A food expert has claimed that bringing a cake into the office can be just as harmful as smoking in the same area as them.
Professor Susan Jebb, who is part of the UK’s Food Standards Agency, told The Times that in her personal opinion, bringing a cake into the workplace entices people to eat unhealthily when they otherwise wouldn’t. She specifically uses people smoking in a bar as an example.
“We all like to think we’re rational, intelligent, educated people who make informed choices the whole time and we undervalue the impact of the environment,” she said.
“If nobody brought in cakes into the office, I would not eat cakes in the day, but because people do bring cakes in, I eat them. Now, OK, I have made a choice, but people were making a choice to go into a smoky pub.”
There are differences in the two issues, she admits, but goes on to say that people smoking around others has an effect on the ‘others’ “and exactly the same is true of food.”
Jebb believes that we should make environments more healthy eating friendly, as we do with cigarettes (non-smoking areas, for example).
“With smoking, after a very long time, we have got to a place where we understand that individuals have to make some effort but that we can make their efforts more successful by having a supportive environment. But we still don’t feel like that about food,” she added.
Susan has long had a keen eye on how external factors affect an individual’s eating habits. She has previously called for more stringent restrictions on junk food advertising.
“Advertising means that the businesses with the most money have the biggest influence on people’s behaviour. That’s not fair,” she also told The Times.
“At the moment we allow advertising for commercial gain with no health controls on it whatsoever and we’ve ended up with a complete market failure because what you get advertised is chocolate and not cauliflower.”