With the evolution of technology we can accomplish more than we used to; we stack more on our plates causing us to ignore our most primal needs. We’ve become so busy and are always running around that we overlook the little signs our bodies give us when we need rest or food. I recently read an article by Ron Friedman that talks about how food directly impacts one’s cognitive performance and productivity. He mentions the importance of food in the business world.
All of the food we consume is converted into sugars or glucose that fuels your body and mind, which is why it becomes progressively harder and harder to stay focused throughout the day. If someone asked about your dietary habits, you would probably say that early in the morning before work you have a small breakfast and then you don’t eat anything until lunchtime. Before reading Friedman’s article, I wouldn’t have thought twice about my daily routine. But he mentioned that by the time lunch comes around, your body has already burned through all the energy your breakfast provided you and for the few hours before lunch, you are simply running on fumes.
So I should just eat more, right? Well, yes and no. Productivity also depends on what you eat, not just how often you eat. What do you usually eat for lunch? We already know that the food that is quick and cheap is usually not what’s best for us, but it’s so convenient that we do it anyways. But here’s something to think about the next time you run out to get food. Some foods such as pastas, breads, cereals, and sodas will release their glucose at a faster rate than other foods, giving you a burst of energy. But it is similar to a sugar rush; the energy that you gain quickly goes away leaving you in a slump and you end up feeling even more tired than before. So I’ll avoid spaghetti and get a burger for lunch. Well… Burgers are considered to be a high fat meal. Even though this provides you with more sustained energy, it requires more for your body to digest. This result in the oxygen levels in your brain to decrease, making you feel groggy from then on.
So what should I do? Create an action plan. Instead of waiting to decide at last minute when your self control is at the will of your hunger, make a plan, it helps healthy eating easier to accomplish. Also snacking throughout the day will help you maintain your blood sugar levels. Won’t I start gaining weight if I snack all the time? No, you won’t. Radical changes in your blood sugar are bad for productivity and for your body and brain. Your metabolism has more difficulties starting up to digest a large meal then stopping until another large meal comes around than constantly going. Keep a small snack, like trail mix, in sight (somewhere on your desk), that way you will subconsciously snack rather than having to remind yourself to eat something.