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The difference between food aversion and anorexia in pregnancy


The world has been watching as Kate Middleton struggles with pregnancy issues.

First, people were reporting that the Duchess of Cambridge was too thin to be pregnant, and now others are claiming that she's suffering from food aversion.

Or is it anorexia?

Ask the doctor

Dr. Manny Alvarez of Fox News recently answered a reader question on the difference between food aversion and pregnancy, first noting that Middleton is not anorexic.

"What she’s suffering from is the same thing millions of pregnant patients deal with – especially in the first and early second trimester of pregnancy – which is morning sickness, hyperemesis and food aversions," Alvarez said.

Food aversion

Food aversion is the phenomenon that happens when certain foods make a pregnant woman feel sick, nauseous or uncomfortable. Many women have a hard time eating or even smelling these foods, which include things like milk, meat, eggs or certain vegetables.

Food aversion is completely normal, notes Alvarez, but women still need to make sure they're getting proper nutrients for themselves and the growing baby.

"If you can’t stand meat or poultry, you might want to consider vegetable proteins, like beans and soy," he recommended. "If you worry about not getting enough milk, you can get calcium from other sources like cheese and yogurt. And of course, you can always take a supplement."


In contrast to food aversion, anorexia is a form of nutritional starvation that is done deliberately and as the result of a mental health disorder.

Alvarez notes that the person often suffers from negative self-image, extreme anxiety and a constant obsession with their weight. And while food aversion and anorexia can indeed coexist during pregnancy (a condition called pregorexia), the two should not be confused.

"The connection between food aversion and anorexia should never be made," Alvarez warns. "While food aversion is usually temporary and tends to disappear, anorexia can be a problem that people deal with for a long period of time – and sometimes is discovered too late."

Source: Fox News