Breaking for Lunch

August 6, 2013

I just read about a mini-study on the effects of taking lunch breaks at work. The study showed that people who take lunch breaks work less effectively after lunch than people who eat lunch at their desks. They concluded that people who eat lunch at their desks get more work done than people who go out to eat at restaurants.

Nowhere does it mention that the kind of food you eat has the most effect on your body than whether you eat at your desk or at a restaurant with friends and a waitstaff serving you.

When you eat foods like pizza or potatoes, or those rich in cream sauces, most people experience extreme fatigue shortly after getting back to work. Recognizing this trend of people lunching at fast food restaurants and eating foods high in carbohydrates and fats, many companies now have rooms set aside for employees to take a twenty-minute power nap after lunch.

I’m a firm believer in getting away from the office for some part of each day even if it’s only for a lunch break. It helps you clear your head and get a different perspective and work more effectively the rest of the day.

Many years ago, I started a job that was very stressful. It was my first day at work and when the lunch hour rolled around, I noticed that no one mentioned taking a break. All of a sudden, the door opened and someone came in with a huge box of pastries; there was a mad dash to tear into the box of goodies.

I sat at my desk getting a beast of a hunger headache. I knew that I couldn’t have the bakery items that everyone else was eating and was so surprised that one of the employees, who had just told me earlier that morning that she was diabetic and on insulin, was the first one to stuff a jelly donut into her mouth.

None of us produced much work that afternoon. The next day, I stood up and told the group that I’d see them after lunch. They were astonished that I was leaving the office for such a mundane thing as taking a lunch break.

I produced more work that afternoon, having driven home for a nutritious lunch than they did, working at their desks, making a meal of pastries.

My conclusion? Their conclusion is wrong.

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