Overnutrition In Shift Work – Is There Such A Thing?

Overnutrition – is there really such a thing?  Can you really have too much of a good thing?  You bet and it’s when you eat so much food that your body has no choice but to store the excess in your tissues as FAT. 

You see as much as you would like to think so, no amount of exercise can undo a bad diet – it’s just not physically possible.  And the harsh reality is if you continue down this path of overeating, obesity will eventually catch up with you – no question. 

Quite simply, obesity is a disease of affluence and extravagance and unfortunately many shift workers are now becoming part of these rather grim statistics thanks to a predominantly fast food diet.  If you suffer from obesity it means you’re more prone to developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, liver disease, osteoarthritis and a whole heap of other serious health conditions.

Not to forget sleep apnea, which for someone who is already struggling to get enough sleep thanks to a 24/7 roster, is not a good situation to be in.

So back to the food.  Burgers, fries, soft drinks – your body doesn’t even know what these ‘foods’ are which is why it struggles so much to try and digest them, using up a whole lot of your precious energy reserves in the process.

You need to eat to give yourself energy – not the other way around.

And even if you think you are eating ‘healthy’, many of us are eating portion sizes which are double, sometimes three times more than what our body actually requires.

As John Last describes in his book – Public Health and Human Ecology, “Obese people are rarely seen in the crowded, predominantly rural agrarian nations of the developing world”. 

Yep, totally agree with that one.

So at the end of the day, you don’t want to become an obesity statistic. 

Now some of you might be reading this article and saying “well this doesn’t apply to me – I’m not obese”.  Well that’s really good, because I sincerely hope you are know where near becoming obese.  However even if you are ‘just overweight’, then it too comes with it’s own set of health issues which can eventually lead to obesity.

So despite what you may think, you cannot blame shift work for your weight gain.  It’s just easier to eat junk and other fast foods when you work shift work.

It all comes down to what you are (or are not) putting inside your mouth – and how much of it.

So start to think and apply nutrition – instead of overnutrition and your shift work health, (and waistline) will thank you for it.

Shift Work Snacks – How To Have Your Chocolate And Eat It Too!

When you work shift work it’s really easy to snack on all sorts of junk food. If you’re feeling fatigued all of the time you just want to grab the fastest source of food you can get yours hands on.

And for most shift workers, this typical shift work diet falls into the ‘very unhealthy’ category.

I know because I used to be one of them.

Chips, chocolate, lollies, soft drink, fast food burgers – you name it and I’ve tried it.

The only trouble with this lifestyle, is eating junk food severely adds to your fatigue.

Have a think about this.

If you eat a packet of potato chips which are laden with fat, salt, and preservatives how is it going to give you more energy? Your body is going to think – “What on earth is this?” or more importantly, “how am I going to digest these potato chips because they’ve undergone so much human intervention.”

Your body simply does not recognise this type of food.

You see the actual process of digestion expends a great deal of energy, so if you’re already struggling from exhaustion then you’re only contributing to your fatigue when you eat these types of highly processed foods.

Your body is an amazing machine.

It can put of with a lot of junk but it will always struggle to digest highly processed food because it quite simply does not know HOW to digest it. As a result, not only will you feel really tired soon after eating this food, your body will receive little if any nutrition at all.

If anything, you are just loading up your body with toxic substances making you feel even more tired.

What’s really interesting is in most developed countries today, people are severely malnourished.

Not because we don’t have an abundant source of nutritious food (quite the contrary), but because we’re eating all of the wrong foods. Foods that were not grown from the earth containing all of the essential vitamins and nutrients our body needs in order to stay healthy and function at its peak.

So I’ve decided to share with you one of my favourite shift work snack recipes to help steer you away from this toxic junk food path. It’s about eating more raw foods, that is, foods which are as close to their original state as possible.

And the best part about this shift work snack is you can have your chocolate and eat it too!


Raw Chocolate Cacao Balls

1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup almonds
1 cup softened dates
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup gogi berries
3 heaped dessert spoons of Organic Raw Cacao Powder
1 tsp vanilla concentrate
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons tahini paste
Desiccated coconut for rolling

Soak dates overnight or simmer until soft. Process all ingredients (except the coconut) in a food processor and then place into the fridge for 30 minutes. When cool, shape into balls and roll in desiccated coconut (makes about 20).

What Is The Healthiest Food For Shift Workers? Those Which Contain Few Ingredients.

A disruptive lifestyle can often lead shift workers on a constant cycle of eating all of the wrong foods at all of the wrong times of the day.

But if you can’t change the hours that you work – what sort of foods are really healthy for shift workers to eat?

Would you believe food that contains few ingredients?

Confused? Well let me explain.

Thanks to the Weight Loss Industry we’ve become so obsessed about reading the Nutritional Facts on food labels that we’ve forgotten to look closer at the other part of the label – the list of ingredients.

Let’s take a look at the example above.

This label breaks down how much fat, cholesterol, sodium (salt), carbohydrate and sugar is inside the product which is great – but do you recognise any of the ingredients?!

Not really familiar are they.

The sad thing is that we’re so engrossed in reading the nutrition labels on food today; we don’t really look at the actual food content.

In fact so many people will even select their food off a supermarket shelf based on the vitamin and mineral content even if the food does not resemble real food. Protein bars, breakfast cereals, margarine and diet foods are a prime example. These foods may look good in the nutrient content, but when you look at the actual ingredients, you find that there are a bunch of numbers, hydrogenated vegetables oils and a lot of other non-real food items.

So if you’re searching for the healthiest food for shift workers then just keep things simple. Choose food that is as close to how Mother Nature designed it.

I very rarely check the ingredients on food that I buy because I hardly ever eat food that has an ingredient list on it! For example, a piece of fruit doesn’t come with a food label. What you see is what you get – there are no hidden ingredients.

So stop worrying about how many grams of this and that is contained in something – spend more time focussing on what it actually is that you’re eating.

For shift workers who rely heavily on packaged and processed food for “sustenance” – eating this type of food on a long-term basis is certainly not good for your health.

So the next time you head off to the supermarket to do your grocery shopping – spend more time in the fruit and vegetable aisle as opposed to those which contain lots of boxes, jars and packets of food.

At the end of the day nothing can replace a real piece of fruit or vegetable – anything else is a cheap imitation and always will be!