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Nutrition, food choices, and introversion or extroversion

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Do more introverts prefer a head of cabbage, a peeled cucumber, a small zucchini, and a cup or two of arugula pureed in coconut water and two peeled oranges as a healthy, sweet-tasting beverage? Or perhaps frozen into a sherbet as a frozen dessert instead of ice cream? And would more extroverts prefer food that's more popular but less healthy, such as a sweet soda, carbonated apple cider, 16 percent butterfat ice cream, or a milk shake because that's what most people are familiar with in North America?

You may wish to check out the site, "Food Issues | Confessions of an Introvert." Do more introverts prefer crunchy foods such as diced salad vegetables compared to smooth, creamy comfort foods eaten by extroverts sometimes to calm emotional feelings? You could check out Hans Eysenck's theory of arousal which describes the different natural frequency or arousal states of the brains of people who are introverted versus people who are extroverted, as described on the Wikipedia site about 'arousal' on how people react to certain stimuli, as when an experience, sound, or sight precludes a panicky sensation.

After all, food is a stimuli as are eating alone or with a group of people. Which do you prefer? Some people even bring their own food to the table when eating out, whether it's in other people's homes or in a restaurant. See, "Bringing your own to a restaurant? - Not About Food - Chowhound."

Some people are so allergic to ingredients used by most restaurants, that they bring their own small container of chopped raw vegetables or fruits to eat when dining outside their home. Other people might bring their own food to restaurants. Is it related to personality or simply to health preferences to achieve a goal such as lowering cholesterol or other changes by going vegan? Also see the Food Network article, "25 Things Chefs Never Tell You: Recipes and Cooking."

The article notes that chefs don't like certain foods: Liver, sea urchin, tofu, eggplant and oysters topped the list of foods chefs hate most. Only 15% of chefs surveyed said they’d eat absolutely anything. Chefs also said they don't like picky eaters. Chefs don't like when people pretend to be allergic to a food or ingredient to get their way, but how would a chef know whether or not someone has adverse reactions to certain ingredients? Most people say they're allergic because a specific food or ingredient makes them feel sick.

More than 60% of chefs queried said that requests for substitutions are annoying, according to the article, "25 Things Chefs Never Tell You: Recipes and Cooking"

Some of their biggest pet peeves are when customers pretend to be allergic to an ingredient, and when vegetarians make up rules, like a little chicken stock is okay, the article explains. But would most chefs hate introverts who may be picky eaters, but not necessarily, and may really be having adverse reactions to certain foods or ingredients, for example, a panic attack, breathing problems, or asthma issues and genuinely need to request special orders?

According to that article, chefs don't like what many vegan introverts like such as tofu or tempeh. And not all introverts are vegans or vegetarians. So what do chefs hate most about customers who really want to spend their money on food that physically agrees with them? Some customers bring their own food to a restaurant and ask the chef to cook the food a certain way or use the food they brought since the restaurant may not carry the same ingredients or foods.

Ironically, if the customer is a famous person, usually a chef usually will give the person what he or she wants to keep the celebrity coming back, usually if that person is a steady customer and also sometimes brings in other friends to eat in that restaurant. But if the customer is not a famous celebrity or very wealthy customer who eats there often, it's another story of getting the customer in the wallet for a customized meal, since the restaurant can bill anyone what it wants to customize a meal, including food brought from home that the restaurant is asked to cook and serve.

In a 2013 news article, one vegan customer brought his own uncooked pasta to an Italian restaurant and asked that the pasta be cooked because not all restaurants use whole grain pasta or the type of pasta the customer preferred. See, the article, "Bamboozled: Special order leads to special bill, vegan said."

And when it comes to hummus, do more introverts prefer the classic Mediterranean variety topped with chopped olives and flavored with garlic, parsley, and lemon juice compared to the extrovert's preference for Southwest Tex-Mex style hummus peppered with cayenne and chili powder instead of garlic, mint, parsley, lemon juice, sea salt, and olives? Check out the site, "Double Take: Introverted behavior not unhealthy / LJWorld.com." You also find introverts munching on chips and cheese sticks as well as extroverts eating foods that are addictive to bring you back to eat more because they contain a specific ratio of sugar, salt, and fat to make a creamy taste.

Do introverts pick the seat at a dinner party that's furthest away from the head of the table (or household) so they can sit back, relax, and enjoy the listening part? Check out the site, "Infographic for Introverts: Choosing the Right Seat at a Dinner Party."

Do extroverts eat more commercial foods and introverts choose to make their own foods from scratch to tailor foods to their body's responses?

Would extroverts choose commercial hummus fattened with soybean or canola oil and a little tahini compared to organic hummus oiled with sesame seed oil, tahini (more sesame seed paste) and extra virgin olive oil that's cold pressed or expeller pressed? Is it that extroverts take what's on the plate (unless allergic) and go with the popular flow of trends in food preferences, compared to introverts who prefer to customize what they eat to their metabolic responses, health research on super foods, smart foods, functional foods, or individual tastes?

Are more introverts into meditation, holistic health, alternative health, integrative health, functional medicine, restorative medicine, or naturopathy and homeopathy than extroverts more into working out in the gym with others or becoming fitness trainers to a group? And are more introverts into Tai Chi, Qi gong, color therapy, music therapy, writing therapy/journaling, or chair Yoga compared to extroverts more into dance for health such as folk dancing, bellydancing, drama therapy, and square dancing...compared to introverts into ethnic or tribal dances and Pilates or Reiki? Check out the article, "You are the Colors You Choose - About Holistic Healing."

