Nutrition Community
Teen Doesn't Eat-Never Hungry
About This Community:

This patient support community is for discussions relating to nutrition, a balanced diet, calories, cholesterol, diet and disease, food preparation, vegetarian diet, and vitamins and minerals.

Font Size:
A
A
A
Background:
Blank
Blank
Blank
Blank Blank

Teen Doesn't Eat-Never Hungry

I have a 15 year boy that has always been a picky eater.  Last year, I took him to the doctor for a physical and explained my concerns. She said as long as his weight is normal (it was in the low percentile for average) don't push food on him anymore.  To be honest, it was a relief not to argue over meals anymore.  I told him to eat when he wants, what he wants and take a daily multivitamin.  He's tall and very thin, to the point he is aware of it and tries to hide it under bulky clothing.  He has expressed he would love to gain weight, that I should buy protein drinks or anything high in calories.  My question is:  Is there a condition where someone is rarely hungry and has an aversion to most foods?  He says sometimes he gets hungry, then it passes and he's not hungry anymore.  He wants to change, but nothing looks good to eat.  I would like to add he does eat cereal and pizza with no problems and never gets tired of this diet.  He has been this way since about 2years old.  I can't seem to find anything on the internet except about anorexia, which doesn't seem right because he wants to gain weight.
Related Discussions
37 Comments Post a Comment
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Anorexia can happen in boys, but it's pretty obvious if someone is anorexic and your his mom, so probably not. This could be due to contrast and the fact that not all people have the same amount of hunger as others. I remember I used to eat a lot when I was 12 and 13, but began to feel full and not botherred with food when the initial stages of puberty were over. Maybe he is just a hungry person and you are comparing his appetite to when he was younger and ate more. You will have to determine this for yourself.

I would suggest giving him a wide range of appetizing foods which he can eat leisurely, which I'm sure you've tried, but I mean a really wide range. Baugettes which have been made into nice sandwiches with lettuce and chicken put in the fridge for him to eat when he wants, waffles, cheese, bacon, lamb chops, rice, nuts, basically giving him the luxury of having the food he wants when he wants. This should break him out of any petty foibles he might have about eating. If you don't want him to end up like Eric Cartman you can always just, buy the ingredients and slowly allow him to cook for himself.
Blank
63754_tn?1290966980
Well, glad to hear he likes to eat something!

Sound like the reason for his being thin is that he really doesn't eat much.

Does he have his sense of taste and smell?  Does he have any other signs like those of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?  Is his liver OK, if so?

I heard of a woman who went on a long airplane ride and immediately afterward lost her sense of taste and smell.   I suspect that there was someone sitting next to her that was exposed to 2-butoxyethanol & was breathing it out in their breath.  Exposure is vapors in eyes.  www.valdezlink.com/acute.htm

I am talking about 2-butoxyethanol and its exposure is not age related.  Anyone at any age can get the vapors in their eyes.  I strongly suspect it for being a primary cause of SIDS.  Check for blood in urine, and damage to red blood cells by immune system.  Look for any autoimmune issue, as it could cause many of them.

In particular, it causes autoimmune hemolytic anemia, but doctors don't look into that, because the counts or red blood cells are at least borderline normal for many, many years.

It seems to be a primary cause of autoimmune metabolic issues.

Loss of appetite?  I don't know.  But it is possible
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
My brother-in-law is just like that. Today he's 28 and my mother-in-law says he's been this way all his life. He's tall and very thin and he too wants to gain weight, but he just doesn't. He too, loves to eat pizza and some sort of nut flavored crisps which is popular here. He's also been taken to the doctor and the doc said eactly what you were told. But still, make sure that there aren't any other complaints connected with this.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I have the exact same problem that your son has.  I am 25 years old, 5'9" and only weigh about 130 on a good day.  I get hungry now and then but I usally just let it pass because nothing ever looks good to eat.  It's funny that cereal and pizza is what he eats all the time because that is what I usally find most appitising.  I also drink alot of fluids (I would much rather be able to drink a meal then eat one. Eating always seams boring and like a waste of time to me) I also have terrible sleeping habits, but that might not have anything to do with it.  The only time I have ever been able to gain weight was while I was working out and taking alot of protein.  As soon as I stopped working out and drinking a few protein shakes a day I lost all the weight.  I my self am (planning) thinking about going to see a councler about my problem.  To see if it is mental or physical.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
High protein shakes and an appropriate exercise program are known to add muscle to thin frames. Ask your doctor for a referral to a physician specializing in issues related to atheletic training.

