Concocting Food: The Bizarre Tastes of Binge Eating Disorder

Mixing foods, creating strange tastes and playing with textures is an under researched but known activity often seen in Binge Eating Disorder, with similar behaviours seen in Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia. Twenty five percent of young adults diagnosed with Binge Eating Disorder describe regularly making food concoctions. 

Combining food types to create odd mixtures is something that is believed to be related to the dietary restriction or starvation response in the brain. This response has sometimes been called the ‘famine hypothesis’, following reports of people in crisis situations where survival is necessary mixing unusual non-food items as a result of malnutrition and to stave hunger. 

Concocting foods can lead to increased shame and is often practised in secret. Young people who mix foods often feel embarrassed and hide the practice from others. Some young people may have been mixing or combining unusual cocktails of flavours from an early age. Many young people describe feeling numb, disgusted, depressed, angry, fat and ashamed after eating foods that they have mixed together, sometimes in larger quantities than they intended. 

Teens diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa may create unusual foods or adapt foods on the plate. This may be seen as large amounts of strong tasting condiments being used in large quantities on other food items. Maybe large quantities of Tabasco on lettuce leaves or toast spread with a thick layer of cinnamon, salt or chilli. The items usually form an unusual combination.  

Combining foods or mixing bizarre tastes and textures may indicate that your teen or young person has a relationship with food that would benefit from being explored by a registered Eating Disorder Professional. Children under 12 should be reviewed by their paediatrician. Young people 12 and over should be assessed by a mental health team. 



Fiona Yassin is the International Clinical Director of The Wave Clinic. Fiona is a UK Registered Adolescent and Family Psychotherapist and Clinical Supervisor (Licence number #361609 NCP/ICP), further trained in the specialty of Eating Disorders and Borderline Personality Disorder Treatment. Fiona is trained in FBT (Family Based Therapy), CBTE for eating disorders, FREED (King’s College, London), EMDR for eating disorders (EMDRIA) and has a Post-Graduate Diploma in Neuroscience and Trauma from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Fiona works with international families and family offices from the UK, Dubai, Kuwait, Singapore and Malaysia. Fiona can be contacted by email on