Life Wellbeing Some personality types make it harder to maintain a healthy diet: CSIRO

Some personality types make it harder to maintain a healthy diet: CSIRO

diet health
Chocolate and confectionary are the most irresistible 'problem foods', according to CSIRO. Photo: Getty
Twitter Facebook Reddit Pinterest Email

Certain personality types make persevering with a weight-loss diet more challenging than others, according to new CSIRO research.

The study of more than 90,000 Australian adults analysed why many people find it difficult to maintain a healthy diet, focusing on the top five diet personality types: The Thinker, The Craver, The Foodie, The Socialiser and The Freewheeler.

Food cravings and stress were among the main forces that derailed dieting goals.

Almost two in three Australians are considered overweight or obese and more than half (58 per cent) of those categorised as ‘Cravers’ are obese.

Chocolate and confectioneries were identified as the most irresistible “problem foods”.

It was also found that baby boomers and older Australians are more likely to be ‘Socialisers’ and ‘Foodies’, suggesting lifestyle and social connections influence a person’s eating patterns at different stages of life.

CSIRO behavioural scientist Dr Sinead Golley said personality could explain why previous weight-loss methods have been unsuccessful.

“If you’re frustrated by unsuccessful weight-loss attempts, having a better understanding of your personal triggers and diet patterns can be the crucial piece of the puzzle,” she said.

“One in five Cravers have tried to lose weight more than 25 times.

orange diet health
CSIRO has identified personality types that make dieting more challenging. Photo: Getty

“On the other hand, people with the most common diet personality type – known as the ‘Thinker’ – tend to have high expectations and tend to be perfectionists, giving up when things get challenging.

“We found that younger people commonly used fitness trackers and apps to lose weight, while older generations turned to diet books and support groups.”

Accredited practising dietitian Melanie McGrice told The New Daily that personality was an important factor when counselling clients.

“Personality type definitely impacts how I treat my clients,” she said.

“I don’t believe that personality type makes it impossible for anyone to achieve dietary goals, however it can be more challenging for some personality types than others.

“For those who find it difficult, they just need a good practitioner who is skilled at reading people’s behaviour styles and working with behaviour change.”

Ms McGrice said those who were goal-orientated often found slow results frustrating and required numbers to help them reach their goal.

Meanwhile, the more nurturing types may need more motivation towards making changes in supporting other people in their lives, such as family members, to bring the focus back to their diet.

She said that while personality was a major factor, there were many other impacts on dieting, including financial problems, genetic makeup, being time-poor, putting others first, medical conditions, medications, lifestyle and location of residence.

Nutritionist and dietician Dr Rosemary Stanton noted that the research did not take into account the complexity of personalities, and that it is difficult to fit people into one of the groups.

She added: “It also ignores many reasons why people overeat including food company inducements to consume, various emotional states that may vary from day to day and the lack of physical activity.”

Top five diet personality types

  • The Thinker (37 per cent): overthinking and worrying about failure leads to stress which can derail diet progress
  • The Craver (26 per cent): craves food and finds it hard to resist temptation
  • The Socialiser (17 per cent): food and alcohol has a large role in their social life
  • The Foodie (16 per cent): passion for making, eating and experiencing food
  • The Freewheeler (4 per cent): makes spontaneous and impulsive food choices, finds planning meals hard

Wondered what your diet type could be? Find out here.

View Comments

Promoted Stories