How The Diet Impacts Workflow

In order to have a healthy lifestyle it is imperative to have healthy eating habits. However, many people link healthy nutrition to weight loss or health in general. Only very few will associate healthy eating habits with productivity at work.

Diet has more of a direct impact on work than most of us realise. According to scientists at Brigham Young University, employees are 66% more likely to report productivity loss than people who eat healthier. Eating too much or consuming the wrong foods during the workday can have effect on performance. Nonetheless, the relationship between diet and work output goes much deeper.

It has been found that carbohydrates can kill productivity. They are usually found in sugary and starchier foods and although they are an important part of the diet, they are never the most important part of any meal. Their relation to the body’s insulin can affect daily energy reserves. The body tends to produce a lot of insulin when there is an intake of food rich in carbs. This then causes the brain to produce sleep hormones like tryptophan and serotonin. In fact, studies have shown that most of the body’s serotonin get stored in the gut which makes the connection between energy and diet more direct.

Many people believe that caffeine has a positive impact on productivity as it is associated with higher energy levels, focus, better alertness and reduced fatigue. The latest coffee statistics from the International Coffee Organization (ICO), revealed that 1.4 billion cups of coffee are poured everyday around the world. This is because coffee is one of the world’s favourite caffeinated beverages which is intended as a “pick-me-up” before or during work.

However, how and in what quantities caffeine is consumed can lead to anxiety and jitteriness that lead to distraction and interfere with the sleeping schedule; no amount of caffeine will be able to make up for cognitive impairment if there is too much sleep loss. In addition to this, caffeine dependency can cause withdrawal symptoms if a person goes without their daily caffeine intake which will impair focus.

Blood sugar was also found to have a direct impact on performance. It is suggested that the ideal amount of blood glucose to have in your body is 25 grams. Anything less than that can have a negative impact on productivity and with more than that you would not be able to do much with that extra energy.

Recent studies have shown that the ability to resist temptation and do the right thing has a lot more to do with the body’s glucose levels than people think. Thus, having a low blood sugar can result in lowered ability and lowered willpower to get work done and stay on task.

Still, not everything raises blood glucose in the same amounts or ways. Foods like white rice and chocolate bars causes blood glucose to spike which is then followed by a crash shortly after. Fruits, vegetables and oatmeal are low glycemic foods that provide a slow steady release over the course of hours.

Having a healthy diet can not only bring many benefits to health but productivity. The wrong foods at the wrong time can have consequences on workflow. Positive nutritional changes are important for long term success.

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