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/ Inside Food science
/ Inside Food science

Shift work and nutrition – a marriage of inconvenience

Anyone who has worked irregular hours knows that the world is built around daytime eating, not just in the home, but at shops, cafes, restaurants and canteens.

But there are millions of us working rotating shifts, nightshifts and irregular hours.

And when the shops are shut, and decent food is in short supply, we tend to reach all too often for those quick fixes – the crisps and the chocolate bars.

Vending machines at dark, deserted bus stations can tide us over until the next meal.

Shift work has long been associated with negative health outcomes, but does when we eat matter as much as what we eat?

And considering all of that, is it really possible for most people to separate the two?

What can shift workers do to make healthy lifestyle choices? And what solutions could the food industry offer?

Professor Alexandra Johnstone, The Rowett Institute, University of Aberdeen

Alex is a Professor at the Rowett Institute, part of the University of Aberdeen, where she is theme lead for Nutrition, Obesity and Disease.

She has an active interest in chrono-nutrition impact on appetite control and body weight with a paper published in Cell Metabolism on timing of eating.

Dr Sally Wilson, Principal Research Fellow, Institute for Employment Studies

Sally has more than 20 years’ experience of conducting applied research in workplace health and wellbeing.

At the Institute for Employment Studies, she has led and contributed expertise to projects for numerous government departments and agencies (eg the Food Standards Agency, Public Health England, NHS England, the Health and Safety Executive) as well as local government, employer bodies, and charities.

Recent work for the rail industry has focussed on workplace health behaviours and how the work environment can be adapted to ‘nudge’ employees towards healthier choices.

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