Think twice before you dismiss your weakness for cream crackers or melted cheese as a random quirk.
Our food habits say a lot about who we are, with subtle differences in taste dictated by our childhood and upbringing. Increasingly, scientists have sought to establish a link between personality traits and food preference.
Who we are can, to a certain extent, be used to predict what we like to eat.
With that in mind, we take a light-hearted look at how snacking and character collide. What does your food vice say about you? Read on to find out.
If you love grilled cheese...
You're seductive, charitable and worldly
Got a penchant for gooey cheese on toast? It can only be a good thing.
A new survey has found that grilled cheese lovers have considerably more sex than than their non-fromage counterparts.
Dating network Skout quizzed 4,600 people on their diet, bedroom habits and lifestyle.
They discovered that 73% of grilled cheese lovers have sex at least once a month, compared with 63% of those who don't love grilled cheese. And 32% of grilled cheese lovers have sex at least six times a month, compared with 27% of non-grilled cheese lovers.
Additionally, 81% of participants who love grilled cheese say they have donated time, money or food to those in need. And 84% of grilled cheese aficionados enjoy travelling, compared with 78% of those who aren't fans.
So next time you submerse yourself in a plateful of melted cheddar, rest assured. You're simply enhancing your appetite for sex, charity and travel.
What's not to love about that?
If you love chocolate...
You're alturistic and affable
It's strange but true.
A 2011 paper in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that people with a sweet tooth tend to have sweeter dispositions.
Researchers looked at personality differences between people who like sweet foods versus bitter, spicy, sour, salty, or umami flavours. Participants were asked to rank their taste preferences and behaviour in different situations on a scale of one to ten.
Using results from five separate taste studies, the authors concluded that people who like sweet food such as chocolate and cake are more likely to volunteer to help another person in need. They're also more likely to be agreeable and even-tempered than those without a sweet tooth.
"Our taste studies controlled for positive mood so the effects we found are not due to the happy or rewarding feeling one may have after eating a sweet food," says Dr. Brian Meier, leading the study. "There is a real link between sweet tastes and pro-social behaviour."
Bring on the Quality Streets, we say.
If you love pepperoni pizza...
You're extroverted and argumentative
Interesting news for those who're partial to a meat-based pizza topping.
Dr. Alan Hirsch, director of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, has conducted extensive research into an area we'll term "pizza-nality".
Using a poll of 500 British adults, he carried out a range of psychiatric and personality tests to determine what their preferred pizza toppings said about them.
The results showed people who like pepperoni on their pizzas thrive when they're the centre of attention, and are more likely to be extrovert than those who like egg and olive toppings (described as avoiding the spotlight).
People who like traditional, meat-based toppings such as pepperoni are also more likely to be argumentative and procrastinators, while those who like chicken atop their pizza are likely to be driven, competitive and assertive.
"Food can be such an emotive thing – the taste, texture, smell – and we often prefer certain foods because of an underlying personality trait," says Dr. Hirsch. "You can tell a lot about someone by what they like on their pizza."
If you love vindaloo...
You're a risk-taker
In a fiery study titled Some Like It Hot, researchers at France’s University of Grenoble found that men who like spicy food have higher levels of testosterone, which in turn is associated with "financial, sexual, and behavioral risk-taking".
The testosterone increase isn't caused by spicy cuisine; rather men with higher levels of the hormone are more likely to be drawn to hot food, indicating their predilection for risk-taking.
And the effect isn't limited to men.
A 2013 paper presented at the Institute of Food Technologists gave a sample of capsaicin - the active component of chili peppers - to a group of 184 men and women who had previously undergone personality tests.
People classed as more open to risks enjoyed the burning sensation of the sample more than those who preferred routine. They were also more likely to desire "novel and intense stimulation" compared to their non-spice loving companions.
So if you're crazy for vindaloo or can't get enough Sichuan noodles, take it as a sign of your daring and adventurous charisma.
If you love salt and vinegar crisps...
You're a stressed workaholic
A 2013 study by media company pressat.co.uk examined the lifestyles and favourite crisp flavours of over 3,000 British adults.
The team identified a clear link between character traits, work habits and preferred taste in crisps.
The classic salt and vinegar formula tends to draw workaholic characters who struggle with stress and work-life balance, researchers said.
Vinegar is thought to trigger the release of hormones including adrenaline which is why those prone to anxiety may prefer this tangy flavour.
Meanwhile, those with a love of chilli-flavoured crisps are apparently adventurous souls, with a lively "can-do" attitude and zest for life.
And perhaps unsurprisingly, 60% of those who reach for the safe comfort of ready salted crisps say friends describe them as boring and unambitious.
Cheese and onion fans, on the other hand, are classed as "intelligent foodies".
If you love vanilla ice-cream...
You're impulsive and idealistic
Forget the stereotype of conventional and boring vanilla.
If you're partial to vanilla ice-cream, you're likely to be a dynamic idealistic says neurologist Dr. Alan Hirsch, founder of the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation (also quoted above, in the pizza section).
Hirsch used various standardized psychiatric tests to make statistical correlations between preferred ice-cream flavour and personality traits.
He concluded that vanilla ice-cream fans are impulsive and "rely more on intuition than logic". They're also emotionally expressive and successful in close relationships.
"We uncovered quite a few surprising finds," says Hirsch. "For instance, we found that people who prefer Rainbow Sherbet are more pessimistic than you would think, in spite of the flavour's bright taste profile, and that those who prefer Rocky Road are actually very good listeners,"
Those with a tendency towards chocolate ice-cream are said to be dramatic and flirtatious.
Just a little food for thought the next time you hit up the ice-cream van...
Words: Anna Brech, Photos: Rex Features