Your Commute Is Making You Eat 800 Extra Calories a Week

A new report from the Royal Society of Public Health has found that around a third of Brits report eating more junk food because of their journeys to and from work.
August 24, 2016, 4:14pm
Bild via Imago.

Demolishing a sugary breakfast bar on the Tube to work while watching the girl opposite attempt to apply mascara without stabbing herself in the eye. Ploughing your way through a family-size bag of Twiglets on the bus home because you didn't leave the office until 9 PM. Or stopping at the train station Maccy D's after a long week.

If any of that sounds familiar, fear not. You're far from alone in your public transport snacking habits.

Findings released today from health education charity the Royal Society of Public Health (RSPH) revealed that of 1,547 UK commuters polled, 33 percent reported increased snacking because of their long journeys to and from work. Twenty-nine percent of these commuters admitted to eating fast food.

READ MORE: Scientists Might Have Figured Out How to Stop You From Binge Eating

But according to the report, snappily titled "Health in a Hurry," all of those bus bevvies and tube Twirls pile up to an average of 767 extra calories a week.

Researchers came to this worrying conclusion by asking commuters which foods and drink they consumed when travelling from a list of 12 items, including alcohol, fizzy drinks, and muffins. The most popular among these items were chocolate bars, followed by crisps.

It is worth noting, however, that because the list was limited to 12 food and drink items, the average number of extra calories consumed on commutes could be higher. And we know that self-reporting food and drink consumption is not always the most reliable of sources (c'mon, did you really save some of that sharing bag for later?)

The report added that 90 percent of the British workforce commutes, with the majority using "non-active" transport methods like driving and taking the train or bus. The RSPH said that the findings could have serious implications for the fight against obesity, too.

Among the their recommendations to improve the health and wellbeing of commuters, the charity has called for a restriction of junk food sales at stations, in a bid to change the "unhealthy foodscape" created by fast food outlets, coffee shops selling high calorie drinks, and pubs.

READ MORE: Putting Health Food in Food Deserts Doesn't Change People's Buying Habits

Speaking to the Guardian, Emma Lloyd, the report's author, said that advertising at stations was also to blame for consumer snacking. She said: "We have got thousands of commuters travelling through stations which are very obesogenic, both in terms of advertising and what's available [to eat.] It's natural that many people will reach for comfort food to relieve boredom or stress, but it's a high-risk strategy when so many people are overweight and obese."

Maybe it's time to revive the good old packed lunch—probably not those homemade egg sandwiches, though. Don't want to stink out the carriage.