Hanna Longstaff, Food Freedom Coach, Advocates for Healthier Workplace Food Policies

Following The Guardian’s recent article highlighting a 39% increase in diabetes cases across the UK, Hanna Longstaff, renowned as the Food Freedom Coach, is calling for workplaces to re-evaluate their food policies. The article underscores a significant health crisis that demands immediate action.

Hanna said: “Disordered eating is alarmingly prevalent in our workplaces, affecting the physical and mental well-being of over 25% of the workforce. This issue impacts every area of employees’ lives, from focus and engagement to attendance. It’s critical to understand that weight is no indicator of eating disorders, which often go unnoticed, particularly among high performers.”

Hanna Longstaff backs her approach with compelling statistics:

  • 64% of UK adults are overweight, with 26% clinically obese (gov.uk, 2022).
  • 55% of adults with obesity will develop depression (JAMA, 2010).
  • 3.4 million people in the UK are diagnosed with a full-blown eating disorder, with an estimated much higher undiagnosed number, including 25% being male (priorygroup.com).
  • Happy workers are 12% more productive (University of Warwick, 2021).

Drawing attention to the problematic nature of ultra-processed foods, Longstaff emphasises that these foods, designed to be addictive and with little to no nutritional value, are a primary contributor to the current health crisis. Hanna added: “Junk foods such as dry breakfast cereals, crisps, and chocolate bars are highly profitable but detrimental to health.

“Having visited major tech headquarters in London, such as Google and Adobe, I was shocked to see the abundance of ultra-processed snacks. This environment is a nightmare for those struggling with eating disorders and obesity, which are symptoms of deeper mental health issues.”

Google started a trend with its “150 feet (50m) from free food policy”, which significantly increased focus, engagement, attendance and staff retention. Staff spent much more time at their desks and worked longer hours willingly. The other tech companies quickly followed suit because they were losing staff. Since Hanna’s last visit, Google no longer makes snacks available, which is a positive move.

The stress and anxiety prevalent in modern workplaces exacerbate cravings for these addictive comfort foods, leading to a vicious cycle of obesity and mental health decline. However, Longstaff offers a solution: “Wholefoods are the key. Instead of chocolates and crisps, companies should provide an array of healthy fruits, and cut out energy drinks and synthetic beverages in favour of tea, coffee, water, and fruit juice.”

Longstaff is keen to assist organisations in transforming their food policies. “I’m keen to conduct nutritional audits in order to offer easy, implementable suggestions that will benefit your employees’ health and productivity.”

In response to the rise in diabetes, Longstaff asserts that 90% of Type II diabetes cases are reversible by eliminating ultra-processed foods. “The NHS may label Type II diabetes as incurable, but this is a misconception driven by pharmaceutical interests.”

For further information or to schedule a consultation, please visit www.mindfoodbodycoach.com. Hanna’s fast-growing podcast ‘Feeding Success’ is available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

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