To prevent further heath problems, however, you must get your child to consume fruits and vegetables. A juicer may help in this quest.
Blank
553952_tn?1215564224
I sent you a PM message. I hope you read it. I see this post has 3 yrs wroted.
Jule
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
I am a boy and im 15 years old and im a picky eater.  All i eat is Pizzia, soup, pb&J and thats about it.  i drink 1 glass of milk every day. I all so eat pop tarts for break feast.  i want to gain 30 pounds , i only way 100 pounds. please comment and help me find a way to gain weight.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
OMG, I cannot believe I found this forum.  My son is 17, he is exactly the same as the rest.  He is 5'11, 110 lb.  All he likes to eat is pizza, cereal, and pb&j  and chips.   Recently he caught a cold and seems thinner and I noticed he has dark circles under his eyes.  We are very concerned and think he might have an eating disorder or some physcological reason for not wanting to eat.  I feel bad because I am always bugging him to eat his dinner.  Now that I have read your comments, it seems like it is not uncommon, we will still go to the doctors, but, I think just having alot of what he likes to eat in the house is the best thing now.  Thanks for all your comments, as a mom, it makes me feel better to know he will be ok.
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
I have a relative who is 11 years old, a boy and he has always had a horrible appetite - just doesn't want anything. He seems to eat what we call a 'white' diet:  white bread, macaroni and cheese, dinner rolls, toast, etc. He will not eat meat - won't even have a hamburger or fries unless it is from a fast food place.  No fruits, no vegetables, no eggs, some milk he will drink - won't even eat candy. He is small for his size and the parents don't push the questions with the doctors and the doctors keep saying - oh, he's small for his age.  He has bad looking teeth and seems pale most the time and his eyes don't look healthy.  Blood work has not shown anything. Any ideas? Endocrine problem?  an eating disorder?
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
I have to comment just because all of the respones seem either not helpful, or are futher related to boys (while i do understand that the original post was as well) I just want to say that I'm a 22 year old female and have always been the same way. I can barely manage to eat once a day and am rarely ever hungry. It's not because there is anything wrong but because of our animal insticts. Some people need more food than others while some bodies only require the bare minimum for survival. Not everyone eats until they feel full and not everyone requires the same nutritional values. Our body will tells us when it needs nutrients and when it no longer requires them. We were meants to survive not feel full.

