One of the major problems we are continually faced with at work is an excess of sugar.

It may be morale boosting and get you on-side with colleagues but bringing cakes and biscuits into the workplace too often can have a detrimental effect on the oral health and wellbeing of employees.

Government recommendations say we should have no more than 30g of sugar a day. That’s about seven level teaspoons (or sugar cubes). But recent findings show that adults actually consume double this amount daily. 

And it’s easy to do.

A regular can of Coke comes in at around 40g of sugar while a single chocolate biscuit is around 5g of sugar.

Cutting down sugar consumption

When you consider our eating and drinking habits at work, especially if you add a teaspoon to your tea or coffee, you can very quickly see how these can add up throughout the day. Unhealthy options of high sugar foods and drinks in vending machines, canteens and kitchens are not only contributing to oral health problems but major issues with overall health, with increased levels of diabetes and obesity.

By increasing education about sugar and supplying employees with healthier alternatives, there is an excellent opportunity to benefit both employers and employees.

It is important to keep sugar consumption to mealtimes only.

Reducing sugar intake at work could reduce tooth decay and dental erosion, as well as general health conditions, all of which have an impact on productivity.

Take a look at these simple ideas that you could adopt in your workplace:

Know your sugars

  • Check the ingredients on packaging before purchasing foods and drinks for the workplace.
  • Sugar can come in many forms and these ingredients usually end in ‘ose’. Sucrose, fructose and glucose are just three types. These sugars can all damage your teeth.
  • Sucrose and glucose are ‘added’ sugars often found in cakes, biscuits and sweets.
  • Added sugars carry no nutritional value, unlike foods containing natural sugars which can be high in water and fibre.
  • When reading food and drink labels, remember ‘no added sugar’ does not necessarily mean that the product is sugar free. It simply means no extra sugar has been added. These products could still contain those sugars listed above, or they may come under ‘carbohydrates’. 
  • Natural sugars can still cause tooth decay so it is important to still moderate consumption.

Reduce sugary food and drink options in the cafeteria and vending machines

  • Replace sugary snacks with dentally-friendly alternatives such as cheese, nuts, raw vegetables and breadsticks.
  • Only stock drinks that are sugar-free such as water and milk.
  • Try to cut the price of low-in-sugar foods and drinks.
  • For vending machines, keep low sugar products at eye level.
  • If you still have some sugar options make sure they’re low sugar.

Raise awareness about the benefits of reducing sugar intake

  • Provide staff with educational materials about the importance of a diet which is low in sugar.
  • Arrange internal events that promote sugar-free alternatives.
  • Hold cooking demonstrations for making low cost, sugar-free meals.
  • Provide employees with recipes which are low in sugar that they can make at home.

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