According to a number of food studies over the years, it turns out that you actually are what you eat…
Do you like spicy food and peach flavoured vodka? Then you’re considered “lively” and a “thrill seeker”, according to the experts.
Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day. I eat breakfast alone (because I’m first up, usually), with a book in one hand, and a hot cuppa tea in the other. Sometimes I eat slowly and other times I’m rushing out the door. Some of my friends don’t eat breakfast – which is totally alien to me because I’m hungry 90% of the time – but it made me realise that, just like our personalities, our eating habits are totally individual. And it turns out that we can learn a lot about ourselves based on how and what we like to eat.
Whether you realise it or not, many factors influence the food on your plate like our culture and economic prosperity, but recent food studies are showing that more often than not, the food we eat says a lot more about our personalities than previously thought.
Our personality develops ages 0-7, which is the same time that our food preferences develop, says Alan Hirsch, a neurologist and psychologist specialising in the treatment of smell and taste loss at the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago. According to his food-personality analysis, Hirsch believes that everything we do reflects our underlying personalities – from the direction we comb our hair to the socks we choose – but testing our personalities through food preferences reveals even more underlying information about who we really are..apparently.
In his research, Hirsch blind-tested his subjects using various flavours of vodka, from which he was able to find that people who, say, liked peach flavoured vodka were likely to be “lively, dramatic, and enthusiastic”. In contrast, cranberry vodka lovers tend to be serious, dull in bed, and work too much. Meanwhile, vanilla vodka drinkers are “impulsive, emotionally driven” and like to be around other people.
Vodka isn’t the only way to figuring out who we are (although we’ve all had a few soul-searching late night conversations over a vodka or two). Another food preference test carried out by John Hayes, an associate professor of food science at Pennsylvania State University, found that people who like to ride fast rollercoasters or enjoy being the centre of attention at a party probably also order their wings with the hottest flavour profile available. Hayes, a self-confessed chilli-lover, used chillis and other spicy foods to determine personality traits, and, in short, found that people who tend to seek sensations (rollercoasters, for example) were more likely to enjoy and eat spicy foods. And then another group of researchers in 2011 determined that those who were compassionate and caring liked to eat sweets foods, and were, essentially, sweethearts. Cute.
Don’t fit into any of the above categories? As our culture changes so too do our food habits meaning that as our palate evolves so too will our personalities: so don’t worry if you’re a thrill-seeking anti-spicy food eater like me.
Now, back to my breakfast.