As tired, weary shift workers it’s not surprising that we’re lured in by the lollie jar at work, as a source of energy for our sleep-deprived brains.
But have you ever taken the time to read the ingredients label of some of these packaged lollies?
Let me share an example to help prove my point:
Ingredients: Glucose Syrup ( Wheat Or Corn), Cane Sugar, Thickener (Dextrin Roasted Starch, Acid Treated Starch Or Starch Acetate)( Wheat ), Gelatine, Food Acids (Citric, Lactic), Invert Syrup, Flavours, Colours (Carminic Acid, Turmeric, Vegetable Carbon, Paprika Oleoresin, Copper Chlorophyllin, Black Carrot). Contains Wheat. May Contain Milk.
As you can see, there are lots of extra “bonuses” included in that packet, besides the glucose itself.
It’s what makes these 3-ingredient jellies or “lollies” a much healthier alternative.
This is why shift work and a diet high in refined and processed sugars is not a good mix.
Results published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism identified how just one night of sleep deprivation caused a 40% reduction in the body’s ability to handle glucose.
What does this mean?
Quite simply, when you don’t get enough sleep, your body struggles to keep your blood sugar in check.
Given consistently elevated blood sugar can damage blood vessels and contribute to cardiovascular disease and Type 2 Diabetes … shift workers need to know this stuff!!
Unfortunately it becomes a bit of a Catch-22.
When we’re sleep deprived, our body screams out for sugar, because the brain is seeking out a source of energy to help it to function and remain alert.
But too much sugar – AKA donuts, cakes, biscuits, energy drinks etc, (in lieu of sufficient amounts of protein, healthy fats and fibre), can lead to blood sugar dysregulation and inflammation.
So please be mindful of your sugar intake whilst working 24/7 – not just from a weight gain perspective, but to help reduce your risk factors for developing other chronic health conditions such as Type 2 Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease.
This post is probably not going to win me a popularity contest, especially if you love your coffee, but if you’ve been struggling to lose weight, then you might want to stick around to hear what I have to say.
Because weight loss is not all about what you eat, but also what you drink.
Now for the purpose of this post, I going to be focussing on coffee, or more specifically caffeine, which let’s face it, can be a saviour for many who work 24/7.
I also want to point out that I’m referring to those who drink copious amounts of coffee a day (as opposed to just 1 or 2 cups), otherwise known as “chronic coffee drinkers” along with those who consume a lot of energy drinks because the caffeine (and sugar content) of these energy drinks are usually off the scale!
Whilst I’m sure you can all appreciate that caffeine can be a saviour at keeping you awake, it may not be doing the same for your waistline, especially if you drink it continually, and here’s why:
1. Each time you drink (or eat) anything that contains caffeine, it stimulates the nervous system to trigger the release of stress hormones such as adrenalin and cortisol, leading to an elevation in blood sugar.
Why is that a problem?
Having elevated blood sugar when you’re facing a life or death situation is actually a good thing, because it triggers the pancreas to produce insulin, helping to move this glucose out of the blood and into the cells and muscles where it can be used as a source of energy so that you can run away or “escape” from this impending threat.
The trouble is, you don’t actually have to run away from anything, (thankfully), after drinking a cup of coffee.
You’re perfectly safe. Sitting at your desk doing your thing. Answering emails, taking phone calls … whatever it is for you.
But this can be problematic.
Yesterday I was invited to speak at an event titled ‘Love Yourself Masterclass’ for veterinarian and vet nurses here in Brisbane, because quite tragically, these practitioners have the highest suicide rate in the country.
Yes that was not a typo.
These incredible human beings that do an AMAZING job at taking care of our beloved pets are struggling. Struggling to take care of themselves as a result of a highly stressful and emotionally challenging work environment, that is affecting them physically, mentally and emotionally – right to the core.
This gut wrenching suicide statistic is 4 times higher than the average Australian, and twice as high as other medical professions.
So what can be done to support our mental health in the workplace?
Well there are many things, one of which is critically important, is sufficient quality sleep. Something that I spoke about in detail at this event yesterday because it actually trumps nutrition.
But I’ll save that for a separate post, because it deserves it’s very own.
In today’s post I want to talk about the importance of feeding our bodies with the right foods and nutrients, because this simple practice can make a DRAMATIC difference to our mental health.
** BRAND NEW EVENT IN BRISBANE! **
BETTER SLEEP & NUTRITION FOR SHIFT WORKERS
WHERE – TOOMBUL SHIRE HALL
WHEN – 29th November 2019, 7:30-9pm
As shift workers some of our biggest struggles are things like poor sleep, difficulty maintaining a healthy diet, relentless fatigue, weight gain, irritability, knowing what to eat and when, lack of energy and motivation, relationship strain – to name a few!
Join Audra Starkey, author of the newly released book ‘Too Tired To Cook – The Shift Worker’s Guide To Working (and Surviving) In A 24/7 World‘ for a fun and informative evening learning how to manage some of these incredibly tough challenges.
Feedback from previous attendees …
“I’ve been struggling with my weight and eating for years. This session has given me hope. Thank you.”
“Loved every bit of it!”
“Excellent presentation. Engaging and informative. Gave context to how our bodies react to shift work.”
“Thank you very much for your insight into our body clock. So good!”
“Very informative and knowledgeable. Lots of good tips.”
“Great to see information targeted directly to shift workers.”
“Wonderful – really worthwhile.”
“The information around insulin and understanding meal times when to eat was really helpful.”
“Everyone needs to see this presentation.”
“It was totally different to what I thought, and found it very interesting.”
“Amazing. Wish more of my team would attend.”
To purchase tickets visit the event link below: