In our society lunch breaks are becoming shorter and shorter, and for some they are non-existent. A recent study found that as many as one in four people say they are too busy to take a break for lunch, and 30% eats lunch at their desk. Most people think of this as a way to save time and avoid working late; but it seldom works out that way. All the little tasks and decisions we make each day as we work gradually deplete our psychological resources. When our psychological resources become depleted and, as stress levels increase, our energy levels and our ability to concentrate decrease. This is why it is so important to take a lunch break in your day. Making the time for a lunch break and nourishing the body with healthy food raises blood sugar levels and re-energizes the body. It lowers stress levels and makes you feel refreshed and able to focus for the rest of the day. Taking the time to actually get away from your desk is also important, especially if you are watching your weight. Habitually eating while working can result in elevated stress levels, leading to elevated levels of cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that is released when the body is under stress, and when elevated for long periods of time it increases fat accumulation in the body. Working while eating also increases the chance of you overeating because all the distractions keep you from realizing that you’re full until you’ve eaten too much. This means eating lunch will decrease your stress, increase productivity, and help you to manage your weight. That sounds like a triple threat to me! So next time you think of skipping lunch, just remember our advice. :)
Katie Doyle specializes in food safety and is an avid health advocate. She has a degree in nutrition and competes in triathlons in her spare time.