Cakes at work fuel obesity epidemic

Cake culture needs to change, says Professor Nigel Hunt. Photo / AP
Cake culture needs to change, says Professor Nigel Hunt. Photo / AP

Office "cake culture" is fuelling Britain's obesity epidemic and contributing to a nation of rotten teeth, a leading expert claims.

Professor Nigel Hunt, Dean of the Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons, is worried that the workplace is where most people consume the majority of their sugar.

Workers should bring fruit platters into the office instead of doughnuts, cookies and biscuits, he will tell a meeting of dentists today.

He is expected to warn against a nanny state approach and suggest a culture change is needed to help workers resist sweet treats in the office.

Professor Hunt is particularly concerned that excessive consumption of sugary treats such as cakes, sweets and biscuits is contributing to tooth decay in adults.

There were 64,984 adults treated in hospital for tooth decay last year.

In a speech to the Faculty of Dental Surgery's annual dinner, Professor Hunt will say: "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."

"It is particularly dangerous that this is lying around the office all day for as we know, sugar has a particularly negative effect if it's eaten outside of meal time."

He will add: "Cake culture also poses difficulties for those who are trying their hardest to lose weight or become healthier - how many of us have begun such diets only to cave in to the temptation of the doughnuts, cookies or the triple chocolate biscuits?

'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."

Dentists recommend cutting down on sugary and starchy food and drinks, particularly between meals, as the bacteria in plaque feed on these carbohydrates and produce acid which causes tooth decay.

Experts also blame sugar for the nation's obesity crisis, which they say is on the verge of bringing the NHS to its knees.

Britain has among the worst levels of obesity in Europe, with nearly two thirds of adults and one in three children classed as being overweight.

Some 4.2 per cent of women - almost one in 20 - and 1.7 per cent of men in the UK are morbidly obese, according to recent research.

Obesity raises the risk of heart disease and cancer - and is closely tied to the alarming rise in Britain's spiraling diabetes.

Ministers have been repeatedly criticised for failing to address the obesity crisis and allowing manufacturers to set their own rules on reducing sugar and calorie content.

Pressure is mounting on the Government to announce radical action when it finally publishes its long-awaited child obesity strategy later this summer.

George Osborne announced in his Budget earlier this year that the UK will introduce a tax on sugary drinks in April 2018.

But experts also want a tight controls on junk food advertising on TV and a ban on advertising sweet and fat food near schools.

- Daily Mail

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf02 at 06 Dec 2016 19:49:11 Processing Time: 657ms