Top dentists warn against “cake culture” in offices

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TOP dentists are worried that the workplace is now the main place where people consume sugary goods and have warned against a “cake culture.”

They say that the cake culture is increasingly being used by managers to reward staff, as well as colleagues celebrating special occasions and workers bring back gifts from their holidays.

The Faculty of Dental Surgery (FDS) at the Royal College of Surgeons has issued its five top tips to encourage workers to resist sweet treats in the office.

1. Consider low sugar alternatives: Colleagues appreciate it when someone takes the time to buy treats for the team. But rather than always buying sugary goods like biscuits and sweets, consider substituting them for low sugar alternatives.

2. Reduce portion sizes: Think about reducing portion sizes – choose the small bag rather than the big one.

3. Avoid snacking and keep sugar as a lunchtime treat: If someone does bring cake or sweets to the office, avoid snacking throughout the day and only consume sugary goods at lunchtime. Not only does this help reduce your overall sugar intake, it’s also much better for teeth.

4. Develop a sugar schedule to help limit your team’s sugar intake: There may be times when cake keeps appearing in the office, as birthdays or other events seem to be happening almost every day. One way to limit sugar consumption at such times is to organise a sugar schedule. For example, if there are birthdays on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, arrange to have cake at Friday lunchtime to celebrate all three, rather than on each individual day.

5. Location, location, location – think carefully about where cake and sugar is positioned: Research suggests that people will eat more sweets if they are nearby and visible than if they are placed further away. Therefore, think about where sugary products are positioned in the office and put them out of eyesight.

Professor Nigel Hunt, Dean of the FDS says:

“The idea of a cake culture in workplaces really seemed to strike a chord when the Faculty first raised it as an issue earlier this year. We all recognise it. Managers want to reward staff for their efforts, colleagues want to celebrate special occasions and workers want to bring back a gift from their holidays. While these sweet treats might be well meaning, they are also contributing to the current obesity epidemic and poor oral health.

“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. With this in mind, the Faculty has developed simple tips for workers and employers to help them cut back on sugar in the workplace. Make combatting cake culture in your workplace one of your New Year’s resolutions for a healthier 2017.”

The FDS have cited Google as a positive case study where sweets were placed made less visible in opaque containers which resulted in 3.1 million fewer calories being consumed over 7 weeks by the tech giant’s New York exmployees.

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