Watch CBS News

Seen At 11: Is Snacking On The Job Making You Fat?

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- From monthly office birthday celebrations, to Friday pizza parties in the conference room and the ever-present office candy jar -- is the effort to boost camaraderie and office morale with food sabotaging your diet?

"A lot of people do bring in stuff, what's leftover -- and you know, you are vulnerable," said Nicolette Pace, a nutritionist.

This vulnerability or tendency to eat simply because food is around is actually backed by some science, CBS2's Kristine Johnson reported.

A Cornell University study found secretaries ate nearly five more pieces of chocolate a day when the candy was visible and close by for the taking.

The findings are not much of a surprise to employees at 5W Public Relations, who say there's no shortage of snacks at their midtown office.

"For me, I always go for chocolate," one employee said.

Experts say come mid-afternoon the need to nibble can even become contagious.

"The cravings usually go together with fatigue... and brain fog," Dr. Raphael Kellman said.

But repeatedly grabbing sugary snacks will only make you feel worse because they contribute to an overgrowth of bad bacteria in your gut, Kellman said.

"The tendencies and the cravings of those bacteria are hijacking our own brain and causing us to be addicted to crave all these foods," Kellman said.

Experts say it's a vicious cycle that can effect certain professions more than others. A survey of 3,700 workers found administrative assistants, engineers and teachers are the jobs most likely to make you gain weight.

"You would really need to look at your work habits," Pace said.

But there are ways to boost your will power at work. For starters, Pace advised, get up and walk away from your desk every 90 minutes.

"And you won't necessarily need to take sugars or starches or any of the other snack-type foods," Pace said.

Pace also recommends keeping a food journal to keep track of daily snacking and, most importantly, eating a substantial meal every four to six hours.

"If you don't you are really vulnerable," Pace said.

Nurses and IT professions rounded out the top five jobs with the greatest number of workers reporting weight gain.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.