Perfectionists with unrealistic expectations and cravers who just can’t resist that calorie- dense temptation are the two biggest diet-related personality types identified in a CSIRO report based on an analysis of 90,000 Australian adults.
It identified the five most common diet personality types across the surveyed population, and looked at the major stumbling blocks for each personality type.
For the second-most common personality type, the 'Craver', the report found resisting certain delicious foods is a significant challenge.
"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," said the report's co-author, behavioural scientist Dr Sinead Golley.
"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.
"We also found younger people commonly used fitness trackers and apps to lose weight, while older generations turned to diet books and support groups."
The most common diet type in the five categories identified was the Thinker (37%) who are predominantly women. They tend to over analyse their progress and have unrealistic expectations which often derail a diet.
Cravers make up the second biggest group (26%) who, as the name suggests, find it hard to resist temptation. More than half of all Cravers (58%) are obese.
Older generations centre their social life around food and alcohol (the Socialiser group is 17% of the sample), so flexibility is key to maintaining a healthy diet.
Foodies (16%) are passionate about their diet and most likely to be a normal weight. They eat more vegetables yet spend one third of their discretionary food and beverage intake on alcohol.
The smallest group Freewheelers (4%), who are mostly male, have the poorest diet. They avoid planning meals and over half (55%) are obese.
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.
To learn more about your diet personality and how best to personalise your eating habits, visit What's your Diet Type?