Office Eating Habits May Sabotage Health, Weight Loss Efforts

The HealthGal Health Guide
  • I recently received a news release that explored an article written by Sue Shellenbarger on April 12th in The Wall Street Journal.  The article explored the concept of office snacking and desk candy bowls.  Do they help with morale or do they somehow sabotage your health?  Let's start with the concept of what the food in this situation represents.


    A snack on someone's desk invariably invites you to come and schmooze or visit, hang there a bit and "shoot the breeze;" loiter and visit or keep the desk on your moving pathway whenever you have reason to get up from your own desk and move about.  After all, it's a lot more fun to get a food payoff when you are moving from point A to point B or just moving about.  Science tells us that the sight or smell of treats triggers an impulse in most people to eat - whether or not they are actually hungry.  A snack is supposed to be a "bridge between meals" but if you are grazing throughout the day on intermittent sweets, science tells us that you may be setting yourself up for a growing waistline, blood sugar highs and lows which can cause moodiness, lack of focus.  Of course, constant snacking on processed sweets can put you at risk for conditions that will cost your employer lots of sick days.     

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    You can probably convince yourself that these nibbles don't add up to much, that the movement you do during the day can easily burn them off, that if you exercise daily you can grab and nosh without weight gain.  Not so, says this expert.  Most of us sit far more than we move.  And if you do exercise in the morning, it is usually not enough to create an energy balance, which means calories taken in equal calories burned, especially if you are grabbing small snacks a couple to many times a day.  It's also important to remember that every processed morsel eaten spikes blood sugar, causing an insulin release and preventing your metabolism from needing to burn excess fat.


    Office workers and people in general need to realize how many processed foods they eat daily and how many times they consume servings of sugar.  One expert in The Wall Street Journal article pointed out that the average person consumes upwards of 50 teaspoons (200 calories) of pure sugar daily.  Imagine if the boss decided one day to put apple bowls on arbitrary desks all around the office perimeter.  I call fruit "fast food" because it is easy to grab food that is ready to be eaten.  So are hard boiled eggs and small containers of fat free yogurt.  Of course those are a bit more perishable.  So why not be brave and ask your boss to finance a "fruit bowl effort."  He can start with his desk, your desk and the office kitchen. Make sure there's variety of color and that all fruits are washed.


    Do you graze from office candy bowls all day long? Have you gained weight at your current job? would you like to see fruit bowls at work?

Published On: September 06, 2011