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5 Research Findings To Reveal The Connection Between Your Food Choices And Personality Type

5 Research Findings To Reveal The Connection Between Your Food Choices And Personality Type

We live in a society that is obsessed with food. You’ll find plenty of self-proclaimed gourmets who enjoy eating food a little bit too much, and there are also the fitness zealots with body-image issues who subside on nuts and berries. Most people fall somewhere in between, and we all tend to have different tastes and affinities. However, there has been quite a bit of research done on finding a link between someone’s personality and his or her eating habits, and it looks like there are certain traits that makes us more likely to engage in specific eating behaviors.

In this article we will be looking at five research findings that suggest a connection between food choices and certain personality types. The ultimate goal is to examine the findings to determine whether they are accurate and reliable, i.e. to see if we can use the information to our advantage and make a positive lifestyle change.

1. Thrill seekers love spicy food

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Spicy food

    Way back in the 70’s, a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania argued that the reason why people enjoy the burning sensation of spicy food, is the same reason why some people enjoy potentially dangerous activities, i.e. they were thrill seekers. Further research, like the work of Nadia Byrnes and John Haze has supposedly shown that sensation seekers – determined with the use of the Arnett Inventory of Sensation Seeking test – handle spicy food much better than other people.

    The research involved giving people water infused with capsaicin, the active ingredient in hot peppers, and having them answer questions on how intense the sensation felt and whether they enjoyed it. Although there are several other factors that can account for this affinity towards spicy food, cultural background and upbringing being the major ones, the study is quite solid and offers an interesting insight.

    2. People-pleasers tend to overeat when they have company

    The fact that social butterflies end up eating a bit more than they should won’t really come as much of a surprise to anyone who regularly eats out with friends and has guests over for several hours a day several times a week. When you are out and about you are bound to get tempted to have another snack if a friend grabs some fast food, but it seems that those who are eager to please others are at much greater risk of overeating throughout the day. A study done on pairs of young women concluded that people tend to mimic their companions’ eating habits, so someone who is a big eater can easily set the tempo and cause others to overeat.

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    However it’s not merely about mimicking our friends, as a Case Western Reserve University study from a few years back shows. Namely, those who were found to be inclined toward people-pleasing – as determined with the use of a questionnaire – readily accepted candy offered to them by an actor pretending to be another participant in the study, and took more than other participants.

    3. Overly emotional people tend to gorge on snacks in secret

    Sweets

      We are all well aware of the fact that some people are emotional eaters, meaning that they use food as a coping mechanism in times of stress, but those who tend to be more in touch with their emotions reportedly have a nasty little secret when it comes to food. A weight loss firm named LighterLife recently conducted a survey on 2000 women to find out more about the average woman’s eating habits, and discovered that a shockingly high percentage of women sneak away to have a secret snack on a regular basis.

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      Around 40% of the women said that they were aware that these covert snacks were a problem, as they were overweight, but simply couldn’t resist the temptation. Some even felt so ashamed of their habit that they resorted to eating in the bathroom under lock and key, or stashing extra snacks in locked drawers. Such polls are a good rough estimate of average trends amongst the population, and it looks like this is a large-scale problem that can seriously affect diet adherence. This secret eating habit can ruin even the most well-thought-out diet and exercise plan.

      4. Conscientious people are more likely to eat fruit and vegetables

      Fruit salad

        In 2005, a study was conducted using the International Personality Item Pool Big Five short-form questionnaire, which you can take a look at here,  to determine personality types of the participants and a health assessment questionnaire that examined behaviors including eating habits. It was determined that conscientious people tended to eat more fruit and vegetables, and choose overall healthier meals. Extroverts were shown to be more prone to risky behavior and bad food choices.

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        When you think about it, someone who is a bit less social and doesn’t drink too much is less likely to feast on fast food in the late hours of the night, so the study kind of goes along with what a lot of us already understood on an intuitive level. The interesting thing is that, with the vegan and raw food movements gaining popularity, and crazy crash diets giving way to meal delivery focused on plant-based food, it seems like a large chunk of the population falls into the conscientious category.

        5. Extroverts can’t say no to animal fat, sweets and alcohol

        The study in the previous paragraph already pointed towards extroverts being more susceptible to the allure of junk food, but there is another interesting recent study published in the Appetite journal that found that extroverts have an affinity towards fatty, savory and sweet foods, as well as sugary soft drinks.

        This was linked to social behavior directly related to the extrovert personality type, i.e. this personality type eats out more frequently and engages in group activities where high-calorie foods abound. The random population sample size was large enough to point out certain trends, however we should always be careful when trying to extrapolate such data and use it to come to generalized conclusions. One good thing we can draw from the study is that extroverts’ diets are influenced by outside factors which can be controlled to a great extent.

        These are just a few interesting studies that have shown some links between a person’s personality type and his or her food choices. It is a topic that definitely requires further detailed research, but even with the information we have available right now it is possible to come to a few conclusions, based on which you might be able to slowly start developing better eating habits. It always helps to understand why we are drawn to some foods if we are looking to make a big lifestyle change like switching to a healthier diet.

        Featured photo credit: cute little girl eating watermelon on the grass in summertime/Lana K via shutterstock.com

        More by this author

        Ivan Dimitrijevic

        Ivan is the CEO and founder of a digital marketing company. He has years of experiences in team management, entrepreneurship and productivity.

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        Last Updated on July 15, 2019

        41 Beautiful Pictures That Show What True Love Is All About

        41 Beautiful Pictures That Show What True Love Is All About

        Some things in life are hard to describe, yet we can recognize them when we see them.

