How Real Food Can Improve Your Employees' Metabolic Health

Posted by Lisa Stovall on Mon, Aug, 28, 2023

Nutrution MB-1 

Metabolic health, oh boy, it's becoming more and more recognized as a critical player in overall well-being.

In today's fast-paced and stressful world, maintaining a healthy metabolism is no longer just a luxury but a necessity. It is the key to unlocking optimal energy levels, preventing chronic diseases, and promoting longevity.

But here's the shocking revelation: a recent study has delivered a startling blow. Turns out, less than 7% of the adult population in the good ol' U.S. of A has their metabolic health in check.

I know, right? That number is way lower than we thought.

Previous research estimated that at least 12% of Americans were rocking their metabolism. We're talking optimal blood pressure, blood sugar, body weight, blood cholesterol, and a heart that's as healthy as can be.

The message is clear: it's time to place metabolic health at the forefront of corporate wellness. 

What is Metabolic Health?

Metabolic health, a term that may have once sounded esoteric, is increasingly being recognized as a crucial indicator of overall well-being. It refers to the normal functioning of the body's energy production and utilization, which is vital for healthy aging.

Metabolic health involves a constellation of factors:

  1. Blood Sugar Control: Keeping blood glucose levels in a healthy range, reducing the risk of diabetes.
  2. Healthy Cholesterol Levels: Maintaining optimal levels of LDL (‘bad’ cholesterol), HDL (‘good’ cholesterol), and triglycerides.
  3. Blood Pressure Regulation: Keeping blood pressure in a healthy range, which reduces strain on the heart and arteries.
  4. Healthy Waist Circumference: Maintaining a healthy weight, specifically around the midsection, where fat is most detrimental.
  5. Absence of Heart Diseases and Stroke: Ensuring that the heart and blood vessels are functioning well.

Fortunately, there are various ways we can support and enhance our metabolic health. One of the most crucial aspects is nutrition. A balanced and nutritious diet is the foundation of a healthy metabolism. By focusing on real, whole foods and avoiding processed and sugary foods, we can provide our bodies with the nutrients they need to function optimally.

Nutrition: The Cornerstone of Metabolic Health

A balanced, nutritious diet is foundational to good metabolic health. Poor nutrition doesn't just lead to weight gain—it has a domino effect on blood sugar control, cholesterol levels, liver health, and more.

Public health researcher Dr. Robert Lustig, author of "Metabolical," extensively explores the detrimental effects of sugar on metabolic health. He advocates strongly for eliminating ultra-processed snacks and meals from our diets, which are stripped of their nutritional value and loaded with harmful additives. Instead, Dr. Lustig recommends a nourishing diet centered around real, unprocessed foods like vegetables, nuts, and lean proteins—a regime that can significantly bolster gut, liver, and brain health.

So, what exactly is "real food"?

It's whole food with minimal ingredients and no "food-like" additives. It remains largely unprocessed, free of non-food substances, and is nutrient and fiber-rich.

In a world where the processed food industry’s sophisticated marketing often blurs the concept of real food, selling products that may seem healthy but are far from it, it's essential to cut through the noise.

A helpful hint? Consider food labels as warning signs. Real food, in its natural state, doesn't need a label. As a rule of thumb: the longer the ingredient list, the more processed the food is likely to be.

12 Ways to Impact Metabolic Health at Work

As a wellness leader, you have a unique opportunity to turn the tide and help employees by improving their metabolic health. So, you're ready to dive in and make a difference? Fantastic! Here's a handful of ideas to get those wheels turning:

  1. Launch a Whole Foods Lunch Program
    Partner with local organic suppliers or caterers that prioritize fresh ingredients. Regularly having access to nutrient-rich meals can be a game-changer for employees.
  2. Farmers’ Market Days
    Invite local farmers to set up a mini-market in your office premises. This not only supports local businesses but gives employees a chance to grab fresh produce for home.

  3. Whole Foods Workshops
    Hold monthly sessions on the benefits of whole foods. Bring in nutritionists to speak about the metabolic advantages of various fruits, veggies, grains, and proteins.
  4. Kitchen Makeover
    Ensure office pantries are stocked with 100% whole grain snacks, fermented foods, fresh fruits, and filtered water. Bidding farewell to ultra-processed snacks can lead to significant metabolic shifts.

  5. Recipe Swap Boards
    Create a communal board where employees can pin their favorite whole-food recipes. It promotes community, sharing, and discovering new, healthful meal ideas.

  6. Smoothie and Salad Bars
    Invest in a weekly or bi-weekly setup where employees can customize their green smoothies and salads with whole ingredients. It's a fun, interactive way to promote healthy eating.
  7. Grow a Company Garden
    If space allows, cultivate a company garden with herbs, fruits, and veggies. Employees can partake in gardening, and the produce can be used in the office kitchen.

  8. Whole Foods Challenges
    Engage employees with a 30-day whole foods challenge. Offer incentives, such as gift cards to health food stores, for participants and winners.

  9. Nutrition Corner in Newsletters
    Dedicate a section of your company newsletter or Slack channel to spotlight a whole food, sharing its benefits and quick recipes. This month it might be quinoa; next, it could be kale.

  10. Mindful Eating Sessions
    Combine the power of mindfulness with whole foods. Host sessions teaching employees to savor, enjoy, and truly experience the foods they eat, fostering better digestion and metabolic health.

  11. Be a Sugar Buster 
    Provide employees with education and training on the hidden dangers of added sugars. Sugar is pervasive in processed foods, often lurking in unexpected places like white flour, potatoes, and bread. Excessive sugar consumption can lead to stress and cellular damage, as the liver processes it and produces harmful byproducts. 

  12. Regular Screenings 
    Encourage employees to take advantage of on-site biometric screenings and make regular visits to their primary-care physician to stay informed about their key health numbers.

Overall, prioritizing metabolic health is essential for healthy aging and reducing the risk of chronic diseases. By focusing on nutrition and creating an environment that fosters healthy eating habits, HR managers and wellness professionals can contribute to improved metabolic health, benefiting both employees and the overall work environment.

By emphasizing the value of real, whole foods and creating an environment that fosters healthy eating habits, you help to set the stage for improved metabolic health—a win for the employee, the work environment, and ultimately, the bottom line.

Empower your employees with whole foods. Share this article with fellow leaders and make a difference today!

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Topics: Healthy Workplaces


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