The biggest diet derailers

The biggest diet derailers
Scientists from CSIRO have found the biggest diet derailers.


Nearly two in three Australian adults and one in three New Zealand adults are overweight or obese. A new report by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has uncovered why so many people struggle to maintain a healthy diet.

CSIRO conducted Australia’s biggest personality and diet survey, studying the five core diet-related personality types of almost 100,000 people. The report’s co-author, Behavioural Scientist Dr Sinead Golley, said that people’s main diet obstacles differed depending on their personality. “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,” she states.

Food personality trends change across generations, Golley points out. “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,” she says. Comparatively, millennials and Generation X were generally Thinkers, Freewheelers and Cravers. “We also found younger people commonly used fitness trackers and apps to lose weight, while older generations turned to diet books and support groups,” Golley adds.

Understanding the way your personality influences your diet can enhance your capacity to lose weight successfully. “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,” says Golley.

Discover CSIRO’s five diet personality types below. 

The Thinker

The most common diet type, Thinkers “tend to have high expectations and tend to be perfectionists, giving up when things get challenging,” Golley states. Mostly women, Thinkers usually over-analyse their eating habits and feel like they have failed when they don’t meet their unrealistic expectations. Thinkers must learn to avoid perfectionism and recognise progress as it happens.

The Craver

The second most common diet type, more than half of all Cravers are obese. Cravers struggle to resist food-related temptations, feeling an urge to fulfill their desires once the thought appears in their mind. “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,” Golley says.

The Socialiser

Socialiser’s typically have active lifestyles and frequently catch up with friends and family. Because they are always socialising, eating and drinking out regularly are this diet type’s main obstacle. The need for friendship overwhelms the focus on diet, so Golley recommends creating a flexible eating plan that allows for socialising but also has structure.

The Foodie

The ultimate food lover, Foodies have a healthier diet that is more vegetable-rich than others. Generally a normal weight, Foodies love everything to do with food – eating, cooking, reading recipes and tips, shopping and more. Because they love variety, Foodies often find diets boring, which is their downfall. A balanced meal plan with a mixture of meals will suit the Foodie well.

The Freewheeler

The least common diet type, Freewheelers have the worst quality diet. Mostly men, Freewheelers dislike planning meals in advance and instead eat spontaneously. Over half of this group are obese. To satisfy Freewheelers dietary needs, a food schedule is needed where weekly meals prevent impulsive unhealthy food choices.



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