How Your Personality Influences The Food On Your Plate

Ever wonder why you have certain preferences when it comes to food? For better or for worse, it's commonly accepted that mood influences what you eat (via International Sports Sciences Association). All of a sudden, an emotional trigger can send you running to comfort foods like pizza or burgers. But does personality affect food preferences in the same way? Let's find out.

Neurologist and psychiatrist Alan Hirsch claims that "through our food preferences and choices we reveal inner thoughts, feelings, wishes and desires" (via MSN). In one 2015 study published in the journal Appetite, researchers reported that personality (using the Big Five Personality Traits) influences food choices. For instance, participants high in openness were more likely to fill their plates with fruits and veggies. They also consumed less meat and soda. Lower amounts of meat consumption were also found in those high in agreeableness. Alternatively, researchers found participants high in conscientiousness ate more fruits and had more control over emotional eating. Both neuroticism and extraversion increased the consumption of sweet and savory foods.

What's the connection between taste and personality?

Research suggests personality may be connected to taste. The journal Current Research in Food Science published a 2022 study indicating that olfactory sensory thresholds and taste perception (e.g. sour, spicy, bitter, sweet, etc.) may be linked to personality. The researchers believe this is caused by the different amounts of hormones and neurotransmitters that circulate in the body.

For instance, carb-lovers are more likely to have personalities that enjoy staying within clear boundaries, as they tend to be cautious. Nutritionist Keith Kantor adds, "these food lovers aren't generally risk takers and usually don't like change" (per MSN). On the other hand, spicy food lovers are more likely to be "sensation-seekers", points out Penn State. These personalities thrive in adventurous settings with thrills and new experiences, per MSN. Beyond the taste, some researchers credit the compound capsaicin (which is found in spicy foods) for an adrenaline rush that sensation-seekers may find enjoyable.

Craving salty foods? Chances are you may be competitive and easily frustrated at times, notes MSN. Meanwhile, crunchy food enthusiasts may be perfectionist, focused, and energetic.