Linda Hall: Let us eat cake

By Linda Hall -
1 comment
Linda Hall
Linda Hall

Uh oh - British dentists are calling office workers to "combat cake culture in" 2017.

They say the ritual of shouting supermarket-bought cake and biscuits for workers and colleagues is injecting far too much sugar into our diets.

While I don't have to look into mouths full of teeth destroyed because of terrible diets, I really don't want to see more rules imposed on anyone.

I thought it was a great move when many schools banned fizzy drinks and included healthier options in their canteens.

Children are not good at making the right choices when it comes to food. They need guidance, that's why parents buy groceries and not the kids.

Imagine what would be in the supermarket trolley of a 7- or 8-year-old.

But I am not 7 or 8, I'm a big girl now and I've earned the right to make my own choices.

If I want to have a piece of store-bought cake that someone has brought into work I will.
Actually to tell the truth I'd much rather have a sausage roll, I'm more savoury than sweet - but in saying that, yesterday morning I had the most divine piece of lemon and yoghurt cake made by my sister-in-law.

I have no idea how much sugar was in it. I didn't ask and I don't care.

Professor Nigel Hunt of Britain's Royal College of Surgeons says that "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".

Okay - that's good advice. Well, the first part anyway. If you are buying morning tea for your colleagues, including some healthy options is a great idea and I'm sure many people do that already. But please still buy cake and sausage rolls.

However, the second bit about "responsible employers" makes me nervous.

No cakes at meetings he says. Okay. We don't have cakes at meetings now, but it's impossible to make employers responsible for what people eat while at work.

Imagine that. First cake is allowed at work only on Fridays. Then not at all.

Then there's security at the door checking lunch boxes to make sure you have carrot sticks and not the dreaded sugar-infested cake.

I'm not trying to make light of the fact that obesity is a huge problem in New Zealand. In fact the statistics on the Ministry of Health website make for scary reading:
"The Annual Update of Key Results 2015/16: New Zealand Health Survey found that almost one in three adults (aged 15 years and over) were obese (32 per cent) and a further 35 per cent of adults were overweight but not obese."

Those figures are terrible, but cutting down on cake at work is not the answer for these people. It's what they eat behind closed doors that is the problem.

At least with cakes and biscuits you know you are having a dose of sugar.

Our supermarket shelves are packed with products that have unexpected added sugar.
I've said it before and I'll say it again.

Food producers should be made to mark ingredients clearly. There are loads of products that shout "no added" this or that. Consumers want and need to know what is added so they can make good choices.

And good choices include teaching our youngsters about oral hygiene - that, along with healthy food on the table, is up to parents. Not the school and certainly not employers.

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