Pizza, Donuts, Wine After Work. Are Your Workmates Making You Unhealthy?

If your work colleagues often bring in cakes and biscuits to share, then you should read this.

A recent study conducted by the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention found that on average, people consumed 1,300 extra calories (5400kJ) from food including pizza, cakes, soft drink and biscuits each week at work.

That's like an entire extra days' worth of food. Every week.

And most of that is thanks to well-meaning coworkers, leaving dos, after work drinks and the occasional birthday, right?

So could it be time to, well, call time on your coworkers?

According to Peak Chocolate Nutritionist Courtney Brown,  it most definitely is.

"Assuming you are eating brekky, lunch and dinner -- then you have a piece of cake at morning tea then some biscuits for afternoon tea, and maybe some lollies in the meeting room," she said. "Not only do these calories add up (to more than you need) but you are less likely to have nutrient dense foods (foods with macro and micronutrients -- think raw and wholefoods) and instead you are having processed food that will not help you energy levels, your immune system, or your allow your body to do what it needs."

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"Being surrounded by delicious treats in the office every day gets pretty hard to deal with. Especially when it’s someone’s birthday every day! What is even harder is learning to say no, when your colleagues are having coffee and cake every time you step in the tea room," she told 10 daily.

"Don’t get me wrong -- it is totally fine to have a biscuit or piece of cake, when you want. But getting up from your desk to head to the lolly jar more than once a day is a big no."

And why, er, is that -- sorry, just had a mouthful of cake...

"It’s a lot harder to focus on your work when your sugar levels are going crazy. Your energy will be high for a little bit then you will get the ‘sugar crash’ and want to nap under your desk, or go back to the fridge for another donut!"

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Also, said Courtney, if you work in an office, most likely you are sitting down the majority of the day. Therefore you're using less energy then you are putting in your bodies, which can lead of course to weight gain and sluggishness.

Lastly, if you're not drinking enough water, you may THINK you're hungry when you're not.

It turns out that up to a staggering 70 percent of adults are dehydrated, and we need to be drinking at least two litres of fluid a day -- so make sure you're regularly going up to the tap to refill your glass or bottle.

 So is workplace piggishness a real phenomenon that needs to be sorted?

"Maybe not so much a phenomenon but it is definitely a problem in a lot of offices. Businesses need to be supporting their employees' wellbeing through work-life balance, and included in that is nutrition," said Courtney.

Courtney's tips for healthier workplace eating
  • Have a healthy option -- protein balls, fruit bowls, mineral water, smoothies, dark chocolate.
  • Get your office to minimise the sweets and get more fruit and veg, or healthy snacks.
  • Instead of Friday night drinks, get the office to put on a BBQ with meat and veg and salads.
  • Think about what your body needs as opposed to what it wants (which is likely to be sugary food when you're hungry!)
  • Build your own habits of taking food that you enjoy eating and you know is full of the good stuff.
  • Stay hydrated -- as you won't want to snack as much.
  • Eat every three hours so you don’t allow yourself to want the high sugar foods to give you that energy.

Feature image: Getty