Tue, Jan-03-17, 03:25
Let them eat nuts: British dentists want office 'cake culture' to end in 2017
From The Guardian
3 January, 2017
Let them eat nuts: dentists want office 'cake culture' to end in 2017
Royal College of Surgeons dental faculty also urges firms to provide fruit and nuts instead of biscuits at meetings
As many people return to work after Christmas full of good intentions, leading dentists are urging them to make one more resolution for the new year: eat less cake in the office.
The faculty of dental surgery (FDS) at the Royal College of Surgeons has urged employers to tackle workplace “cake culture” which is contributing to the obesity epidemic and poor oral health.
The faculty is urging companies to swap biscuits for fruit and nuts in meetings, scrap the most sugary treats from vending machines and make low-sugar options more available and visible, while employees should stop snacking and eating birthday cake and other treats throughout the week.
“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,” said the dean of the faculty, Prof Nigel Hunt.
In 2015-16 around 63% of adults in England were classified as either obese or overweight and nearly 64,000 over-18s were admitted to hospital because of tooth decay. According to the FDS, 40% of people made a resolution to lose weight last year, and 24% said they wanted to eat more healthily.
The office had become one of the main places where people consumed excessive amounts of sugar thanks to rewards from bosses and colleagues celebrating special occasions, said Hunt.
The faculty has produced a series of tip for workers to cut back on sugar.
It says they should avoid snacking and keep sugar as a lunchtime treat, reduce portion sizes and introduce a “sugar schedule”, so if birthdays happen throughout the week, cakes are only doled out on Fridays.
Only eating sugar at lunchtime can help keep teeth healthy as each time sugar is consumed it fuels acid formation, which softens tooth enamel and leads to decay, according to the faculty. Less frequent sugary snacks means the teeth “come under attack less frequently”.
It urged more companies to employ the “nudge theory” tactics used by companies such as Google, which places confectionery in opaque containers, uses smaller plates and makes healthy foods more visible – resulting in its New York employees eating 3.1m fewer calories over seven weeks.
The FDS also called on the government to restrict sugary food and drink price promotions and consider forcing supermarkets to replace high-sugar foods at the point of sale with healthier alternatives, using legislation if necessary.
The government plans to introduce the soft drinks industry levy in April 2018 which will apply a charge to makers and importers of soft drinks that contain more than a certain amount of sugar.