Not only can late-snacking derail your weight loss goals, but it also may negatively impact your productivity at work.
A new study published in the Journal of Applied Psychologyfound that people who reported eating unhealthy snacks, particularly late at night, struggled to be a team player at work the following day. For the study, researchers at North Carolina State University asked 97 full-time employees in the U.S. to answer a series of questions three times a day for 10 days straight.
Participants answered questions about how they felt emotionally and physically before the workday began and by day's end, they answered questions on what they accomplished. Then, before they went to bed, subjects recorded what they ate and drank after work. (Related: 15 Underrated Weight Loss Tips That Actually Work).
For the purpose of this study, "unhealthy eating" was used to describe moments where subjects felt like they'd overindulged in food or drink, had too much junk food in particular, or had too many late-night snacks. What the researchers found? Those who participated in unhealthy eating behaviors were more likely to report having physical and emotional issues the next morning.
Common physical complaints included headache, stomachache, and diarrhea. Mentally, participants who engorged the night prior said they felt guilty and or even ashamed about what they ate.Even more interesting, these people also reported changes in their behavior at work, saying they had less inclination to help colleagues go the "extra mile."
Instead, participants who engaged in unhealthy eating behaviors felt more comfortable withdrawing, meaning they avoided work-related situations despite being at the workplace.
"The big takeaway here is that we now know unhealthy eating can have almost immediate effects on workplace performance," Seonghee "Sophia" Cho, the corresponding author of the study and an assistant professor of psychology at North Carolina State University, said in a statement.
"However, we can also say that there is no single 'healthy' diet, and healthy eating isn't just about nutritional content. It may be influenced by an individual's dietary needs, or even by when and how they're eating, instead of what they're eating."
Subjects who were better able to cope with stress didn't suffer from as many adverse side effects from healthy eating as those who were a bit more emotionally volatile. Overall, those who overindulged in either food or alcohol (or both) the night before work reported notable changes in how they behaved at work the next day.
For tips on healthier things to eat when that urge to eat in late at night strikes, be sure to check out 15 Healthy Late Night Snacks for When the Midnight Munchies Hit.
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One Major Side Effect of Late-Night Snacking, Says a New Study | Eat This Not That - Eat This, Not That