By David Saunders, Health Editor | UPDATED: 08:28, 08 July 2020
Unhappy office workers spend over £14,000 on comfort food in their lifetime, according to a study.
A poll of 2,000 people showed disgruntled staff dish out #221 a year on junk food when in a bad mood. That means the total figure over a lifetime adds up to an incredible #14,144 spent fighting the blues with food.
More than three quarters of respondents admitted moods make all the difference when it came to lunch, with results showing a poor mood or high stress levels triggering a lardy food run.
But workers who have a positive approach to their job are likely to pick up healthy lunches, such as salads and low-calorie sandwiches.
The research, commissioned by Gaviscon, also found as many as one in two claim they always opt for a healthy lunch on days their mood is buoyant and upbeat.
However, more than half said they abandon plans to eat healthy lunches like sushi and salads in favour of burgers, curries and pizza.
A spokesman for Gaviscon said: ”We can all relate to reaching for comfort food if we have had a bad day.
”If you are feeling stressed out, the default seems to be to reach for chocolate, crisps and indulgent foods as a ‘treat’.
”However, it’s not a treat and the ‘high’ you get from these foods rarely lasts long.
”Gorging on indulgent foods and heavy lunches often leaves you feeling bloated, sluggish and guilty.’’
The study also found roughly four meals a week are selected on the basis of the mood we are in.
Results showed that a bad day in the office was by far the main reason for comfort eating with 72 per cent of adults admitting they do this.
The typical worker will scoff on fast-food at their desk 38 times in an average year because they are in a foul mood, with 45 per cent claiming the worse their mood, the more indulgent their food choice.
Fortunately, 45 per cent of those quizzed said their typical weekday lunch is ‘quite fresh’, but 30 per cent described their work lunches as ‘fatty’ and ‘greasy’.
Not only do workers admit to eating poor quality food, 47 per cent said they rush their food down if they are having a busy or stressful day.
In fact, the average person said they consumed their lunch in just six minutes with an average three meals per week eaten at the desk.
At the other end of the spectrum, a worrying 14 per cent of those surveyed report missing lunch all together as they simply don’t have time to eat.
According to those surveyed, on a good day at work the most popular meal to reach for is still the humble sandwich, but on a bad day the most desirable lunch is a bar of chocolate.
Dietitian Azmina Govindji said: “We all experience stressful, busy days, but missing meals altogether to save time is a false economy, as is rushing your food at your desk, or substituting a meal for a bar of chocolate or copious amounts of strong coffee.
”It’s important to take some time out to savour your food, instead of devouring a sandwich in five minutes so you can get back to work.
”These habits can make you more prone to problems such as heartburn or indigestion, which could leave you feeling uncomfortable in the afternoon.
Almost four in ten workers (39 per cent) said the Christmas period is the busiest time of year for them, so are expecting a rocky few weeks ahead with nearly half finding their job stressful during the festive period.
Arguments with their other half, money worries and a bad nights’ sleep were also triggers for reaching for sugary snacks and unhealthy foods.
And four in ten (41 per cent) of adults encourage the rest of their family to join them in take-aways and fast food if they have experienced a bad day at work.
The study showed that reaching for fatty foods is not only bad for our waistlines, but our bank balances too – with the typical worker forking out £221.76 a year on junk food to improve their mood.