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

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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.

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        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

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        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 November 18, 2021

        10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

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        10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

        We all fall into the trap of judging a person’s character by their appearance. How wrong we are! All too often, the real character of the person only appears when some negative event hits them or you. Then you may see a toxic person emerging from the ruins and it is often a shock.

        A truly frightening example is revealed in the book by O’Toole in Bowman called Dangerous Instincts: How Gut Instincts Betray Us. A perfectly respectable, charming, well dressed neighbor was found to have installed a torture chamber in his garage where he was systematically abusing kidnapped women. This is an extreme example, but it does show how we can be totally deceived by a person’s physical appearance, manners and behavior.

        So, what can you do? You want to be able to assess personal qualities when you come into contact with colleagues, fresh acquaintances and new friends who might even become lifelong partners. You want to know if they are:

        • honest
        • reliable
        • competent
        • kind and compassionate
        • capable of taking the blame
        • able to persevere
        • modest and humble
        • pacific and can control anger.

        The secret is to reserve judgment and take your time. Observe them in certain situations; look at how they react. Listen to them talking, joking, laughing, explaining, complaining, blaming, praising, ranting, and preaching. Only then will you be able to judge their character. This is not foolproof, but if you follow the 10 ways below, you have a pretty good chance of not ending up in an abusive relationship.

        1. Is anger a frequent occurrence?

        All too often, angry reactions which may seem to be excessive are a sign that there are underlying issues. Do not think that every person who just snaps and throws his/her weight around mentally and physically is just reacting normally. Everyone has an occasional angry outburst when driving or when things go pear-shaped.

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        But if this is almost a daily occurrence, then you need to discover why and maybe avoid that person. Too often, anger will escalate to violent and aggressive behavior. You do not want to be near someone who thinks violence can solve personal or global problems.

        2. Can you witness acts of kindness?

        How often do you see this person being kind and considerate? Do they give money to beggars, donate to charity, do voluntary work or in some simple way show that they are willing to share the planet with about 7 billion other people?

        I was shocked when a guest of mine never showed any kindness to the weak and disadvantaged people in our town. She was ostensibly a religious person, but I began to doubt the sincerity of her beliefs.

        “The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.”

        Abigail Van Buren

        3. How does this person take the blame?

        Maybe you know that s/he is responsible for a screw-up in the office or even in not turning up on time for a date. Look at their reaction. If they start blaming other colleagues or the traffic, well, this is an indication that they are not willing to take responsibility for their mistakes.

        4. Don’t use Facebook as an indicator.

        You will be relieved to know that graphology (the study of that forgotten skill of handwriting) is no longer considered a reliable test of a person’s character. Neither is Facebook stalking, fortunately. A study showed that Facebook use of foul language, sexual innuendo and gossip were not reliable indicators of a candidate’s character or future performance in the workplace.

        5. Read their emails.

        Now a much better idea is to read the person’s emails. Studies show that the use of the following can indicate certain personality traits:

        • Too many exclamation points may reveal a sunny disposition
        • Frequent errors may indicate apathy
        • Use of smileys is the only way a person can smile at you
        • Use of the third person may reveal a certain formality
        • Too many question marks can show anger
        • Overuse of capital letters is regarded as shouting. They are a definite no-no in netiquette, yet a surprising number of  people still use them.

        6. Watch out for the show offs.

        Listen to people as they talk. How often do they mention their achievements, promotions, awards and successes? If this happens a lot, it is a sure indication that this person has an over-inflated view of his/her achievements. They are unlikely to be modest or show humility. What a pity!  Another person to avoid.

        7. Look for evidence of perseverance.

        A powerful indicator of grit and tenacity is when a person persists and never gives up when they really want to achieve a life goal. Look for evidence of them keeping going in spite of enormous difficulties.

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        Great achievements by scientists and inventors all bear the hallmark of perseverance. We only have to think of Einstein, Edison (who failed thousands of times) and Nelson Mandela to get inspiration. The US Department of Education is in no doubt about how grit, tenacity and perseverance will be key success factors for youth in the 21st century.

        8. Their empathy score is high.

        Listen to how they talk about the less fortunate members of our society such as the poor, immigrants and the disabled. Do you notice that they talk in a compassionate way about these people? The fact that they even mention them is a strong indicator of empathy.

        People with zero empathy will never talk about the disadvantaged. They will rarely ask you a question about a difficult time or relationship. They will usually steer the conversation back to themselves. These people have zero empathy and in extreme cases, they are psychopaths who never show any feelings towards their victims.

        9. Learn how to be socially interactive.

        We are social animals and this is what makes us so uniquely human. If a person is isolated or a loner, this may be a negative indicator of their character. You want to meet a person who knows about trust, honesty and loyalty. The only way to practice these great qualities is to actually interact socially. The great advantage is that you can share problems and celebrate success and joy together.

        “One can acquire everything in solitude, except character.”

        Stendhal

         10. Avoid toxic people.

        These people are trying to control others and often are failing to come to terms with their own failures. Typical behavior and conversations may concern:

        • Envy or jealousy
        • Criticism of partners, colleagues and friends
        • Complaining about their own lack of success
        • Blaming others for their own bad luck or failure
        • Obsession with themselves and their problems

        Listen to these people talk and you will quickly discover that you need to avoid them at all costs because their negativity will drag you down. In addition, as much as you would like to help them, you are not qualified to do so.

        Now, having looked at some of the best ways to judge a person, what about yourself? How do others see you? Why not take Dr. Phil’s quiz and find out. Can you bear it?

        Featured photo credit: Jacek Dylag via unsplash.com

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