Food and Beverages At Workplace are Not Healthy Options

Food and Beverages At Workplace are Not Healthy Options

They can install vending machines which come with healthier options and ensure the employees are offered with healthier choices at the workplace cafeterias.

The researchers looked at dietary habits of more than 5,000 people and found that food consumed on the job - often food the study subjects didn't pay for - may be contributing to the nation's obesity crisis.

It's not a secret that the frosted chocolate cake left in the office break room is not the most nutritious snack, but a new study shows that those extra calories from free office food might be adding up to quite a lot.

Results were presented at the American Society for Nutrition's annual meeting in Boston.

These "free" calories came from a number of sources, namely breakroom staples like coffee and tea (sweetened or with cream) and soft drinks, but there were also a number of other foods on the list: sandwiches, cookies, brownies, french fries, pizza, and salad.

The food people get at work contributes to unhealthy eating as it tends to contain high amounts of sodium and refined grains, and very little whole grains and fruit, a U.S. study has found. "We're eating more meat than recommended, more refined grains", said Angela Amico, a policy associate at the Center for Science in the Public Interest who was not involved with the study.

Approximately 70% of those calories were from free food in common areas, during meetings or at work-related social events, according to analysis of the data from a household survey of food purchases and acquisitions. They rarely included whole grains or fruit.

Employers could also ensure that foods in cafeterias or vending machines follow food service guidelines, which translate the US Dietary Guidelines for Americans into practical recommendations, researchers said.

Employees are forced to eat unhealthy foods when they spend more than half of their working hours at their workplace, which quickly adds up the empty calories, said Amico.

Stephen Onufrak, an epidemiologist at the CDC, explained that "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".

"Employers can encourage healthier foods at meetings and events, especially when the employer is providing free food to employees", Onufrak told ABC.

The researchers are encouraging employers to implement worksite wellness programs to promote healthier eating.

The scientists are now hoping to continue their investigations to explore the foods specifically purchased from vending machines and cafeterias at work.