Interesting article - not sure how solid the science is, but this article reminded me of the challenges a few here report. Excerpts:
"Even though Sharon DaVanport was so underweight at 17 that she was diagnosed with anorexia, the label never made sense to her. She wasn’t obsessed with staying skinny or dieting — rather, she found that many types of food caused nausea or other forms of sensory discomfort. But when she tried to explain this to her doctor, she was told she was “in denial” about her real problems. Only years later, when she received another diagnosis, did she begin to make sense of her experience. DaVanport, now 50, a mother of four, and president of the Autism Women’s Network, has the type of autism formerly known as Asperger Syndrome.
"Researchers have discovered a number of surprising connections between autism and anorexia, which run in the same families and share many similar symptoms. Some experts even suspect that autism is sometimes misdiagnosed as anorexia in girls. Girls with autistic traits may restrict their eating because of a desire for order or routine, or because of sensory discomfort with food, rather than because of fears over weight gain. But a doctor faced with an underweight adolescent patient who doesn’t eat enough will be more likely to diagnose anorexia, which is stereotypically female, than autism, which has a higher incidence in males.
"I am highly reactive to food textures as well as odors. What comes off as a mild smell to someone else will be so overwhelming to me that I gag. I have the same response and gag reflex to various textures of food. I recall a time when I was 10 years old and I tried explaining to my mother that certain foods made me gag, or that the smell was so overwhelming it made me sick, but I was unsuccessful at communicating how serious my sensory issues were.
"I also recall making an attempt to explain the pain I felt from specific textures: I commented to my mother that peas tickled my teeth to the point it caused pain. My mother chuckled and replied that it was impossible for my teeth to tickle. The sensation I was trying to describe was the same feeling I had previously experienced when someone tickled me to the point it hurt. That was the last time I remember trying to explain my sensory challenges with food.
"I was extremely thin during my youth, especially as a teen, and people constantly asked me if I was anorexic. I was sensitive to how thin I was and I developed a lot of shame connected to my physical appearance. I believe if I had been properly diagnosed as autistic, then the food aversions due to sensory challenges would have been recognized."
"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP ♡