Health experts are divided on whether healthy snacks for the workplace are a good idea.
Some worry that companies that use healthier snacks could inadvertently boost employee health.
Others are worried that using healthy snacks could reduce productivity by making workers more susceptible to allergies and other food allergies.
In an article published in the journal PLOS ONE on Wednesday, researchers analyzed data from 2,000 U.S. workers between 2000 and 2018 and found that more than half of them had eaten some sort of healthy snack, like a granola bar, peanut butter, or an almond milk bar.
Some of the snacks were also popular among their peers.
One group of people in the study ate a variety of foods for a total of 4.3 days.
Those who ate healthy snacks were about as productive as those who ate less healthy snacks.
The researchers also looked at productivity, including the number of hours worked, which varied between groups, and the number for each week.
After controlling for the number and quality of food choices, healthy snacks had a greater impact on productivity than unhealthy snacks, the study found.
“We found that healthy snacks have the potential to reduce employee absenteeism, reduce absenteeism and absenteeism absenteeism due to allergies, and increase productivity,” lead author Sarah Jaffe, a doctoral student at the University of Maryland, told The Huffington Post.
Jaffe said that workers who eat healthy snacks often are not as motivated to work as those that eat less healthy ones.
“It is very important to emphasize that this is not a recommendation that companies should be making,” she said.
“The evidence is that these types of choices are good for employees and it is not that employers should not be making these choices.
The evidence is clear that they are good choices for workers, but employers should be careful to use these types if they want to minimize the impact of unhealthy choices.”
Researchers said it is important to understand that the findings are not definitive.
For instance, the researchers did not control for other factors like nutrition or exercise levels.
They also noted that they didn’t compare the results of the study to the results from a study that showed a correlation between work and eating healthy foods.
The researchers, who were not affiliated with any industry group, did not find that eating healthier snacks in the workplace resulted in improved health outcomes for workers.
They said that it is still not clear whether the benefits of eating healthy snacks outweigh the potential drawbacks.
“This study is very preliminary, and it does not provide conclusive evidence,” Jaffe said.
Jaffe added that it’s important for companies to be aware of the health risks of unhealthy eating, and to take steps to limit unhealthy food choices.
This article originally appeared on Fortune.