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What are fear foods?

In this blog post we will cover what fear foods are, the signs to look out for, and how to overcome food fears in eating disorder recovery.

What are fear foods in eating disorders?

Fear foods are foods that make you feel anxious, guilty, or worried to eat. It's common in eating disorders, especially in anorexia nervosa.

What causes foods to become fear foods?

During an eating disorder a person may think of a food as ‘bad’ because they fear eating this food may cause weight gain or eating these foods will cause feelings of guilt or shame.

The most common fear foods include those high in carbohydrates, fats, or refined ingredients.

What are common fear foods?

Common fear foods include:

  • Cakes, cookies, sweets, or baked goods

  • Foods with long ingredient lists like pizza and sandwiches

  • Foods that are high in fat like avocado, burgers, or fried food

  • High carbohydrate foods, including pasta, bread, rice, and potatoes

  • Foods from restaurants or take aways

  • Foods higher in salt or sugar

Fear foods tend to be those that others might describe as unhealthy.

How to know if you have fear foods

Having fear of food is not “normal”, but it is common. There are a few signs to look out for if you are wondering if you have fear foods.

Signs you have fear foods

If you don't know if you have fear foods, there are signs. Signs that you have fear foods include:

  • Obsessing over certain foods

  • Having anxiety when thinking of certain foods

  • Inability to participate in social activities involving food

  • Isolation

  • Binge eating fear foods

  • Becoming annoyed when people talk about your fear foods

How to overcome fear foods

When it comes to challenging your fear foods you need to make it clear which foods you are struggling to eat.

Here are five tips to overcome your fear foods:

1. Identify: Write down a list of all your fear foods, this could be cake, sweets, fried food, foods high in carbohydrates etc put them in order of the scariest foods first.

2. Introduce: Start introducing your fear foods slowly, this could be once a week, then start increasing this to twice, three times a week.

3. Combine: Using safe foods to help you eat your fear foods. These could be foods you are struggling with the most and combine it with a safe food.

4. Calm: Make sure your environment makes you feel calm and safe when you are eating your fear foods.

5. Support: If you're really struggling to overcome fear foods, we recommend 1-1 support. At Ease Nutrition Therapy, we offer 1-1 support to heal your relationship to food.


We are a specialist eating disorders and disordered eating online clinic. We support people with troubled relationships to food with expert Nutrition Counselling.

Founded by Shannon Western in 2019. The team has grown to welcome wonderful Dietitians and Nutritionists all to help you feel better with food.

Are you:

  • Struggling with feeling overwhelmed or out of control with eating?

  • Unsure about when, why, and how much to eat?

  • Ready to take the steps (however small!) away from your eating disorder, disordered eating, or long dieting history?

We are here to help you do just this (and more). All with compassionate, practical, supportive person-centred Nutrition Counselling.

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