On another note, seeing as your son wants to gain weight and has this issue, I would suggest protein drinks and meal suppliments such as boost. With this type of motabolism the body seems to respond better to liquids instead of solids.
Blank
1216231_tn?1272479304
There were times during my teenage years (female; now 23-year-old) when I was virtually never hungry.  I didn't dare mention this to my parents, because my mother would freak out and whine about how I never appreciate her cooking, but after a growth-spurt, I just generally wasn't very hungry.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I have a 12 years old son who weighs 65 lbs. He never eats anything. He has ADHD and is on some meds that could keep his appetite suppreses but he has never eaten anything. He does get a bit hungry at night but only for junk food. I am affraid that at his age it could affect his brain from growing along with everything else. I have taken him to the doctor but they have found nothing. He just will not eat and when he does he only eats half and then tells me he won't eat anymore. I am scared for his health. Any comments would be appreciated
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
My 19 year old is never hungry.  In fact he says when he tries to eat, he has trouble swallowing.  He doesn't want to be skinny, so I don't think it's anorexia.  What he eats when he eats is chicken wings, pizza and chips.  He only eats late at night.  He's about 6 ft tall and weights 120 on a good day.  He will drink the V8 Fusion drinks and the 350 calorie nutrition drinks.  He says "it *****" to never be hungry.  I wish I knew what I could do to help him.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I, too, have one of those sons.  He is 18 now, 5'10", 125 pounds, and diagnosed with ADHD.  Like everyone else here, he has never had any real appetite, from the time solid food was introduced in his babyhood.  Like many others, he vastly prefers to drink rather than eat, and is indifferent to sweets.  Just to keep things interesting, he will occasionally have what he calls “acute hunger” attacks, which are sudden debilitating episodes of hunger accompanied by nausea and, unfortunately, an  inability to eat.  He, too, will experience difficulty swallowing.  We have visited physicians and psychologists without receiving any real help at all, although his pediatrician did note that many ADHD patients will not have good appetites, even without medication.  I think it’s stating the obvious to say that these lads do not have normal hunger mechanisms.  

Our coping strategy is to play to his strength; namely, liquids.  He tries to drink half an Ensure in the morning, along with whatever bread or cereal he can eat.  At night, he will have a glass of chocolate milk, although we have attempted milk shakes as well.  Although we have not tried the fruit-veg fusion drinks, I really like the idea, since we all know vegetables are on the far side of impossible.  Of course, a multivitamin.  He is taking the minimum dosage of Adderall (adderrall) he can cope with.

I don’t think that brain development is at any serious risk.  In our case, my son is currently taking pre-calculus, physics, and macro-economics, and did well on all those standardized tests the kids have to take these days.  He got admitted to the university of his choice.  So, it is possible to have a non-eater do well intellectually.  His physical skills are not great; he will always be the last one picked for any team in phys ed class.   But that he has learned how to deal with.  Good luck!
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I am one of these kids you are discussing i am 19 5'7 135 all of my friends are similar in height but weigh a good 15-20lbs more then i do. I mainly eat pizza, cheeseburgers, and cereal. Infact you could say i live on those three things. from my experiance its more to do with being a picky eater. always have been always will be. Being picky has made me prefer liquids to solids as well as not want to eat when im sick of the same stuff all the time but nothing sounds good so i let the hunger pass. It is frustrating but its something people like me just need to cope with. My advice is to tell your sons to simply try to get one good sized meal a day in and then eat when you feel the need the rest of the day. They are not sick or anorexic just thinner people who will fill out with age as everyone else simply takes time.

P.S. You can also tell your sons they can look forward to being the good looking middle aged men with out guts sticking out over their belts. Then they wont care at all how much they weighed as teenagers
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
It is a phobia/psychological problem and should be treated as such.  He needs therapy.

Children who are picky eaters grow out of it, if they dont they need treatment.

At this  age and while being tall, the fridge door should be opening and closing every half hour !
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
Hi

I am 35 and I am also the same. My whole life.
I went to doc's and even took steroids... Nothing helps.
I would love to gain weight but nothing helps.
And no I did not grow out of it and no therapy will help...

I work at pharmaceutical wholesale supplier and I have try ed a wide range of stuff. Nothing makes me hungry...

