New study links work-related stress to unhealthy eating habits

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A new study suggests that stressed out workers in the UK are reaching for sugary treats.

Research conducted by the Oral Health Foundation found that more than a quarter of British adults binge on unhealthy foods when they feel stressed. Office workers are most likely to cave in and opt for a sugary delight, with 31% of participants admitting that they eat treats at their desk. 

Dr Nigel Carter OBE, chief executive of the Oral Health Foundation, said that employers can benefit from encouraging healthy eating habits and trying to cut down office snacking and eating at your desk. A healthy diet contributes to good physical and mental health, reducing the risk of employees taking time off sick. Dr Carter suggested providing time out for staff to take breaks and get away from their desks, providing healthy food options at canteens and cafes and filling vending machines with nutritious snacks. 

Grazing on sugary snacks and indulging in treats at the office is not only putting employees at risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity, but also increasing susceptibility to dental decay and gum disease. 

Statistics from the Oral Health Foundation revealed that 15% of workers have taken time off due to dental health issues in the last two years. This equates to 3.6 million lost hours at a cost of around £52 million. 

To combat unhealthy eating habits at work, Dr Carter recommends replacing sweets, biscuits, cakes and chocolate bars with wholemeal crackers, cheese, fruit, raw vegetables, and nuts and swapping fizzy drinks and energy drinks for water and milk. Workers can also reduce sugar content by steering clear of adding sugar to coffee and tea.

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