Bringing cake into the office is just as harmful to co-workers as second-hand smoke, Food Tsar warns

Bringing cake to work is as harmful to colleagues as second-hand smoke, Britain’s top food czar has warned.

Professor Susan Jebb, Chair of the Food Standards Agency, argues that secondhand smoke is harmful to others in the office, “and the same is true of food”.

She has also slammed ministers over a decision to delay a turning point for junk food advertising, adding that it has resulted in a “complete market failure” that has crowded out health food.

Prof Jebb, who teaches nutrition and population health at the University of Oxford, told the Times: ‘If nobody brought cakes to the office I wouldn’t eat cakes during the day, but because people bring cakes I eat them.

The claim was made by Professor Susan Jebb (pictured), Chair of the Food Standards Agency

Professor Susan Jebb, chair of the Food Standards Agency, says bringing cake to work is just as harmful to colleagues as second-hand smoke

The professor says:

The professor says, “If no one brought cake to the office, I wouldn’t eat cake during the day”

WHAT SHOULD A BALANCED DIET LOOK LIKE?

Meals should be based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally whole grain, according to the NHS

Meals should be based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally whole grain, according to the NHS

• Eat at least 5 servings of varied fruit and vegetables daily. All fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruits and vegetables count

• Base meals based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally whole grains

• 30 grams of fiber per day: This equates to eating all of the following: 5 servings of fruit and vegetables, 2 whole wheat biscuits, 2 thick slices of whole wheat bread, and 1 large baked potato with its skin on

• Have some dairy products or dairy alternatives (like soy drinks) and choose lower-fat, lower-sugar options

• Eat some beans, legumes, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins (including 2 servings of fish per week, one of which should be oily)

• Choose unsaturated oils and spreads and consume them in small amounts

• Drink 6-8 cups/glasses of water daily

• Adults should consume less than 6g of salt and 20g of saturated fat for women or 30g for men per day

Source: NHS Eatwell Guide

“Well, okay, I made a choice, but people chose to go to a smoky bar.”

She added: “With smoking, after a very long time, we have come to a point where we understand that individuals have to make an effort, but that we can make their efforts more successful through a supportive environment.

“But we still don’t feel that way about food.”

She has urged doctors to be more open to asking patients about their weight and offering help with dieting.

Prof Jebb said it is sad that many are reluctant to raise the issue at this time.

Prof Jebb, a former government adviser on obesity, also criticized the government for delaying an advertising ban on junk food, which she says “undermines people’s free will to eat vegetables”.

“Advertising means that the companies with the most money have the most impact on people’s behavior,” she said.

‘That’s not fair. At the moment we allow advertising for commercial purposes without any health checks and we ended up with a total market failure because you get promoted chocolate and not cauliflower.’

She also insisted obesity could be treated in the UK, saying “pretty cheap interventions” like weight management programs would help.

It comes as Lord Rose of Monewden, chair of Asda, told the Times Health Commission on Monday that workplaces need to do more about employee health.

He asked: “Why don’t we make sure that we, as employers, are also legally obliged to do something for the health of our employees in this process?”

Two thirds of adults in the UK are currently overweight – a number that has doubled in the last 30 years.

Treating diseases linked to obesity, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and several cancers, costs the NHS an estimated £6billion a year

Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson famously declared war on the nation’s hips in 2020, laying on his previous aversion to nanny-style dietary guidelines after his own weight aggravated his Covid infection.

Prof Jebb has also criticized the government for delaying an advertising ban on junk food amid rising obesity in the UK

Prof Jebb has also criticized the government for delaying an advertising ban on junk food amid rising obesity in the UK

Prof Jebb argues that secondhand smoke is harmful to others in the office,

Prof Jebb argues that secondhand smoke is harmful to others in the office, “and the same is true of food”.

But the government backed down on several plans last year, delaying by at least a year a ban on “buy, get one, get one free” junk food deals and a 9pm watershed on sugary snacks to help poorer families in the United States to help with grocery bills.

And last month, Health Secretary Steve Barclay delayed an advertising ban until 2025.

Resistant to bans, he instead wants “more positive ways of promoting healthy living.”

Meanwhile, Prof Jebb said tackling obesity could be achieved through “pretty cheap interventions”. [that] bring great benefits’, including NHS weight management programmes.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11646737/Bringing-cake-office-harmful-colleagues-secondhand-smoking-food-tsar-warns.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Bringing cake into the office is just as harmful to co-workers as second-hand smoke, Food Tsar warns

Emma Colton

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