Supermarket cake and awkwardly enduring your colleagues singing Happy Birthday are a rite of passage for any employee.

Only now there are calls to ban the ritual due to huge amounts of sugar it can inject into our diets each year, which could spell the end to office life as we know it.

UK Professor Nigel Hunt of the Royal College of Surgeons said employees should "combat cake culture" in 2017 because it's making workers too fat and rotting their teeth.

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

Advertisement

"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."

The comments mark the start of back-to-work resolutions for many, but echo those the Professor made in June 2016.

The Dean of the Faculty of Dental Surgery said he is worried that excessive consumption of cakes and biscuits in the office is a disaster for workers.

"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.

But for many people the workplace is now the primary site of their sugar intake and is contributing to the current obesity epidemic and poor oral health," he said at the time.

"I'm not saying we need to ban such treats. But we do need a change in culture. When people are going out to the shops and buying cake and sweets they should at least consider buying smaller quantities and making them available only with lunch meals."

"Ideally office workers should consider other alternatives altogether like fruit platters, nuts, or cheese. Responsible employers should take a lead and avoid such snacks in meetings."

The calls have been scoffed at by some on social media who said out of work emails and office culture should be in the firing line before a piece of cake.

Others say "cake culture" can help to boost morale and lower levels of absenteeism in the office.

Almost two thirds of Australians are deemed overweight or obese, according to the Australian Institute of Heath and Welfare.

If you want to cut down on workplace sugar, the Faculty of Dental surgery recommends reducing portion sizes, keeping a "sugar schedule" to record what you've had and avoid snacking in favour of having a lunchtime treat.