Why you might not want to eat at your desk?

August 30, 2011 3:00:12 PM PDT
For better and worse, we're becoming a multi-tasking society. Eating at our desks while working or web surfing is the norm the majority of people, but is it good for our health? POLL: ARE YOU A DESKTOP DINER? CLICK HERE

Aside from not interacting with friends or colleagues, there's nothing unhealthy about saving time and money by eating at your desk - unless you look at the spread of germs that results. A study done by the Home Food Safety Group, a collaboration between a food maker and the American Dietetic Association, came up with details.

If you typically eat lunch or snack at your desk, you're clearly not alone. A recent study found more than 80 percent of us do.

"A lot of people are eating at their desks these days because they want to save time. They want to be more productive during the day at work, so they decide to multi-task and eat while doing their work. A lot of people are also trying to save money," Tara Hardwood, a registered dietitian, said.

Researchers with the American Dietetic Association surveyed more than 21-hundred full-time office workers. Results show 27 percent of them ate breakfast at their desks, 62 percent lunch, and 50 percent snacks.

Only half of people admitted to washing their hands before they ate. But did you know that our desks can carry 400 times more dangerous bacteria than the average public toilet seat?

With the change in weather coming, there will be common cold viruses that come alive in the fall and winter. Don't transfer the germs from your hands to your food and mouth.

Here's how to avoid some of that:

1. Wash your hands before eating. Any germs transferred from a hand shake will go down the drain.
2. Keep alcohol-based sanitizers at your desk for the same reason.
3. Wipe down your desktop to get rid of germs there.

Here are some healthy eating tips:

1. Keep a brown bag lunch in the refrigerator until midday, to prevent bacteria growth.
2. Better still use an insulated lunch bag with a freezer pack.
3. For snacks opened in the office for sharing, check how long they've been sitting out.

The good news is that we've been more careful recently. The study showed that seventy percent of people say they store their lunches in refrigerators. Those desktop snacks to share with colleagues? They should not be left out for more than two hours.