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Food neophobia may worsen chronic diseases

Published : 19 Jun 2019, 01:53

Updated : 19 Jun 2019, 10:02

  DF Report

Press Release Photo by THL.

Food neophobia, or fear of new foods, may lead to poorer dietary quality, increased risk factors associated with chronic diseases, and thus augmented risk of developing lifestyle diseases, including cardiovascular disorders and type 2 diabetes.

These are some of the findings of a study jointly conducted by the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), the University of Helsinki, and the University of Tartu in Estonia, said a THL press release.

Food neophobia is an eating behaviour trait in which a person refuses to taste and eat food items or foods they are not familiar with.

The study examined the independent impact of eating behaviour, and especially food neophobia, on dietary quality as well as lifestyle diseases and their risk factors.

The study monitored individuals aged between 25 and 74 years in the Finnish FINRISK and DILGOM cohorts and an Estonian biobank cohort during a seven-year follow-up.

"The findings reinforce the idea that a versatile and healthy diet plays a key role, and even has an independent role in health. If we can intervene in deviant eating behaviours, such as food neophobia, already in childhood or youth, this will help in preventing potential future health problems early on," said THL Research Professor Markus Perola.

The study report was run by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a highly esteemed international journal on nutritional science. It was funded by the Juho Vainio Foundation and the Yrjö Jahnsson Foundation.