A study described by Food and Wine found that stressed out employees tended to eat more junk food. 

Two studies were involved, with 235 total workers surveyed in China. The first study surveyed stressed-out IT employees, while the second involved equally stressed call-center workers.

Yihao Liu, co-author and assistant professor at the University of Illinois, explained the dual interpretations one could glean from the study’s conclusions.

“First, eating is sometimes used as an activity to relieve and regulate one’s negative mood, because individuals instinctually avoid aversive feelings and approach desire feelings,” he stated. “Second, unhealthy eating can also be a consequence of diminished self-control. When feeling stressed out by work, individuals usually experience inadequacy in exerting effective control over their cognitions and behaviors to be aligned with personal goals and social norms.”

Citing the cyclical nature of the entire scenario, Chang added that “a good night’s sleep can make workers replenished and feel vigorous again, which may make them better able to deal with stress at work the next day and less vulnerable to unhealthy eating.”

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