The next time Karen from accounting brings in a box of baked goods for the big morning meeting, remember to stay strong. All of those extra office goodies are adding an extra 1,300 calories to your diet every week!
A large CDC study of 5,222 people found that about a quarter of Americans eat food at work at least once a week. Free food made up most of the excess calories, while food and beverage vending machines in the cafeteria rounded out the count.
In other words, employees are eating unnecessary empty calories — almost always of the processed variety — while they’re at work. The food tended to be high in solid fats and/ or added sugars. The most common foods were pizza, soda, cookies, brownings, cakes, and pies, NBC reported. And since most of this food is offered for free, it makes it difficult to avoid temptation.
The CDC offered one solution.
“Since we found that a lot of the foods obtained by employees were free, employers may also want to consider healthy meeting policies to encourage healthy food options at meetings and social events,” CDC epidemiologist and study leader Stephen Onufrak said in a press release.
The study focusing on the food people get at work is reportedly the first of its kind. Onufrak will present the new research at the American Society for Nutrition annual meeting this fall.
“We hope that the results of our research will help increase healthy food options at worksites in the US,” Onufrak said.