Does daily energy and macronutrient intake differ between work and non-workdays in shift workers? A mixed methods study

Manjeet Kaur Saggi, Craig L. Phillips, Maria Comas, Camilla M. Hoyos, Nathaniel S. Marshall, Judith Shu Chu Shiao, Yue Leon Guo, Ting-Ti Lin, Elizabeth A. Cayanan, Christopher J. Gordon*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
14 Downloads (Pure)


Shift workers are at increased risk of obesity and metabolic diseases, but their eating patterns on work and non-workdays are understudied. We aimed to examine whether energy intake and macronutrient intake of day and night shift nurses were different during work and non-workdays. We used a mixed-methods approach to study food intake of shift working nurses from two hospitals during day and night shifts. Participants completed baseline questionnaires about eating behaviour, sleep, chronotype, mood and shift work disorder. Participants then completed a 4-d food diary which included a non-workday prior to the first shift, the first and last shift (either day or night) and the following non-workday. After completion of the food diaries, we used semi-structured interviews to explore the qualitative aspects of eating behaviours. Seventy-nine shift-working nurses participated in the study. Daily energy intake was not significantly different on work and non-workdays in day or night shift workers (p > 0.05). Whilst macronutrient consumption was also not different between day and night shift workers (p > 0.05), sugar intake was higher in day compared to night shift workers (p = 0.02) on the non-workday prior to the first workday. In qualitative interviews, participants reported their eating to be different on day and night shifts as well as work and non-workdays. Eating behaviour in day and night shift workers was highly influenced by food availability, convenience, peers, and family members. Nurses qualitatively report that night and day shifts result in them eating differently despite no statistically discernible difference in energy intake.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1039-1048
Number of pages10
JournalChronobiology International
Issue number8
Early online date20 Aug 2023
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2023. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Diet
  • eating behavior
  • energy intake
  • night work
  • shift work


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