Scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found that office snacks may be responsible for many unhealthy lifestyles.
Workplaces across America tend to provide their employees with snacks that are high in both salt and refined grains. That includes treats like pastries during a morning meeting or doughnuts in the break room.
Though a snack every now and then is not a problem, the new study reveals that many people eat more than just a few.
For the research, the team analyzed over 5,000 employees across the United States to see how many food or beverage items get purchased from vending machines and work cafeterias. They looked at how much free food they eat in common areas as well.
Data revealed that nearly a quarter of the participants ate 1,300 calories a week. Almost 70 percent of those came from free food in common areas, during meetings, or at work-related social events.
“Unfortunately, the diets of Americans in general is not really consistent with the recommendations from the US Dietary Guidelines for Americans, said Angela Amico, a policy associate at the Center for Science in the Public Interest who was not involved with the study, according to CNN.”We’re eating more meat than recommended, more refined grains. Americans are not consuming enough fruits, vegetables, and dairy and it can be challenging to meet those guidelines when you have a food environment that doesn’t support it.”
Though the food items are not a huge source of calories, they do contribute much more than what is healthy. None of the snacks are quality food, and that is a big problem from a dietary standpoint.
The team has no solution to this newly discovered issue, but they believe it could be beneficial for employers to promote work site wellness programs that encourage better eating. It may also be beneficial to alter the federal recommendations for both vending machines and cafeterias.
“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,” said lead author Stephen Onufrak, a researcher at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to Tech Times.
This research was presented at the American Society for Nutrition.