First national study finds that people who eat at their workstations are consuming empty calories that make them fat


Do employees eat healthily at their workplaces? A study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Nutrition looked at what workers eat at their workplaces by conducting a survey for 5,222 employees across the U.S. This was the first national study to delve into this topic.

The findings of the study were alarming. Researchers discovered that about one in four American workers acquire approximately 1,300 calories at work each week. This is more than half of the recommended daily calorie intake for the average adult. Furthermore, the most common source of the calories people get at work was free food. Employees also get their food from the cafeteria, vending machines, common areas, meetings, and social gatherings.

“The majority of the calories people got at work, people didn’t pay for — 70 percent of the calories were free,” said study co-author Stephen Onufrak, an epidemiologist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The food and beverages most commonly obtained at work were coffee, sugar-sweetened soft drinks, sandwiches, tea, cookies, brownies, french fries, pizza, salad, water, and diet soft drinks. Pizza, sandwiches, and regular soft drinks were the leading sources of calories. (Related: Most Americans don’t eat real food anymore; they consume cheap, lab-concocted, genetically modified, junk-science food-like “stuff.)

The study recommended ways for workplaces to encourage access to healthier food options. Researchers noted that encouraging healthy eating in workplaces can potentially reduce both sick days and health care costs for companies. Listed below are the suggestions proposed by the study:

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  • Promoting a salad bar instead of a pizza or burrito station in cafeterias.
  • Replacing cheese-flavored corn chips (that contain 250 calories with little nutritional value) in vending machines at workplaces with other food items like sunflower seeds, which contain healthy fats and fiber and are lower in calorie count.
  • Putting up a list of calories and nutritional content on vending machine and cafeteria items could also help employees refrain from eating unhealthy food items.

Tips on eating healthy at work

On average, workers spend eight hours a day at their workplaces, and the temptation of eating unhealthy foods at work may be more intense and more frequent because of this and the food available around the workplace. Here are some things you can do to start eating healthy at work:

  • Eat breakfast before leaving for work – Breakfast should not be skipped as it is an important meal that provides the energy you will need to function efficiently at the beginning of the day. Skipping breakfast may make it difficult for you to control your diet and you may end up eating unhealthy food. It is wise to eat breakfast at home because most breakfast foods available outside of home are fattening and not nutritious. If you can’t eat at home, just bring your breakfast to eat at your workplace.
  • Limit coffee consumption – Because of its energizing effect, coffee is one of the most consumed beverages in the workplace. However, coffee can also be bad for the health because of its caffeine content. It is also rich in calories when there are sugar and cream in it. It is also addictive, which may make it difficult to cut it out completely. If possible, try to drink just one small cup a day without the sugar and cream.
  • Drink lots of water – Drinking plenty of water is generally good for the health and can help curb hunger.

Other ways to eat healthy at work include distributing your meals, bringing your own lunch from home, and bringing healthy snacks to work.

Read more news stories and studies on eating healthy by going to Nutrients.news.

Sources include:

ABCNews.go.com

News.Heart.org

FitDay.com



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