I am looking for a word that implies hungry but all food tastes bad and unappealing

This is the scenario:

One of my characters is starving after being trapped in a POW camp for several weeks, but when he finally gets out, the horrible conditions in the camp have made all food taste grimy and gross, so he is hungry, but food makes him gag

Does that make sense?

  • 1
    Loss of appetite, perhaps? Commented Nov 3, 2020 at 4:35
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    I agree with @TinfoilHat, loss of appetite. But the scenario is unrealistic. Really hungry people eat anything that vaguely resembles food, even if it smells bad.
    – Xanne
    Commented Nov 3, 2020 at 6:04
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    Why are you looking for a single word? Why not expand on thee theme of his fears that food has permanently lost its appeal, will always be tainted by that experience? Make something of the fact that now he has food he needs to rediscover the joy in it?
    – Spagirl
    Commented Nov 3, 2020 at 18:08
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    @Spagirl True, I will keep that in mind Commented Nov 3, 2020 at 18:19
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    A doctor might say your character is suffering from "asitia," which means the loathing of food, but also the loss of appetite.
    – Zan700
    Commented Nov 3, 2020 at 22:27

1 Answer 1


Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID). If you have ARFID you will feel a very strong need to avoid food in general or certain foods because of their smell, taste or texture. The idea of eating can fill you with anxiety. ARFID does not tend to be connected to issues with body image – it is an anxiety about the process of eating itself.


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