Are you a Thinker, Craver, Socialiser, Foodie or Freewheeler?

CSIRO Head Office

By Nichola Murphy
Wednesday, 27 September, 2017

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Maintaining a healthy diet can be difficult, and a new report conducted by CSIRO suggests this may be due to psychological and emotional reasons.

Developed by behavioural scientists at CSIRO, the CSIRO Diet Types survey analysed the eating habits and personality traits of over 90,000 Australian adults. Looking at participants’ responses to questions about their attitudes, obstacles and triggers relating to their food choices and weight loss attempts, they established five main diet personalities:

  • The Thinker (37%): They tend to overthink their progress leading to stress and mood swings. As a result, worry about failure often derails their diet.
  • The Craver (26%): Cravers typically find it hard to resist food cravings which encouraged overeating and poor food choices.
  • The Socialiser (17%): Food and alcohol play a big role in their active social life, so flexibility is key to maintaining a healthy diet.
  • The Foodie (16%): They are passionate about preparing, eating and experiencing food and tend to have higher alcohol consumption.
  • The Freewheeler (4%): Freewheelers are spontaneous and impulsive eaters who fail to plan meals and often rely on takeaway or convenience food.

Of the 90,000 respondents, 83% of those were female with an average age of 46 years. The survey found that there were a range of factors effecting the diet type including gender and age.

“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 Behavioural Scientist Dr Sinead Golley said.

While women were most likely to be thinkers and relied more heavily on monitoring their intake of calories in order to lose weight, men were more likely to be foodies or freewheelers and used exercise as their main weight loss method. Other popular methods to lose weight among both women and men included cutting carbohydrates, reducing sugar and alcohol consumption, and using meal replacement shakes.

“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,” explained Golley.

She also suggested food personality trends changed across generations, with younger people using apps to lose weight as opposed to the support groups and books that the older generations preferred.

“Baby boomers and the older, silent generation (aged 71 years and over) were more likely to be Socialisers and Foodies — suggesting lifestyle and social connections influence a person’s eating patterns at different stages of life — while millennials and Gen X were more likely to be Cravers, Thinkers and Freewheelers,” she said.

Cravers seemed to be a particularly problematic personality type, as it not only had the highest number of obese participants (58%), but they also had the most trouble sticking to a diet. They tried more weight loss methods than other types, and the survey found that 1 in 5 cravers had attempted weight loss more than 25 times. This issue did not seem to affect Foodies in the same way, as they were most likely never to have dieted and they tended to remain a normal weight. This could be due to the fact that cravers were likely to consume a high portion of carbohydrates whereas Foodies were most likely to meet the Australian Dietary Guidelines for fruits and vegetables.

The survey provided behavioural insights into an individual’s potential to successfully lose weight.

“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,” Golley said.

The survey is available online, takes 3–5 minutes and presents individuals with: a profile describing their personal diet type; weight-loss tips; the characteristics of their diet type; and a recommended weight-loss target.

Image credit: ©

Originally published here.

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