Happy Friday, but workplace treats could be bad for your health

July 1, 2016

CakesLast weekend Professor Hunt, Dean of the Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons, warned that workplace ‘cake culture’ is fuelling the current obesity epidemic and contributing to poor dental health. And for many people, it transpires that the workplace is now the main place they will eat sugar. But he warned against a nanny state approach and suggests a culture change is needed to help workers resist sweet treats at work. He says, “Ideally workers should consider other alternatives altogether like fruit platters, nuts, or cheese. Responsible employers should take a lead and avoid [sugary] snacks in meetings.”

As the HR180 team are partial to a slice (or 2) of cake or a box of sweets on a Friday (or any other day for that matter) this statement really is food for thought. How about in your office, staff room or canteen?

Professor Hunt says, “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.”

Ominously, he added, “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.”   This is why our 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.   He adds, “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 into the temptation of the doughnuts, cookies or the triple chocolate biscuits?”

However, Professor Hunt will reject a ‘nanny state’ approach and is against bans, saying instead people need to be more careful about how much and what they choose to buy. He would recommend when buying cake and sweets colleagues should consider buying smaller quantities and making them available only with lunch meals.

So as it’s Friday, perhaps just one last little choccy…

Need help putting together a policy on treats in your workplace, or any other aspect of work processes? We are your HR180 Heroes so give us a no obligation call today on 0113 287 8150 to find out how we can help you.

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