Food & Drink

A new study claims pizza can make us more productive at work

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Alexandra Haddow
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A new study claims pizza can make us more productive at work

It’s one of those headlines isn’t it. You don’t believe it. It’s like when the news tells you that some obscure study claims drinking ten pints a day makes you live longer. We all know it’s not strictly true, or in any sense true really, but we all read it and for a few brief moments, live in the suspended reality where what we ate or drank at the weekend was actually a concerted effort towards long term health benefits. Not just a misjudged interpretation of ‘Shall we go for a quick one after work?’ 

Well next time you’re hoofing down a Dominos or Franco Manca you can comfort yourself with the fact that it might make you more productive at work. Sort of. Indirectly. 

Essentially it’s a bigger motivator than cash, according to a recent study. Psychologist Dan Ariely, in his new book Payoff: The Hidden Logic that Shapes our Motivations, conducted an experiment where he offered four groups of employees different rewards for increased productivity in the workplace. One group was offered $40, one pizza, one a compliment from their boss, and one group, nothing (unlucky for them). Initially, pizza was the biggest motivator: strange, because you could probably buy a lot more than one pizza with $40, but perhaps they weren’t thinking straight if they were that hungry. Weirdly, by the end of the study, compliments from a boss won, and the offer of actual cash made employees 6.5% less productive overall. What’s wrong with these people? Are they all on six figures? Or do they not trust their boss? We’ll never know. 

In light of this, very tenuous study, featuring people who apparently aren’t motivated by money (do they work at a cash printing factory and it’s just a busman’s holiday for them?), we’ve compiled a list of foods that might also actually make you more productive at work:

1. Booze

There is no science behind this, but chances are if you have one lunchtime pint too many, you’ll be so paranoid about your boss realising you’re hammered that you’ll concentrate extra hard to make up for it and get everything done. Before falling asleep at your desk at 4pm.

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2. Coffee

Weird how three double espressos in the morning really make that spreadsheet seem interesting isn’t it?

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3. Green Tea

The smugger, more cultured cousin of coffee is actually a great source of both caffeine, and an ingredient called l’theanine, which, as well as sounding cool and French, actually releases the caffeine slowly and steadily, avoiding the caffeine crash you might experience after your three double espressos above.

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4. Dark Chocolate

Another ingredient we’ve all had to train ourselves to enjoy, like we did with red wine when we were 21. Dark chocolate contains a small amount of caffeine (are you seeing a trend here) as well as magnesium, which stimulates endorphins such as serotonin, which make you feel nice, and like you might want to do stuff.

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5. Avocadoes

Because OF COURSE THEY DO. They do everything, they’re running for office at the next US election, they’re finding an alternative fuel source for earth, they’re the food behind bringing Queer Eye back into our lives. They have the answers. To everything. On top of that, they have been shown to increase blood flow, which in turn, increases concentration. That’s probably why all the millennials working at start-ups produce more content than one could ever hope to read. One day we will be their slaves. Avocadoes. Not millennials. 

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Main image: David Sykes. Food stylist: Iona Blackshaw