Have there Thyroids tested (overactive)
Blank
1556084_tn?1294473163
I too am rarely hungry anymore. I’m an 18 year old female and I’ve always been very thin naturally, always eating small amounts of food because I fill up quickly. But lately I’ve been having on/off bouts of simply having no appetite and no desire to eat anything. Nothing sounds “good” to eat. I’ve never known what it’s like to get excited about a meal or something, like I know many people do. i’m 5′2″ and my peak weight was about 94 lbs, which was great. Right now I’m scared to weigh myself, but my low is 87 lbs. I’m probably around there right now if I were to guess. I don’t look malnourished, but I do look quite thin and people have commented on it out of the blue with things like, “You are so thin!” or the more insulting, “You need to eat!” People don’t think about it, but pointing out that someone is too thin is no different than pointing out that someone is overweight. You can tell someone, “You need to stop eating!” But it’s okay to tell someone they’re too thin and need to eat more. Don’t you think I know that?
Sorry I went off on a rant, I’m very upset about this. I’d really like a nutritionist to help me eat in a way that will be healthy for me, eating things with more calories and protein, and making sure I eat regularly. Weight loss and eating “healthfully” is stressed so much in the U.S., but what’s healthful for more than half the nation is not what’s healthful for me. I need high protein, high calorie foods. I don’t know. I’m at a loss here. I just want to have an appetite like everyone else.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I have the same problem. As a 17 yr old girl, being very skinny isnt looked on as too bad of a thing, but I am unsatisfied with my weight nonetheless. I am rarely hungry, eat few things, and when I do get hungry it passes quickly, just as all of you have described previously. Thankfully, I have found the answer, and a way to return my natural appetite.
I live in a state where medical marijuana is legal and recommended to patients with certain disorders, including Anorexia. NOT anorexia nervosa, the mental disease, just anorexia, the term for a lack of hunger. The cannibanoids in marijuana stimulate the body's natural hunger mechanism. I understand that many of you may not want to use "illicit drugs" on your children, but you must understand that it is a VALID medical treatment. Marijuana doesnt need to be smoked to be effective, it is perscribed for many things, including returning apettite in people with many medical conditions, such as AIDS, and cancer.
I know many of you will not be happy with this, but I am just proposing the solution that I have found. I have found help. Please at least consider it. Talk to a doctor if you live in a place where medical usage is legal.
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
I used to be an anorexic and what helped me gain weight was exercise. Intense exercise really burned my energy and I found myself starving afterwards.At that point I had restricted myself long enough that I rarely felt hunger and filled up too quickly. Using those muscles and the energy will probably be a good way to eat more while gaining healthy muscle weight.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I am very concerned about my 14 year old son, his eating is terrible some days he doesnt eat anything but a piece of pizza but will stuff himself with sweets and energy drinks. He is painfully thin and says he doesnt like the taste of food, when researching this online the only eating disordrs you get information about are anorexia and bulimia and i would say he has neither but he definately has an eating disorder of some sort.

He waits until i am in bed and goes downstairs and gets crisps and biscuits and then stays up till about 3 or 4am and then I cant get him out of bed, at the weekends its like a power struggle between us as he would lie in bed till tea time and I dont think this is right for a teenager, he should be up and out with friends or whatever but when you speak about any of this he just has a major strop and stomps about the house as if i am in the wrong not him.

