How is your relationship with food?

The CSIRO has come up with an online tool that assesses Aussies' personalities and classifies them into one of five diet types.
The CSIRO has come up with an online tool that assesses Aussies' personalities and classifies them into one of five diet types.

AN ONLINE tool has been designed to help Aussies analyse how their personality type influences their relationship with food. A team of scientists at the CSIRO has found that behavioural patterns can play an important role when it comes to successfully maintaining a diet.

Diet types help Australians better understand their personalities and what they need to do to change their eating habits.

One of the behavioural scientists who created the online tool, Dr Sinead Golley, said there was much improvement to be made in Australians' eating habits.

The country scored poorly (59 out of 100) on the CSIRO diet score, which compares the quality of Australians' food choices to the country's dietary guidelines.

However, the behavioural scientist said Aussies were also really motivated to start healthy habits.

"At this time of year, around New Year's, people are really seriously thinking about making these changes, which is fantastic to have a motivated group of people who understand that change is necessary,” Dr Golley said.

"But we're not seeing that translate into a better quality of diet, so that made us wonder about what might be happening. It seems while people are very motivated to make these changes it's translating them long-term which is where they may be hitting hurdles.”

To determine a person's diet type, participants fill in a five-minute online assessment that analyses their psychological characteristics relating to food. Once the survey is completed, participants receive instant, personalised feedback about their diet type profile and, more importantly, tips on how to manage the long-term change.

"Diet change requires such a massive and sometimes overwhelming change in people's lives. They not only have to change what they eat, but how often they eat, the ingredients they use and things like that. It can be quite overwhelming to sustain changes that are that large,” Dr Golley said.

"We looked at personality and also behaviour change theory in order to classify people on factors we thought were going to be quite relevant in terms of maintaining a diet. Personality was a key factor, but also things like how involved people are in food, how they deal with emotions and criticism and things like impulsivity.”

The behavioural scientists identified the following five main diet personality types:

THE THINKER - Overthinking leads to stress and mood swings which can derail your eating patterns

THE CRAVER - Your heightened experience of cravings can lead to overeating in a variety of "tricky'' situations

THE FOODIE - Food is on your mind 24/7 - you love making, eating and experiencing it

THE SOCIALISER - Flexibility is essential - you won't let strict food restrictions stifle your social life

THE FREEWHEELER - Spontaneous and impulsive, you tend to make choices in the here and now.

Take the five-minute diet type assessment to find out why you eat and how you can learn to eat better at

Topics:  csiro new-year-new-you nutrition personality

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