Many people don’t bother about a lunch break and eat at their workstations. But they end up paying a heavy price for it.
If you’re reading this at your desk, sandwich in one hand and pen in the other, it seems you’re not alone. Don’t even bother with a lunch break, eating at our workstations. But are we paying the price with our health?
Eating quickly is bad
“Eating quickly can be detrimental to our health for a variety of reasons,” says nutritionist Shona Wilkinson. “It’s important that we sit up straight while eating, rather than being hunched over our desk, and it’s also important to eat slowly.” Sitting up straight improves your digestion, which reduces bloating and discomfort.
Chew your food well
Chewing each mouthful slowly and thoroughly also releases more nutrients from our food, leaving us healthier, whereas swallowing half chewed chunks of food causes undigested particles to ferment in the gut, causing more bloating. However, thanks to the recession, the average person is busier and more stressed than ever, so a leisurely lunch is a luxury many of us can’t afford.
Don’t eat in a hurry
If lunchtime is always rushed, you can undo some of the damage by buying or preparing the right meal. “When we’re in a hurry, we’re more likely to reach for quick, processed foods that are full of fat and sugar,” says Shona. “But sugary or high-carbohydrate lunches will cause a 4pm energy slump. They’ll give you a quick burst of energy but then you’ll experience a rapid fall in blood sugar levels, leaving you tired and lethargic and craving sugar in the form of biscuits and chocolate.”
Protein, on the other hand, will slow down the release of sugar from carbs into your bloodstream and leave you fuller for longer with more energy.
Taking a lunch break is important
Taking your time over meals gives your body the opportunity to release cholecystokinin, or CCK. This hormone is a “full up” signal that allows our brains to register we’re no longer hungry and to stop eating. If we eat too quickly, we don’t register fullness, which can cause us to overeat.