I know if I take him to the doctor he will go off on one and embarass me because he does this everywhere he goes. I just dont know what to do.
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
This is very interesting and comforting to read. My son is 18, 6' 5" tall and weighs 135lbs. He doesn't want to eat. He forces himself to eat and finds it hard to swallow food. The first meal of the day is the hardest for him to get down. He stays up until the early morning hours and is able to eat more then. He thinks it is phycological. He has OCD, but has controlled some of the repetitive behaviors throughout his life with his mind.
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
ive noticed tht wen im around my gf and talking to her and stuff im like never hungry... shes always bugged how i never eat in front of her but its bc im never hungry when im with her or talking to her... is there a reason for this?
ive also noticed im never hungry wen i wake up i always hav to be up and running for about an hr b4 im hungry... is there a reason for either one of these?
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
My 13 year old son has the SAME PROBLEM!! We have done multiple blood tests, fecal tests, upper G.I endoscopy/biopsy... etc etc. The endoscopy/biopsy showed plaque on his esophogus (not sure cause- probably antibiotic use) but also showed lactose intolerance.He was given prevacid and told to use lactaid if/when eating milk products. The morning nausea has somewhat subsided but he STILL DOESN"T care to eat  but maybe once a day. He has a very slim frame his cheeks are sunken in and many times has dark circles under his eyes. I find it so interesting that many of you have also noted that they stay up late at night-my son also has trouble falling asleep. He has since he was a baby! I am at my wits end, he does not have anorexia-in the most common sense but wants to eat, wants to have an appetite.He just doesn't or if he does eat he gets nauseous. He went out to eat with his brother and dad and said he wanted to eat but the food looked disgusting.  I once made him eat a few almonds just to get something in his body and he threw them up! I am concerned about his physical and mental health. Any suggestions?
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
My son is 15.  He has always been a picky eater.  To this day, he has never eaten a hot dog, hamburger, steak, chicken, fruit vegetable, etc.  He lives on cereal, pizza, (usually without the cheese), waffles (only homemade), goldfish, and pretzels.  Somehow, he is nearly 6' tall and weighs 175 lbs.  I sure don't know how.  The typical answer is that he'll grow out of it.  Well, we're still waiting.  Has anyone ever gotten an actual medical diagnosis?  There has to be a cause, and we can never get any kind of answer.
Blank
757137_tn?1347200053
To be a good mother you put wholesome food on the table. That is called dinner. We decide what is proper to eat - not children. And they can eat it or starve. Children never choose to starve. If you son eats badly it is because you have allowed him to. After all, who is it who buys the pizza?
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
Hi I m 15+.My height is 6..Weght is like 55kg or something.I m not eating like earlier Days.I dont bother eating now also.I dont feel hungry at all.can someone help me from this sick and i have a cold also.because of my parents are telling to eat i m eating a little.can anyone tell me to get away from this sick. . .
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
This is such a relief--my son is 12 and is never hungry.  he has weighed 70 lbs since he was 8 years old.  He has gotten taller, but does not put on weight.  His pediatrician became concerned and sent him for all sorts of tests.  Everything came back fine, and the gi study showed that his stomach emptied slowly, causing him to feel full longer.

He too, eats pizza, but not so much cereal.  I usually can get him to drink a milkshake in the morning, and I load it with ice cream, 1/2 and 1/2 instead of milk, and plenty of Carnation instant breakfast.  I figure he gets about 500 calories per shake.

He is very active and usually forgets to eat.  He never finishes anything I give him.

