A new survey by the World Health Organisation (WHO) has shown that an unhealthy diet can cause a 20% reduction in productivity levels among seafarers.
MCTC, an international catering management company, believes this statistic should be taken seriously by vessel managers, operators and crews around the world.
Christian Ioannou, managing director of MCTC, said: “Studies from recent years show that what you eat has a direct impact on your work performance. Energy comes from glucose, which can be found in almost everything we eat. However, the rate at which our bodies convert food into glucose – which our brains need to keep us alert – is dependent on what we consume.”
Foods such as bread, pasta and cereal release glucose quickly, causing a spike and then slump in energy. High-fat meals involving cheeseburgers and French fries provide more sustained energy, but the body has to work harder to break them down – reducing oxygen levels in the brain and making someone feel groggy.
Nichole Stylianou, a nutritionist at MCTC, added: “Vitamins and minerals affect our mental and physical health. Food provides the body with essential nutrients. For example, vitamin C prevents symptoms of scurvy and also lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol – while complex carbohydrates increase the production of serotonin, commonly known as the happiness chemical.”
Diets with high levels of vitamin D and other minerals have also been shown to improve the body’s immune system.
The MCTC had previously criticised the keto diet, favoured by many celebrities. This high-fat, high protein, low carbohydrate diet which forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates can cause adverse health effects in some individuals.