Australian survey uncovers main diet derailers per personality type

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21 Sep 2017 --- A new Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) report has analyzed the five main diet-related personality types of more than 90,000 Australian adults to gain an insight into why many people find it hard to maintain a healthy diet. In what is the nation's largest-ever diet and personality survey, food cravings were found to be one of the most common reasons diets get derailed.

 

“For anyone who has found eating to lose weight difficult, your personal Diet Type, daily habits and lifestyle factors could provide the answer to why some weight loss methods haven’t worked for you in the past,” the report's co-author, CSIRO Behavioral Scientist Dr. Sinead Golley says.

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CSIRO's report focused on the five most common diet personality types across the surveyed population, and looked at the major stumbling blocks for each personality type.

Golley says the researchers uncovered some striking food personality trends across generations.

“Baby boomers and the older, silent generation (aged 71 years and over) were more likely to be so-called Socializers and Foodies – suggesting lifestyle and social connections influence a person's eating patterns at different stages of life – while millennials and Generation X were more likely to be Cravers, Thinkers and Freewheelers,” she says. 

Golley adds that younger people used fitness trackers and apps to lose weight more frequently than older generations, who were more likely to turn to diet books and support groups.

The five most common diet personality types found across the surveyed population, including differences in weight status, diet behavior, gender and generation, were:

  • The Thinker (37 percent) is the most common Diet Type. Predominantly women (86 percent), Thinkers tend to over-analyze their progress and have unrealistic expectations, leading to a sense of failure and ultimately derailing a diet.
  • The Craver (26 percent) One in four respondents is a Craver and finds it hard to resist temptation. More than half of all Cravers (58 percent) are obese.
  • The Socializer (17 percent) Food and alcohol play a big role in the Socializer's active social life, so flexibility is key to maintaining a healthy diet.
  • The Foodie (16 percent) Foodies are most likely to be a normal weight. Passionate about food, this type has the healthier diet with a high variety of vegetables in their diet. Alcohol makes up one-third of their discretionary food and beverage intake.
  • The Freewheeler (4 percent) Spontaneous and impulsive eaters, Freewheelers have the poorest quality diet. With a higher proportion of men in this group, Freewheelers avoid planning meals and over half (55 percent) are obese.

The online Diet Type survey could provide behavioral insights to increase a person’s potential to lose weight successfully, according to Golley.

“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 says.

 

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