Mumbai: Eating junk food at work can lead to several health issues and scarily, this eating pattern spills over to eating habits outside as well, say experts. Doctors from the King Edward Memorial Hospital said such dietary habits can increase the risk of diabetes and heart ailments in people as compared to those who make healthy food choices. Unhealthy food choices can also lead to obesity over time. “There is a need to raise awareness that lifestyle-related ailments can increase absenteeism, lower productivity, and result in higher healthcare expenses for employers,” they said. Offering more healthful meal options at work holds out the promise of improving wellness among employees. Employers should consider offering appealing and healthy options in cafeterias, vending machines, and at meetings and social events.

Dr KK Aggarwal, president, Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI), said Indians have a tendency to accumulate fat around the abdomen, which can lead to insulin resistance. One of the primary reasons for this is the lifestyle people lead today. “On-the-go and fast-paced lives mean people skip their breakfast and end up eating unhealthy, quick-fix meals through the remainder of the day. At work they should substitute junk food (refined carbs with trans fats) with fast food (fruits, milk, curd, salad, dry fruits, sattu, lemon water, sugarcane juice and honey),” said Dr Aggarwal. There should be greater emphasis on providing people with healthier options (stocking more fruits and vegetables in dorms, cafeterias and workplaces, substituting fruit for dessert, and offering free fruit).

Dr Aggarwal said one should not overeat and fill the stomach to capacity. The taste buds are only on the tip and sides of the tongue. When one gulps down food, the brain will not get signals. “Eating small pieces and chewing them properly also sends signals through the tastebuds. The brain gets a signal only when the stomach is 100 per cent full. Thus, how much one can eat depends on the fullness of the stomach,“said a dietitian.