A FOOD phobia has left a Wyton man unable to eat anything apart from mild Cheddar cheese ever since he was a toddler. Dave Nunley, 29, eats about 16st of Cheddar, preferably grated, each year and has never consumed a hot meal in his life – not even hot ch
A FOOD phobia has left a Wyton man unable to eat anything apart from mild Cheddar cheese ever since he was a toddler.
Dave Nunley, 29, eats about 16st of Cheddar, preferably grated, each year and has never consumed a hot meal in his life - not even hot cheese.
The BMW panel beater explained that, while his diet may seem to be unhealthy, the cheese was actually keeping him alive.
"If I had a choice then I would not eat like this," he told The Hunts Post. "I do not think I'm putting my life in danger, I think I'm actually keeping myself alive because if I didn't eat cheese I wouldn't eat much else."
After talking with experts on a BBC television programme, Dave can now eat an occasional bowl of Ready Brek or a bag of salt and vinegar crisps.
But it is only on very rare occasions that he is able to cope with other foods, and instead has to eat cheddar, about 375g a day.
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He said when he has tried other foods his throat closes up, making him feel sick.
According to Mr Nunley, the only side effect of his diet is tiredness and he considers his health is "spot on" apart from lacking in Vitamin B.
"I would consider myself fairly healthy. I take vitamin tablets and go to the gym two or three times a week," he said.
He has been living on cheese ever since he was a toddler and believes it stems from his refusal to drink milk as a baby.
"Once when I was four years old I nearly starved to death because my parents wouldn't let me eat cheese and I wouldn't eat anything else," he said.
As a child, Dave was bullied because he did not eat the same food as other children.
"They didn't understand why I would only eat cheese and some kids made my life very difficult."
To try to overcome the problem he has tried hypnotherapy, acupuncture and even taken part in a BBC show about people with eating disorders, but to no avail.
"I feel a bit awkward sometimes but going on the television programme has shown me that there are other people like me. I never chose to be this way but I have learned to live with it and not to be embarrassed or to hide anyway."
However, medics on the BBC3 programme warned his unhealthy diet could lead to his nervous system failing as he consumes three times the recommended daily amount of fat through his cheese-only diet.
Psychological coach, Benjamin Fry who worked with Dave on the programme said this case should act as "a cautionary tale to parents who force feed their children."
He said: "This is the extreme edge of a common phenomenon. Often children who refuse to eat at the dinner table are seeking attention, and parents should work to address issues away from the table and the food problems will solve themselves.
"As a child, Dave battled with his parents about food and that manifested itself as a food phobia. Although he is now grown up, the battle still wages inside him and he refuses to eat for that reason.
"I only scratched the surface of his eating problem. He needs therapy to address it properly."
Dave's story will be shown on BBC3 on Wednesday, February 28, as part of a seven-part series called Freaky Eaters.