        Love is one of those things.

        True love comes in many different forms, but here are some that many of us know well.

        True love means supporting those who can’t support themselves

        supportive couple

          A young man comforts his date in Times Square, New York City. Image by mbtrama

          strong hug

            A young man holds his significant other close to him. Image by Brad Fults

            running help

              A young track competitor helps one of her injured opponents over the finish line. Image from ViralNova.com

              feeding kitten

                A soldier in the Korean War takes time to feed a baby kitten. Image from US Naval Insititute

                It’s having the perfect selfie partner

                mom and daughter selfie

                  A mother and her daughter take a selfie together. Image by Andrew Fysh

                  girlfriends

                    Two young girls pose for the camera. Image by Rolands Lakis

                    selfies

                      A happy couple takes a picture together. Image by Kayla Heineman

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                      selfie

                        Two best friends take a selfie together. Image by Jason Wahido

                        dude selfie

                          Friends take a selfie together. Image by Glenn Scofield Williams

                          It’s all the warm fuzzies

                          12748262703_84c008f4e5_z

                            A young man spends time with his dog on a beach. Image by Magdalena Roeseler

                            DSC06952

                              A pet owner hugs his dog while on a day trip in San Francisco. Image by Taro the Shiba Inu

                              It means having a friend to photobomb you

                              photobomb

                                A boy makes a funny face as he poses for a picture with his brother. Image by Michael Bentley

                                old man photobomb

                                  A man photobombs his wife while their grandson snaps a picture. Image by Frank

                                  family photobomb

                                    Family members photobomb their relatives’ Thanksgiving day family photo. Image by Beth Scupham

                                    boyfriend photobomb

                                      A friend photobombs the photographer and their friend, the woman in the foreground of this photo. Image by Lachlan Hardy

                                      True love means being there even when life gets unbearably hard

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                                      shoulder to cry on

                                        A family watches the Vermont National Guard depart for Afghanistan. Image by The U.S. Army

                                        flood dog

                                          During a monsoon in the Philippines, a boy carries his dog to safety. Image by Romeo Ranoco

                                          A woman is rescued from flood waters by a resident standing on top of her car during heavy rain in Chalandri suburb north of Athens

                                            A man helps a woman out of her vehicle during a flood in Chalandri, Greece. Image by John Kolesidis

                                            lunch

                                              A woman has lunch with her husband every day, even after he’s passed away. Image from ViralNova.com

                                              hug

                                                A woman hugs the mother of 6-year-old Noah Ponzer, who was one of the victims of the Sandy Hook shootings. Image by Spencer Platt

                                                rubble

                                                  An Oklahoma couple pauses while trying to salvage belongings from a family member’s home after a tornado. Image by Adrees Latif

                                                  sister and brother

                                                    A girl puts her arm around her little brother as they wait outside of Sandy Hook Elementary after gunshots are fired. Image by Reuters.

                                                    headstone

                                                      A woman sits at her husband’s grave the day before their wedding anniversary. Image from NBC news

                                                      It means taking the time for long goodbyes

                                                      110321-N-BT887-100

                                                        A man says goodbye to his son before deploying. Image by Official U.S. Navy Page

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                                                        national guard goodbye

                                                          A South Carolina man says goodbye to his son before deploying for Afghanistan. Image by The National Guard

                                                          saying goodbye

                                                            A Sergeant hugs both of his sons before being deployed to Afghanistan. Image by The National Guard

                                                            And cherishing reunions

                                                            husband home

                                                              A woman hugs her husband as she sees him for the first time since his deployment to Iraq. Image by The U.S. Army

                                                              boyfriend home

                                                                A young  woman hugs her significant other as he returns home for Kuwait. Image by The National Guard

                                                                mother hug

                                                                  A mother drops to her knees as she hugs her son on her return home from the Persian Gulf. Image by The National Guard

                                                                  True love is letting yourself feel young when they’re around

                                                                  elderly women

                                                                    Two friends on their smartphones. Image by Robert Neff

                                                                    feeling young

                                                                      A young couple getting their picture taken. Image by db Photograph

                                                                      sprinkler dad

                                                                        A father plays in a sprinkler with his daughter at Millennium Park in Chicago. Image by Ben Forsberg

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                                                                        subway couple

                                                                          A young couple on a subway enjoys sharing time together, while the girlfriend’s father sneaks a photo of them. Image by Gareth Williams

                                                                          wheelchairs

                                                                            A couple holds hands on a fall day. Image by David Amsler

                                                                            It’s letting yourself be silly… just because they’ll enjoy it

                                                                            silly faces

                                                                              A grandfather makes faces at the camera with his granddaughters. Image by Tim Pierce

                                                                              vote for pedro

                                                                                A woman’s father wears a Napoleon Dynamite t-shirt to make his daughter laugh. Image by emdot

                                                                                True love is allowing yourself to show how you really feel

                                                                                date night

                                                                                  A young couple kisses in the back of a restaurant in Washington, D.C. Image by Derek Key

                                                                                  playing violin

                                                                                    Violinist Nancy Dinovo plays at a memorial service for the victims of 9/11. Image by Christopher Morris

                                                                                    True love is timeless

                                                                                    old friends

                                                                                      Friends spending some time together. Image by Cristian Bortes

                                                                                      sitting around a fire

                                                                                        A group of friends sits around a campfire eating. Image by New Old Stock

                                                                                        elderly couple

                                                                                          An elderly couple walks down a street together. Image by Matteo Paciotti

                                                                                          Featured photo credit: Matteo Paciotti via flickr.com

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