UK

Dentists call to end 'workplace cake culture'

Office workers eating cake Image copyright ColorBlind Images
Image caption Sharing cake and biscuits at work is hitting the health of the UK, according to academics

Dentists have criticised "workplace cake culture", saying the sharing of sweet treats in the office is contributing to health problems.

The Faculty of Dental Surgery said eating cake and biscuits at work was fuelling obesity and poor oral health.

Tips to cut back on sugar included keeping it as a lunchtime treat and hiding snacks out of view.

But 2016 Great British Bake Off runner-up Jane Beedle said cake could "bring joy to the office".

Prof Nigel Hunt, dean of the faculty at the Royal College of Surgeons, said it may be a case of managers wanting to reward staff, colleagues wanting to celebrate or people bringing presents back from their holidays that sees sugary snacks going into the workplace.

But he said it was detrimental to employees' health and they should make a New Year's resolution to "combat cake culture" in 2017.


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"While these sweet treats might be well meaning, they are also contributing to the current obesity epidemic and poor oral health," Prof Hunt added.

"We need a culture change in offices and other workplaces that encourages healthy eating and helps workers avoid caving in to sweet temptations such as cakes, sweets and biscuits."

'All about moderation'

But Jane Beedle told BBC Radio 2: "I don't think a little bit of homemade cake is going to kill anybody.

"I think we are all inclined to just shove things in our mouths because they just happen to be available. I think that is what we have got to try and do is resist things that are not worth the calories."

Image copyright PA
Image caption The Faculty of Dental Surgery suggests keeping a "sugar schedule" to track your intake

Another former Bake Off contestant, Christine Wallace, from the 2013 series, said: "I think this is yet another example of the 'nanny' state trying to shape our lives when it really isn't really necessary.

"Cakes that are bought into the workplace are usually for a birthday or some other special occasion and what do you do when there is an 'occasion' - you have cake...

"It is all about moderation, having small instead of large, not having too often and delighting in the huge enjoyment you get when you do."

The 2014 series winner Nancy Birtwhistle said banning cake was "not the solution" adding: "I firmly believe that snacking between meals, sugary drinks and junk food are at the root of our obesity and dental caries problem - not the occasional slice of celebratory cake."

The Faculty of Dental Surgery has released tips to cut down on sugar consumption in the workplace:

  • Consider low-sugar alternatives
  • Reduce portion sizes
  • Avoid snacking and keep sugar as a lunchtime treat
  • Keep a "sugar schedule" to limit sugar intake
  • Think about where sweet treats are positioned - if they are nearby and visible, people may eat more

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