Break-room snacks: Treat or train wreck

Break-room snacks: Treat or train wreck

Studies say "morale boosting" office treats are doing more harm than good.
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May 17, 2011
By dvm360.com staff

Whether it's cookies from clients or birthday cake in the break room, chances are unhealthy foods make a frequent appearance at your veterinary clinic. These yummy treats are meant to boost morale but are they doing more harm than good? The answer is yes, if you look at increases in sick days, says a study published in the Wall Street Journal.

The WSJ study says the mere sight or smell of candy, cookies, donuts, and other sweet snacks triggers a desire to eat them. Since most Americans lug around excess body fat, these so-called treats don’t help dieting efforts and may inadvertently contribute to increasing sick days. They might also result in more anxiety, listlessness, or moodiness when the sugar rush wears off.

People often think they can work off these snacks with a little extra exercise or activity. However, theWSJ study says that just two pieces of candy each workday totals about 480 calories—a 160-pound person would need to walk for 157 minutes, ballroom dance for 132 minutes, golf 88 minutes, backpack for 56 minutes, or run fast for 29 minutes just to burn off those extra calories. You don’t even want to know the amount of exercise it would take to burn off one donut or cookie. In addition, these sugary treats wreak havoc with our bodies, spiking insulin levels and making fat burning impossible.

Do everyone in your clinic a favor: Discourage unhealthy office snacking and start bringing fresh fruits for the office snack bowl instead of candy. Encourage your co-workers to do the same. Another healthy idea: Start an office pool for a biggest loser contest, just like you do for your portliest patients. Click here for even more ways to be healthy at work.