Your Office Vending Machine: The Source of Your North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Woes?

May 3, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Experts who study North Carolina workers’ compensation issues are constantly trying to puzzle out why accidents, injuries, and illnesses happen at work and how these catastrophes can be prevented. The thinking is, if policy analysts can suss out the root causes, we can collectively reduce injury rates and sickness rates everywhere from the Research Triangle to the far West of NC.

So what ARE the major root causes of workplace related injuries and illnesses, and can they be effectively treated with smart policy?

Typically, we focus on improving safety of equipment and machinery; limiting number of hours worked (too many hours leads to fatigue and worker error); boosting worker education (poor training leads to safety catastrophes); and limiting repetitive work (repetitive labor leads to soft tissue injuries, like carpal tunnel syndrome).

But sometimes it helps to think out “outside the box” and look at other potential root causes of worker pain. According to a very provocative article in the April 19 issue of the New York Times magazine, the sugary snacks and beverages in your local office vending machine may be causing far more problems than you, your employers, and most North Carolina workers’ compensation experts realize. Taking his cue from pediatric obesity specialist Robert Lustig, science writer Gary Taubes argues that refined sugars – particularly sugars taken in liquid form (such as the Cokes and Pepsis in your local vending machine – as well as the fruit juices) may be making many, many people not only overweight but also sick.

What Lustig says is that, when you eat sugars – particularly when you drink them – your liver gets essentially biochemically “punched” and injured. Fatty deposits form in the liver, and this process may stimulate a condition known as insulin resistance, which appears to be the common denominator in many diseases of civilization, including obesity, diabetes and heart disease as well as many types of cancer.

If this supposition is correct, that means that one (albeit indirect) way to seriously reform our entitlement system is to get people to stop eating so many sugary snacks – particularly sugary beverages. Even a slight decrease in our sugar consumption might lead to a collective boost in our national health and lend some genuine relief to over stressed and under supplied healthcare providers.

On a more personal note, if you or a family member or someone at work is struggling with benefits issues, a North Carolina workers’ compensation law firm can provide the essential services you want and deserve.

More Web Resources:

Is Sugar Toxic?

Lustig’s YouTube video


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