Introverts and extroverts may choose different diets, foods, or lifestyles, since personality plays role in body weight, according to a recent study

Extroverts choose foods more frequently based on impulsivity. Introverts weigh the risks of eating healthy or not so healthy foods and its later, long-term effects on the system.

Extroverts seek eye-candy, buzz, and emotional connections from food as a comfort vehicle or blanket, a connection and a source of energy and vivacity or vigor. Introverts seek a future reward from food, as in the long-term health effects from a particular meal, diet, or ingredients.

To make general conversation or small talk, an introvert at a party might tell an extrovert that oil sticks to foods when fried. A doughnut acquires another 250 calories in a deep fryer, in addition to the flour and sugar it started out with, and a baked potato has 200 calories, but one potato chip soaks up 9 calories of fat. The extrovert might laugh, walk away, and impulsively pop the irresistible chip into his or her mouth and smile sardonically at the introvert, having got that satisfaction feeling from the impulse of tasting the food.

For example, a socializing extrovert may be impulsive enough to choose the largest serving of meat and cheese on a bun, compared to an introvert who might look for a regimen of a month-long diet of raw foods and juices to reverse and cleanse in hopes of re-energizing or obtaining health benefits from the diet. Introverts are more likely to leave a party earlier or to avoid the food choices there, if they don't look appetizing enough or familiar. Extroverts may be willing to try bizarre foods, and introverts may hold back wanting to know what's in the food, was it kept cool or hot enough, and where it originated.

Researchers in one study found that impulsivity is the strongest predictor of obesity

And extroverts seeking excitement from food are more likely to choose more risky diets than introverts, who may be more picky eaters. A recent study doesn't focus only on what particular food choices extroverts make compared to introverts' choices. But it did point out that impulsivity is the strongest predictor of obesity. And extroverts tend to be more impulsive, more risk-takers, more "let's do it" in action compared to introverts who reflect about what they eat or what particular preferences they have about food choices, or how they handle obesity.

Lifestyle and exercise interventions that are done in a group setting may be more effective for extroverts than for introverts

That's because introverts may be more cautious and selective about what they choose to eat and when than extroverts, who may be more impulsive about going after food based on taste and eye appeal or emotional comfort and satiation. Check out the PDF format article of original study, "Personality and Obesity Across the Adult Life Span - America," Authors are Angelina R. Sutin, PhD, Luigi Ferrucci, MD, PhD, Alan B. Zonderman, PhD, and Antonio Terracciano, PhD, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 101, No. 3. April 20, 2011.

The less conscientious, the more likely to go through cycles of gaining and losing weight

People with personality traits of high neuroticism and low conscientiousness are likely to go through cycles of gaining and losing weight throughout their lives, according to an examination of 50 years of data in a study published by the American Psychological Association. Impulsivity was the strongest predictor of who would be overweight, the researchers found. Study participants who scored in the top 10 percent on impulsivity weighed an average of 22 lbs. more than those in the bottom 10 percent, according to the study. Introverts usually are more conscientious, particular, and reflective about what they eat and the outcome of whether the food (or supplements) work.

"Individuals with this constellation of traits tend to give in to temptation and lack the discipline to stay on track amid difficulties or frustration," the researchers wrote, according to the July 18, 2011 news release, Personality plays role in body weight, according to study . "To maintain a healthy weight, it is typically necessary to have a healthy diet and a sustained program of physical activity, both of which require commitment and restraint. Such control may be difficult for highly impulsive individuals."

The researchers, from the National Institute on Aging, looked at data from a longitudinal study of 1,988 people to determine how personality traits are associated with weight and body mass index

Their conclusions were published online in the APA's Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. "To the best of our knowledge, we are the first to examine whether personality is associated with fluctuations in weight over time," they wrote, according to the news release. "Interestingly, our pattern of associations fits nicely with the characteristics of these traits."

Participants were drawn from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging, an ongoing multidisciplinary study of normal aging administered by the National Institute on Aging. Subjects were generally healthy and highly educated, with an average of 16.53 years of education. The sample was 71 percent white, 22 percent black, 7 percent other ethnicity; 50 percent were women.

All were assessed on what's known as the "Big Five" personality traits – openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism -- as well as on 30 subcategories of these personality traits. Subjects were weighed and measured over time. This resulted in a total of 14,531 assessments across the 50 years of the study.

Although weight tends to increase gradually as people age, the researchers, led by Angelina R. Sutin, PhD, found greater weight gain among impulsive people; those who enjoy taking risks; and those who are antagonistic – especially those who are cynical, competitive and aggressive.

"Previous research has found that impulsive individuals are prone to binge eating and alcohol consumption," Sutin explains in the news release. "These behavioral patterns may contribute to weight gain over time."

Among their other findings: Conscientious participants tended to be leaner and weight did not contribute to changes in personality across adulthood

"The pathway from personality traits to weight gain is complex and probably includes physiological mechanisms, in addition to behavioral ones," Sutin explains in the news release. "We hope that by more clearly identifying the association between personality and obesity, more tailored treatments will be developed. For example, lifestyle and exercise interventions that are done in a group setting may be more effective for extroverts than for introverts."

The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world's largest association of psychologists. APA's membership includes more than 154,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting health, education and human welfare. You also might wish to take a look at the book, Introverts And Extroverts - Amazon.com.

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