequate nutrition or calories, or difficulty engaging in daily life because of shame, anxiety, or inconvenience. People who experience one or more of these consequences because of their picky eating can be diagnosed with Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID). People who restrict the amount of food they consume because they are afraid of gaining weight or being fat (and who usually engage in excessive exercise or purging behaviors to get rid of calories) are diagnosed with anorexia or bulimia when their eating leads to weight loss, nutritional problems, or interferes with life. ARFID is a new diagnosis, and in this paper, we show that 1) adults with ARFID symptoms are just as distressed, and just as likely to have symptoms of depression, anxiety, and obsessive compulsive disorder, as those with anorexia or bulimia, but that 2) adults with ARFID symptoms show very different types of eating behavior from adults with symptoms of anorexia or bulimia.

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About Tabitha Farrar

I work as Head of Marketing for a software startup in Boulder. As a recovered Anorexia sufferer, I advocate for proper understanding of eating disorders in my spare time. On that note, I wrote a book about my own journey into eating again called Love Fat.

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One thought on “How ARFID differs from AN/BN — science of picky eating

  • Chloe

    Important to note that some of us who end up with AN or BN may have started with ARFID. I am in recovery from AN- binge purge subtype, I also have a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. My ED started as ARFID and that is the problem that I am now attempting to deal with. Most of the AN and BN symptoms have gone but due to the ARFID, my eating is very rigid and very restrictive…not in amounts but in type and not for weight reasons but for the reasons associate with ARFID.