Just A Spoonful Of… Stress?

by Jillian Cecchini, Managing Editor

Jillian Cecchini,. Managing Editor of Oral Health GroupA recent study from the Oral Health Foundation caught my attention. According to the study, evidence suggests that office workers are the most likely to eat sugary food and drinks as a result of stress – rather than those out of work. As a result, the Oral Health Foundation is calling for ‘stress-free working environments’ to end these sugar binges.

Does a stress-free working environment even exist?

I work for a very successful company. I’m an editor for a great publication, have amazing co-workers, and a brand-new office that provides a beautiful and creative space to work every day. With that being said – stress still happens. I’ve written multiple editorials on stress in the workplace and how to do your best to manage the inevitable. But is a stressful workplace at fault for my sugar cravings?

It’s no secret that sugar can wreak havoc on your body if you’re indulging in a little too much of the good stuff. The harmful effects it can have on your physical, mental, and oral health are well-studied, and the fact is that when you eat more sugar, the more you crave it.

Full disclosure: I jumped on the bandwagon for a fad diet that eliminated all sugar and carbs. It proved very successful for many months and I was pleasantly pleased with the results. A lot of people questioned why I was on the diet in the first place. I’ll be honest, it had nothing to do with my weight or appearance. It had everything to do with my health. The research I did, though many people will have different opinions, led me to believe that cutting out sugar and carbs would overall change how I felt. And it did. I found myself with a lot more energy and a lot less bloated. I was sleeping better, my moods were consistent, and my cravings to constantly snack were pretty much non-existent.

But I fell off this summer. Hard. I’m back to eating carbs and sugar (in moderation) but I must admit that I prefer the way I felt before. August was a particularly busy for the Oral Health Group as we were producing an additional 13th issue of Oral Health (coming soon)! This was alongside our September issues of Oral Health, Oral Hygiene and Oral Health Office. With multiple deadlines looming and the workload constantly piling up, I found myself full of cravings. And in this office, all I had to do was walk over to the kitchen to see what was waiting for me on the island. Samosas? Yep. Butter tarts? Sure. A bowl of jelly beans? Fine. What happened to my will power to pass and pick up a healthy snack instead?

For many years, ‘comfort eating’ has been seen as an excuse to consume unhealthy sugars and fats. When under stress, our bodies release a hormone called Cortisol, which increases our appetites. Sugar can weaken your body’s ability to respond to stress, which can trigger anxiety and the ability to deal with the cause. This explains everything. But now, how do we promote a healthy work environment?

Maybe it’s time to gather as an office and come up with different ways to promote a healthier environment. Consult with your team and brainstorm ideas of how to incorporate a healthy lifestyle in the office. And after you do that, be sure to email your tips over to me because I currently need them more than ever.

RELATED ARTICLE: Oral Health Foundation Calls For Stress-Free Working Environments To End Sugar Binges

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