Free treats are part of our office culture, but recent research says that all of those office extras are expanding our waistlines. Dr. Michael Roizen comments.
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CLEVELAND – An office birthday, a baby shower, or maybe just donuts for a staff meeting – treats are part of our office culture.
But recent research says that all of those office treats are expanding our waistlines.
The study looked at a national survey of 5,222 working adults and found that nearly a quarter of them obtained food while at work – most of it for free.
In fact, researchers said free food accounted for 71 percent of all extra calories acquired at work.
Cleveland Clinic wellness expert Michael Roizen, M.D., did not take part in the research, but said most of us are taking home more than a paycheck from our jobs.
“What they found was that people at work get an extra 1,300 calories, a week or so of snacking and most of the snacking is unhealthy,” he said.
Dr. Roizen said its okay to snack at work, as long as the snacks are healthy.
For those who like to feed their co-workers, he suggests bringing in a favorite dish to share that’s loaded with fruit or vegetables – such as a summer salad, but skip the bread and cheese.
For those of us who like to keep snacks in our drawer or on our desks, Dr. Roizen recommends thinking about replacing candy with walnuts.
And when others bring in the not-so-healthy stuff, don’t torture yourself. He said it’s best to find a buddy and take a walk to get away from the treats.
“You can’t use willpower to defeat this,” said Dr. Roizen. “You have to use techniques such as having healthy snacks on hand, taking a walk, and making sure there are regular rules in your office about what types of foods can be brought in.”
Dr. Roizen admits it’s impossible to stay away from ‘bad’ foods every day of the year. He suggests allowing yourself a couple of ‘freebie’ days on special holidays, which can help make it easier to bypass the urge to snack on treats every day.
Results of the study were originally presented at The American Society for Nutrition’s annual meeting.