Unhealthy eating: a new form of occupational hazard?

December 27, 2011

The poor diet of shift workers should be considered a new occupational health hazard, according to an editorial published in this month's PLoS Medicine. The editorial draws on previous work published in the journal, which showed an association between an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and rotating patterns of shift work in US nurses.

Shift work is now a very common pattern of work in both the developed and developing world, with around 15-20% of the working population in Europe and the US engaged in shift work. It is particularly prevalent in the health care industry. is notoriously associated with poor patterns of eating, which is exacerbated by easier access to junk food compared with more healthy options.

The editors argue that working patterns should now be considered a specific risk factor for obesity and type 2 diabetes, which are currently at in the developed world and likely to become so soon in the less-developed world. They go on to suggest that firm action is needed to address this epidemic, i.e. that "governments need to legislate to improve the habits of consumers and take specific steps to ensure that it is easier and cheaper to eat healthily than not". More specifically, they suggest that unhealthy eating could legitimately be considered a new form of occupational hazard and that workplaces, specifically those who employ shift workers, should lead the way in eliminating this hazard.

Explore further: Rotating night shift work linked to increased risk of Type 2 diabetes in women

More information: The PLoS Medicine Editors (2011) Poor Diet in Shift Workers: A New Occupational Health Hazard? PLoS Med 8(12): e1001152. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001152

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not rated yet Dec 28, 2011
A recent 'discovery' indicates that the body's immune system attacks cells of the Pancreas, specific to Insulin Production, and begins 'killing them off', until not enough remain for ?normal? 'Blood Sugar' balancing; and, that the 'killing' process covers several to many years, resulting in later-life Diabetes onset!

Roy J Stewart,
Phoenix AZ
not rated yet Dec 28, 2011
Shift work increases the cortisol level and thus blood glucose level and as a result also insulin level. Shift workers are per definition prediabetic already.
Then recommend shift workers to have as few carbohydrates as possible to save the pancreatic beta cells. Energy in the form of acetylcoenzym A (AcCoA) comes much easier and better from saturated fatty acids than from toxic carbohydrates.
Don't forget that more than 7 mmol/L (126 mg/dL) glucose is toxic and glucose binds nonenzymatically to proteins, e.g. HbA1c. The glucose coupled to hemoglobin (a.k.a. A1c or HbA1c) makes the hemoglobin molecule unable to carry the oxygen molecule.
Don't forget that 7 mmol/L in a 70 kg (154 lb) person equals 7 grams (0.25 oz) of glucose in the total blood volume.

Then the authorities recommend the population to eat 480 g (1,05 lb) glucose per day. That is ten times a lethal dose of glucose as a level of more than 30-50 mmol/L (30-50 g in the blood, 5.6 L) glucose in the blood is lethal
not rated yet Dec 28, 2011
@spiritosl In your calculations, you implying that all 480g of glucose per day is transported from the gut into bloodstream? Wouldn't your body take only whatever is the physiologically possible and the rest of it poop out? Also, even if the gut takes 480g per day, wouldn't kidneys get rid off already some blood sugar immediately to make room for new sugar coming into blood?
not rated yet Dec 28, 2011
We're all surviving thanks to the insulin system.
When blood glucose increases the insulin is called out as our emergency system. The insulin makes a lot of things to normalize the blood glucose level.
1. Slow down the intestinal speed, slower uptake of glucose.
2. Quench all fats producing AcCoA (an alternate source of energy, now just AcCoA from glucose is allowed)
3. Increase body temperature to increase burning of AcCoA in mitochondia.
4. Excess of AcCoA is produced, is polymerized to saturated fats in the liver.
5. Insulin knocks on all cells' insulin receptor and asks for another gucose molecule to store intracellularly. One problem, every glucose molecule is surrounded by 190 water molecules why the cells withdraw the GLUT4 receptor to avoid water overfilling. We call that insulin resistance and punish the cell by injecting more insulin to force feed cells with more glucose and water.
6. Excess glucose (more than 11 mmol/L) is excreted in the kidneys, need to drink much more.
not rated yet Dec 28, 2011
7. Emergency procedure: Anaerobic metabolism of glucose to two molecules of lactic acid and generate just 2 molecules of ATP. Aerobic pathway generates 38 molecules of ATP per molecule of glucose. So the anaerobic pathway uses 19 times more glucose than the aerobic pathway. But there is a hitch. Lactic acid. It's called lactacidosis and need immediate treatment with more insulin to be survivable.

Nanotech R We're not pooping out any glucose. Usually in raw vegetables we can not destroy the cellulose cell wall but mechanically so some carbs are leaving inside vegetable cells, But freeze or boil the veggies and you destroy the cellulosa walls and the starch will pour out and raise your blood glucose level.

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