Business Lunch Syndrome

According to the UK Gout Society 1 in 100 people will develop gout. It is far more common in men, particularly in the age range of 30 – 60 years – the prime working years.

Poor lifestyle choices which increase your risk of Metabolic Syndrome* will also increase your risk of gout.  And these poor lifestyle choices are often the result of how we spend our working day including the business lunch – or no lunch as the case can sometimes be.

The problems facing busy professionals will often start with simply getting out of bed. This can be very early in the morning if they are facing a long commute to work.  Also when the day is long, our professionals will arrive home exhausted with little thought or energy for exercise or good nutrition. Often the first thing they will grab is a beer or glass of wine.  Sometimes the need to wind down before dinner will mean extra nibbles and a late evening meal.

So… Mr and Ms Brown go off to town….

Five days a week they are faced with getting out of bed and rushing out of the door whether to catch a train or fight the traffic.  Often those extra stolen minutes in bed are taken at the expense of breakfast. They may grab a coffee or cup of tea, but often have nothing until they reach work. Then if the diary is full there may not be time for a decent breakfast at all – sometimes another coffee with a muffin if they’re lucky.

By lunchtime they may be surviving just on the caffeine hit from several cups of coffee. If really busy, lunch may be missed completely, or there may be the opportunity to order something to eat on the run – hopefully healthy!

A bigger worry is the business lunch. I once had a patient in his early 40s who ran a successful business with a partner. Every day they would entertain clients and take it in turn to stay sober.

This man was hospitalized for surgery on his toe because the gout was so bad  Every day lunch would be high saturated fat, high calorie and high alcohol with very little water.  The gout was so bad it was necessary for him to stop drinking alcohol completely.

Generally speaking there are only four types of patients I ask to stop drinking alcohol completely – those with an alcohol dependence, those with advanced liver disease or advanced pancreatic disease and the business man with GOUT.

So…. Mr. and Ms Brown come home from town….

They may not have eaten all day. They may have grabbed something on the run or they may have eaten a large lunch with clients.  Feeling tired and wound-up after a busy day it can be nice to relax with the family and share nibbles and a drink before eating (an often late) dinner.

When the week-end comes, our busy professionals are concerned with catching up with all the chores for the week and to make sure they enjoy some relaxation. Socializing usually means eating with friends or family and often choosing comfort foods of poor nutritional quality. .

The risk factors from this hyper-busy life-style of little exercise and poor nutrition include:

  • Stress
  • Hypertension
  • Hyperlipidaemia (high cholesterol and triglycerides**)
  • Diabetes and Insulin Resistance
  • Metabolic Syndrome
  • Weight gain
  • Gout

If you would like help with planning a healthy working week, register today.

* Metabolic Syndrome is a combination of medical disorders that increases the risk of developing heart disease and diabetes. The risk factors include obesity particularly central obesity, elevated blood fats, elevated blood sugars and/or elevated insulin levels, and elevated blood pressure

* *Triglycerides are fats stored by the body, but influenced by the amount of alcohol and sugar consumed


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