It is a relief to see that there are others in my situation, and it may not be as bad as I think it could be.  
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
Hi! :) sometimes when a person is craving bread (which it seems your son lives off) their body is telling them they need nitrogen, which is found in most high protein foods such as fish, poultry, or beans. I would also like to suggest a paleo, juiced, or vegan diet, with a nutritionist as a guide (at least for the beginning, since it can be tricky to balance). With a paleo diet your son wouldn't be eating any processed foods and would have access to protein. A vegan diet would be over all beneficial to his health if done right. And juicing is a quick way to get the nutrition he needs without needing to swallow whole foods.
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
Hi there all. I'm reading over and over that your children are having problems eating and putting on weight. Have any of you seen a dietitian? Honestly, that would be my best assumption to fixing any of their physical issues. And yes, they may in fact have a slow metabolism, which would require much less food than you are accustomed to, but the plain fact is, everyone's body works a little different. Try a few different diets, especially with a child/teen/young adult who has ADD or ADHD, which can both be controlled with simple dietary restrictions. Both a paleo lifestyle and juicing are great alternatives to the average american diet, which relies heavily on starches and fats.  A paleo diet only consists of foods that you would be able to "gather or hunt" such as fish, vegetables, and fruits. Juicing (as mentioned before) may me much easier for your kids to not only consume, but process due to the micro-nutrients being more accessible. Both of these changes in diet will (if done right) giv
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
my 16 year old son does the same thing. nothing i give him to eat he says its not good  and it taste bad, he does not want to bathe and he is always stearing at something i dont know what. and wispering to him self  i took him to a doctor all his test came back normal he is always sleepy and tired  if people have the same thing please i need help with him.   i am alicia my number is 1767 1645199
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
My 16-year-old son is 6'1" tall and weighs 120. He doesn't care to eat but wants to gain weight. His doctor said not to worry about it, but I do.  His dad is a food pusher, always trying to get him to eat, offering to get him whatever he wants, but he never wants anything, except a steak burrito. Can't make a steady diet out of that. I'm concerned and frustrated.
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
Yea... As a 22 year old male. I was recently diagnosed with Graves Disease... I am Hyper Thyroid and have probably been so since 2nd or 3rd grade.. I too was a picky eater.. only eating popcorn and a few of my mas homecooked meals and yes pizza (lol). When I was diagnosed I was 6'0 120p and I thought it was all normal. I also could not sleep. I would tell my ma and she would say im not trying hard enough! /cry I didn't know what to do.. I was sitting next to my buddy one day when my ma noticed my neck was bigger than his.. Well it wasn't right because my buddy works out and weighs 200 pounds. We immediately saw the doctor.. and he was surprised because he was certain I didnt have it (idiot).. Well!!!! I had it! My whole life! and I thought it was all normal!! I stumbled on this sight! and noticed some of the storys were oddly similar. Please get your child checked for thyroid problems! I almost died and don't want anyone to go through what I went through...  Have a blessed day everyone!
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
Have you looked into food allergies? They manifest in strange ways. Even if they aren't full blown allergies they could be good sensitivities. My husband never cared for milk and found out he is highly allergic to it, both in long term and short term allergy tests. I also read a book about Chrons disease. They man could not gain weight. He found out when he was in his 20's that he had Chrons disease and when he modified his diet, he had a better appetite and was able to maintain a healthy weight.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
It is refreshing to see so many others with the same issues we are struggling with in our 14 year old son. But was hoping to find answers. Has anyone on here found something that works.
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
Re: marijuana for appetite stimulant. BE VERY CAREFUL!! l The use of marijuana has been linked to cyclical vomiting syndrome (CVS). And trust me it is worse than being a little under weight and having low appetite.  CVS  Ia horrible non curable  hard to control disease and IT IS 100 % linked to marijuana usage.  Read about it.  Come out of no where.   And after an episode my teen/adult child  loses upwards of 8 -10 lbs!!   It takes days and  days to get back onto solid foods. and months to make up the lost pounds. Then another episode. Vicious circle. PLEASE try other routes.  I wish I had tried harder to get her off marijauna. now its almost impossible.  Sure it helps the appetite temporarily but the end cost .....  
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
Sounds like you are writing about my 11 1/2 yr old son - to a T! 70 lbs and holding for a LONG time.  He gets straight A's and is a superior athlete, but I have NO idea how.  He's never been a good sleeper (since before he was born) doesn't eat much at all (prefers sweets, pizza, chips, etc).  He used to LOVE fruit, so I try to keep as many kiwi, strawberries and mangoes in the house as I can.  I also make him milkshakes w/ice cream and Instant Breakfast added.  He's 3rd percentile for height (down from a high of 10%), so we're very worried, of course.
Blank
Post a Comment
To
Blank
Weight Tracker
Weight Tracker
Start Tracking Now
Nutrition Community Resources
RSS Expert Activity
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
How to Silence Your Inner Critic an...
Apr 16 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
Emotional Eaters: How to Silence Yo...
Mar 26 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
1344197_tn?1392822771
Blank
Vaginal vs. Laparoscopic Hysterecto...
Feb 19 by J. Kyle Mathews, MD, DVMBlank
Top Healthy Living Answerers
1236893_tn?1394988190
Blank
gymdandee
NJ
Avatar_f_tn
Blank
Anne35
1530171_tn?1362547225
Blank
TheLightSeeker
London, ON
Avatar_f_tn
Blank
ImAnnaliese
757137_tn?1347200053
Blank
allmymarbles
NJ