Endlessly indulging in pizza, French fries, and cheeseburgers sounds like a junk food addict’s paradise. For 21-year-old Jay Campbell of the U.K., this is not paradise — it's everyday life.
Campbell — who only ate chips until the age of 15 — has a daily diet that consists primarily of toast for breakfast, a large pizza from Dominoes for lunch, and cheeseburgers for dinner. Fruits and vegetables — with the exception of potatoes (if served as chips or waffles) — have never been a part of the 21-year-old’s diet. The thought of eating healthy foods just makes her feel “physically sick.”
“If mum is cooking a roast dinner with vegetables I have go in to a different room because I can’t stand the smell. Sometimes I have to open all the windows to get rid of it," Campbell told the Daily Mail.
Her disdain for fruits and vegetables is attributed to a condition she developed at an early age — gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), also known as acid reflux. The chronic digestive disease occurs when the stomach acid, or sometimes bile, flows back into the esophagus, irritating its lining, according to the Mayo Clinic.
The disease affects 10 to 20 million people in the U.S. Campbell experienced the symptoms of acid reflux at an early age, but was not officially diagnosed with the condition until she was 12. Common signs and symptoms associated with GERD include heart burn, a burning sensation below the breast bone after eating or at night. Acid reflux is not related to the types of food that people eat.
Afraid of the severity of the symptoms as a child, Campbell could only eat one thing without feeling any agony — chips.
"We tried to hide vegetables in her dinner, but she always found out and refused to eat them," Campbell’s mother, Carolyn, 42, told the Daily Mail.
Doctors were successful at aiding her acid reflux, but Campbell still struggles with a phobia of food. It was not until she saw a child psychologist that she started to eat foods like pizza, burgers, and cheese. However, as soon as the phobia starts, she can’t even think of taking a bite of other foods, reports the Daily Mail. She still struggles to eat a roast dinner or even homemade lasagna.
Her phobia has negatively impacted her love life. Men typically tend to offer to take her out for a fancy meal, but her romantic dates always end up in fast-food chains like McDonald’s. “Once a guy booked a lovely Italian place but we ended up in McDonald's because I couldn’t face eating anything on the menu,” said Campbell.
Despite her poor diet habits, the 21-year-old stands at 5-feet-8-inches, and weighs 138 lbs. with a size 10 figure. She reportedly does not suffer from any health problems even after strictly eating junk food for over decade.
Frequently wolfing down meals from fast-food restaurants can contribute to a significant amount of fat and sodium intake. High salt content can pose many health risks, such as high blood pressure, stroke, and poor kidney function, according to Stony Brook University.
A 17-year-old British teen with a similar story to Campbell's collapsed and was rushed to the hospital after 15 years of only eating chicken nuggets. Stacey Irvine’s unhealthy diet staple led her to being diagnosed with anemia and swollen veins in her tongue, CBS News reports.
Campbell does not wish to remain on a junk food diet forever. “I would like to eat like a normal person, but until I can overcome my phobia of food, then that day won’t happen for a long time," she told the Daily Mail.