Birthday Dilemma: Should we have Cake?

As his Birthday approaches Michael Millward wonders whether the well-being policy will allow cakes for his work colleagues?

Image by PublicDomainPictures on Pixabay

My Dilemma on my big day: Cake or No Cake?

Well, it is rapidly approaching the anniversary of the day on which I arrived in the world! There have been quite a few days like this, not quite too many to mention but too many for me to consider it anything other than just a number any more.

Work Place Celebrations

It’s supposed to be a special day, your birthday, but somehow just like other celebrations Christmas, Easter, and despite my resolve to do something different I end up doing the same thing by way of celebration as I do every year.

Eat Cake or Not to Eat Cake?

If my birthday falls on a working-day, as it will this year, there will be the ritual trip to the local bakers and purchase of a range of cakes so that everyone in the office and any friendly visitors can fill their face. At lunch-time there will also be the walk to the pub for the team and a slap-up carvery lunch.

Well perhaps not this year?

Being generous, in the name of celebrations, could be according to the Faculty of Dental Surgery be contributing to the health problems my colleagues have.

Obesity Crisis

Cake and biscuits at work, on celebration days and on those days when someone somewhere in the world is having a birthday are fuelling obesity and poor oral health.

The problem that I am contributing to is caused by the consumption of sugary snacks in-between meals.

Don’t Eat Between Meals

Prof Nigel Hunt, dean of the faculty at the Royal College of Surgeons, suggests that in order, to cut back on sugar intake eating should be restricted to meal times. Which would mean no afternoon cake break.

The reason for this is that when we eat sugary and starchy food and drinks, particularly between meals, the bacteria in plaque feed on these carbohydrates and produce acid which causes tooth decay.

Joy to the Office

However, I just want to have some fun on my special day and as 2016 Great British Bake Off runner-up Jane Beedle said on BBC Radio 2 cake does “bring joy to the office”.

Work Cultural Change Required

But the Professor wants to see a cultural 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.”

Whilst as Beedle says ‘a little bit of homemade cake is going to kill anybody, people are inclined to eat it if it’s there.’ The mantra of all things in moderation seems to go out of the window.

We all, I suppose, need to start to see food as fuel and not consume the calories that are just not worth it.

The Faculty of Dental Surgery suggests keeping a “sugar schedule” to track your intake.

Nanny State

I am inclined to agree, but another former Bake Off contestant, Christine Wallace, from the 2013 series, said: “I think this is yet another example of the ‘nanny’ state trying to shape our lives when it really isn’t really necessary.

So, there will be no cakes in the office.

The 2014 series winner Nancy Birtwhistle said banning cake was “not the solution” adding: that she firmly believed that snacking between meals, sugary drinks and junk food are at the root of our obesity and dental problem – not the occasional slice of celebratory cake.

So, the cakes are back on.

But we will be following the advice of the Faculty of Dental Surgery which has released tips on how to cut down sugar consumption in the workplace:

  • Consider low-sugar alternatives
  • Reduce portion sizes
  • Avoid snacking and keep sugar as a lunchtime treat
  • Keep a “sugar schedule” to limit sugar intake
  • Think about where sweet treats are positioned – if they are nearby and visible, people may eat more.

So, alright cakes, albeit small cakes are on. And staying on!