Personality and Eating Patterns: The Next Wave of Understanding in Nutrition

Personality and Eating Patterns

In the space of Nutritional Science, a lot of emphasis is placed on foods we should be eating, how often and when. However, our behavior surrounding food is equally, if not more important in the grand scheme of things. There's a growing body of research that suggests another crucial factor influences our eating habits: our personalities. Our personalities influence virtually all of our other behaviors, why wouldn’t it factor into our dietary habits? The five factor model or the ”Big 5” have been established as a viable predictor of behavioral patterns, career orientation, academic success and political affiliation. Perhaps there are ways to predict behaviors around eating, including tendencies, preferences, struggles, interests. Let’s delve into this topic further by dissecting what the big 5 are.

Openness to Experience: This trait reflects a person's willingness to try new things, their imagination, and their intellectual curiosity. People high in openness are often creative, adventurous, and open-minded, while those low in openness tend to be more traditional, practical, and prefer routine.

Conscientiousness: Conscientiousness relates to a person's degree of organization, responsibility, and self-discipline. Those who score high in conscientiousness are typically reliable, diligent, and well-organized, while those low in conscientiousness may be more spontaneous, careless, or disorganized.

Extraversion: Extraversion refers to the extent to which a person seeks social interaction, stimulation, and experiences positive emotions. Individuals high in extraversion tend to be outgoing, energetic, and assertive, enjoying the company of others and seeking excitement. Introverts, on the other hand, are more reserved, quiet, and prefer solitary activities.

Agreeableness: This trait reflects a person's tendency to be compassionate, cooperative, and considerate towards others. Individuals high in agreeableness are often empathetic, trusting, and altruistic, while those low in agreeableness may be more skeptical, competitive, or detached.

Neuroticism (or Emotional Stability): Neuroticism measures the degree of emotional instability and negative emotions experienced by an individual. Those high in neuroticism may be prone to anxiety, depression, and mood swings, while those low in neuroticism tend to be more emotionally stable, resilient, and calm.

Unraveling the Connection

Recent studies have delved into the intricate relationship between personality types and eating patterns, sparking intriguing insights into our dietary behaviors. Associations between personality types/traits and food preferences, taste preferences, and eating patterns have been observed. Let's unpack some examples:

The 5-factor model suggests a relationship between traits and eating behaviors. For instance, individuals high in openness tend to crave diverse culinary experiences, dietary structures and intuitive eating, while conscientious individuals may exhibit greater tendencies towards routined eating, consistency and disciplined mindful eating habits.

Extraverted individuals tend to indulge in visually appealing food, eating socially and using food as a means to enhance an experience. Individuals high in neuroticism tend to exhibit impulsive eating as a means of coping with emotional distress and negative emotion. These emotional challenges often prompt unhealthy dietary choices, such as foods high in dietary fat and sodium.

Beyond the Plate

But why does this matter? Understanding the interplay between personality and eating patterns could be the next frontier in nutrition science. While tailoring a dietary plan will always boil down to an individual, proper screening for these traits may yield a deeper understanding of the client/patient and may reduce the “trial and error” component of coaching and create a more desirable and efficient intervention.

The Future of Wellness

As we continue to venture into new territory, I believe that by recognizing the role of personality in shaping our dietary behaviors, we can empower individuals to make informed choices that align with their unique predispositions and preferences. Surely, there are behaviors that are objectively better than others regarding nutrition, but implementing those within a given personality is very different than trying to reshape an individual.


The intersection of personality and eating patterns represents a promising frontier in the field of nutrition. By embracing this emerging paradigm, we can move beyond conventional approaches to dietary counseling and usher in a new era of personalized nutrition. I went into this topic feeling that there’s a tremendous missed opportunity here and only hope that  we continue to explore this fascinating topic. I am hopefully that researchers and practitioners alike can unpack this topic further and build a better understanding that working within our personalities is integral to achieving optimal health and wellness.

About The Author

Gregory Vazquez is a Well Me Right Wellness Expert. He is a dedicated professional in the fields of Nutrition and Exercise science. After completing his Bachelor's degree in Nutrition, he elected to become an in-person Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach. He chose this over working in a hospital setting because it gave me an opportunity to work with clients more closely! He loves building relationships with people and helping them on there fitness Journey!

After five-yeas of experience and Master's degree later, he is  ready to take his experience to the online space and continue to make a difference!

He specializes in body recomposition (gaining muscle and losing bodyfat), promoting sustainable lifestyle changes and fostering healthier relationships with food.