It’s common to begin the New Year with the best intentions and promise ourselves that we will regularly go to the gym and start breaking our bad habits. After reading the recent BBC article ‘Dentists call to end ‘workplace cake culture’ it made us look at our own office habits to see if we too have succumbed to ‘cake culture’ and have unknowingly consumed excessive sugar during work hours.
The Faculty of Dental Surgery has recently released a statement to voice their concerns about sugar consumption during working hours. In addition to recent statistics indicating that 63% of adults in England and Wales are either overweight or obese, in 2015, 64,000 over 18’s were admitted to hospital due to tooth decay.
Often brought in for Birthdays, rewards and, let’s face it…. Friday’s, cakes and sweet treats have become much more socially acceptable at work. Combined with how sedentary modern office work can be, it is a recipe for an unhealthy work environment. To encourage healthier habits, the Faculty of Dental Surgery has released their 5 top tips for reducing sugar consumption at work.
- “Consider low sugar alternatives: Colleagues appreciate it when someone takes the time to buy treats for the team. But rather than always buying sugary goods like biscuits and sweets, consider substituting them for low sugar alternatives.
- Reduce portion sizes: Think about reducing portion sizes – choose the small bag rather than the big one.
- Avoid snacking and keep sugar as a lunchtime treat: If someone does bring cake or sweets to the office, avoid snacking throughout the day and only consume sugary goods at lunchtime. Not only does this help reduce your overall sugar intake, but it’s also much better for teeth. Every time we consume sugar it fuels acid formation by oral bacteria, which gradually softens tooth enamel and ultimately leads to decay. Avoiding regular snacking, therefore, means teeth come under attack less frequently, so limiting sugar intake to mealtimes (when we also tend to consume less sugary food than if we snack between meals) can have real benefits for oral health.
- Develop a sugar schedule to help limit your team’s sugar intake: There may be times when cake keeps appearing in the office, as birthdays or other events seem to be happening almost every day. One way to limit sugar consumption at such times is to organise a sugar schedule. For example, if there are birthdays on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, arrange to have cake on Friday lunchtime to celebrate all three, rather than on each individual day.
- Location, location, location – think carefully about where cake and sugar is positioned: Research suggests that people will eat more sweets if they are nearby and visible than if they are placed further away.6 Therefore, think about where sugary products are positioned in the office and put them out of eyesight”.
It’s a well-known fact that Posture People love biscuits, but it’s also important for us as employers to provide healthy options and discourage the bad ones (mostly by stashing them away on very high shelves).
Your employees are your biggest asset and the happier, healthier and more productive they are, the better! If you need more advice or advice on healthier office eating then have a go at changing your eating habits with our 4 tried and tested top tips or take a look at our workplace wellbeing guide.