Bad news if you’re a chocolate lover trying to watch your waist – research shows it’s pretty much destined to derail any diet.
In what’s officially Australia's largest-ever diet and personality survey, the CSIRO pooled data from 90,000 participants to identify the five most common personality types among the general population.
"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.
Researchers conducting the study found “cravers” comprised a quarter (26) of those surveyed and were the second largest group to succumb to junk food.
"One in five Cravers have tried to lose weight more than 25 times and they say that chocolate and confectionery are the biggest problem foods to resist," Dr Golley said.
"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."
Dr Golley said they also found some interesting food personality trends across generations.
"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.
"We also found younger people commonly used fitness trackers and apps to lose weight, while older generations turned to diet books and support groups."
Dr Golley said CSIRO's online Diet Type survey can provide behavioural insights to increase a person’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," she said.
The CSIRO say the five most common diet personality types across the surveyed population are:
The Thinker (37%) is the most common Diet Type. Predominantly women (86%), Thinkers tend to over-analyse their progress and have unrealistic expectations. This can result in a sense of failure and derail a diet.
The Craver (26%) One in four respondents is a Craver and finds it hard to resist temptation. More than half of all Cravers (58%) are obese.
The Socialiser (17%) Food and alcohol play a big role in the Socialiser's active social life, so flexibility is key to maintaining a healthy diet.
The Foodie (16%) 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%) 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%) are obese.