Shocking study says people eat unhealthy foods in the office

Here’s a shocking study. According to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention a lot of the food made available to you in the workplace isn’t very healthy. Wait a minute! Donuts aren’t as good for you as broccoli? WHAT?

Photo: Bethany Newman

Here’s a shocking study. According to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a lot of the food made available to you in the workplace isn’t very healthy. Wait a minute! Donuts aren’t as good for you as broccoli? WHAT?

The study looked at data from U.S. Department of Agriculture survey, specifically looking at the purchases of over 5,000 employees from vending machines or cafeterias and free food available to them in the workplace and found that the average subject was getting 1,300 calories per week from workplace food and over 70% of it was free. Most of this food fell into the fats and added sugar categories as well as high sodium.

Companies offer food over health insurance

With more and more companies offering not only free snacks (Bloomberg) but also full catered meals every day (Asana, Ancestry.com, Spotify), this isn’t surprising news. According to Jobvite’s 2016 Recruiter Nation survey, millennials reported they were more likely to get free snacks at work than to have medical/dental coverage or a 401K plan. That’s right. You are more likely to have access to a S’mores Pop-Tart than health coverage at some companies.

“To our knowledge, this is the first national study to look at the food people get at work,” Stephen Onufrak, an epidemiologist in the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a statement. “People may not even be realizing how many calories they’re getting,” he told The Boston Globe.

Mindless eating

Part of the problem is because you are stressed or maybe even a little bored at work, eating is just something to do to pass the time. A study conducted by Cornell University found that 40 secretaries who participated ate an average of 3.1 Hershey’s kisses a day from an office candy bowl if the dish was opaque and covered. But when the candy was put within clear view in a transparent glass bowl, each secretary consumed an average of 2.5 more pieces a day. Slide that dish within reach of their desks, and the secretaries added another 2.1 candies to the daily intake, for a total of 7.7 pieces.

Keep that in mind the next time you head to get an office snack.

Meredith Lepore|is the Deputy Editor of Ladders and can be reached at mlepore@theladders.com.