Message in the Munchies

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Dying for a doughnut? Pining for a pretzel? What you snack on reveals more than your food preferences, says Alan Hirsch, neurological director of the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago and author of What's Your Food Sign? (Stewart, Tabori, and Chang, 2006). Hirsch had 800 volunteers take personality tests and then asked them which of eight snacks they preferred. The results were astounding: Those who shared a particular personality type chose the same snack 95 percent of the time.

While linking personality type with a passion for popcorn might seem like a stretch, Hirsch says it makes sense biologically. "Food preferences reside in the olfactory lobe, the same part of the brain where the personality resides," he explains.

Here's the message in some popular munchies:

Tortilla chips. You're a perfectionist. You're successful and ambitious, and you like to plan ahead. You have a strong sense of social responsibility and abhor injustice.

Pretzels. You're the life of the party. You love novelty and can quickly become bored with routine. You tend to start new projects before completing existing ones.

Cheese curls. You have a high sense of morals and ethics and insist upon treating everyone fairly. You might seem uptight, but you're highly organized and methodical.

Popcorn. You're a take-charge type, but with a modest, low-key demeanor. Confident but reserved, you would make a large charitable donation without telling anyone.

Nuts. You're even-tempered, easy to get along with, and highly empathetic. Your easygoing, cooperative nature contributes to success at home and at work.

Potato chips. You're achievement-oriented, successful, and competitive. You're a natural leader but can be easily irritated with inconveniences like long lines and traffic jams.

Crackers. You're contemplative, thoughtful, and often a loner. You prefer private time and shy away from confrontation and arguments; you can't stand to hurt another person's feelings.

Meat snacks (like beef jerky). You're gregarious and generous, and you tend to be loyal to a fault. Says Hirsch, "If you want a true friend, pick a meat-snack lover."


Excerpted from Alternative Medicine (May 2007), a trusted voice in the field of natural health; www.alternativemedicine.com.