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15 June 2018, 09:42 | Melissa Porter
Study: Americans Eat Too Much Free Food at Work
The research mirrors a recent study of over 8,000 people in the United Kingdom, which found that those who ate regularly at their desks or in the office canteen were more likely to be obese.
Onufrak said, "While work foods aren't really necessarily a huge source of calories overall in people's diets, I think they are still a significant source", adding, "If you look at the quality of the foods people got, it definitely did not necessarily adhere to the dietary guidelines very closely".
The study was presented at an American Society for Nutrition meeting held on Monday.
More than 20 percent of Americans get food from work at least once a week and much of it, by any stretch of gooey oozy pizza cheese, is not healthy for us, a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found. Whether it's your co-workers bringing in bagels on Fridays, donuts for someone's birthday, or just a vending machine craving in the afternoon - food is somehow inescapable at the office. Work foods were high in empty calories, sodium, and refined grains, and low in whole grains and fruit, according to the 2010 Health Eating Index. Acquiring food for free was more common than purchasing food (17 versus 8 percent); 71 percent of all calories acquired at work were accounted for by free food.
The volunteers answered questions about the foods they obtained at work over a seven-day period.
Health experts said that since employees spend a lot of time at work, they are pushed to eat unhealthy food, resulting in the empty calories quickly adding up.
The researchers analysed the food or beverages employees purchased at work from vending machines or cafeterias or that were obtained for free in common areas, at meetings or at worksite social events. Vending machines could swap their cheese-flavored corn chips, at 250 calories with little nutritional value, for sunflower seeds that include healthy fats and fiber, at 160 calories.
"Our results suggest that the foods people get from work do not align well with the recommendations in the dietary guidelines", said Stephen Onufrak to IndiaTv. For their next study, the team will conduct a similar analysis using another dataset involving foods that are specifically purchased from vending machines and cafeterias in the workplace.
"Employers can encourage healthier foods at meetings and events, especially when the employer is providing free food to employees", Onufrak told ABC. They advise workplaces to offer more wellness programs to encourage healthier eating. "Providing delicious, appealing, healthy food can also help to create a culture of health at a workplace".
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