The boycott sugar movement: Is your workplace ready?

Submitted by Dean on 2 August, 2022 - 14:36 with 0 comment

The boycott sugar movement: Is your workplace ready?

Doctors have called for a workplace ban on the sales of sugary drinks after a study at the University of California found that the halt of sales of ‘fizzy pop’ at the canteen reduced staff’s sugar intake by nearly half.

Researchers monitored the behaviour of over 200 staff at the university after the institute removed sugary drinks from all its canteens and vending machines in an attempt to promote a healthier lifestyle amongst staff. Before the ban came into effect, the average participant consumed, on average, a litre of sugary drinks; just 10 months after the ban, this was reduced by almost half.

Medical assessments of the staff found that they had lost an average of more than 2cm from their waistlines and tended to have better insulin resistance and lower cholesterol. Elissa Epel, a professor of psychiatry who led the work noted: “a simple sales ban has meaningful effects on employees’ health…this is very exciting news, because to eliminate sales of sugary beverages is something any institution can do”.

Promoting healthy habits in the workplace

Sometimes it feels like every other day at work you are celebrating someone’s birthday, promotion or retirement and often a way to mark the occasion is to share sugar-loaded goodies. Whether it’s a birthday cake, chocolates or sweets; there is always something there to snack on.

In the workplace, we need our brains to function effectively to get us through the day and to complete the tasks we are set. A brain fuelled with the right amounts of energy can maintain a good level of productivity throughout the day but throw sugar into the mix and this can all go out the window.

Fluctuating blood sugar levels

The body needs sugar in the form of glucose to provide it with the energy it needs to function. Optimum levels of glucose equal optimum productivity and research shows that productivity peaks with 25 grams of glucose in the bloodstream – any less than that and your ability to perform is dramatically reduced.

To get to this level of glucose, you could choose to eat a bowl of porridge or a donut for your breakfast, but the difference lies in the speed in which the body breaks down these foods. Sugary foods are made up of simple sugars, which are easily absorbed into your blood. Whilst this can lead to an initial spike in energy, it means that you will soon crash and be left with blood sugar levels as low as they were before – often meaning you end up eating more sugary snacks just to maintain this level.

On the other hand, something like porridge is full of slow-release energy, meaning you are fuller for longer and have less of an urge to reach for something unhealthy.

Encouraging healthy eating

To promote healthy eating habits in the workplace, it might be worth placing a ban on sugary snacks to be sold on the premises. If this seems too harsh of an approach, employees could be encouraged to pay a sugar tax and donate an extra pound to charity every time they purchase something bad. Over time, this will hopefully change people’s behaviours and, in doing so, help to create a healthier and happier workforce.

To find out more about how Watkin Davies can help source a policy that works for you, get in touch on 02920 626 226. 

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