Dessert lovers, we have bad news for you…

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Kayleigh Dray

If you’re enjoying a meal out, there’s a certain air of festivity about the whole affair. It’s a celebration of food, of freedom (hey, there’s no cooking or washing up to face after your meal), and of decadence.

Which is why, when it comes to dessert, there are only ever two options; go hard, or go home.

Whether it’s a slab of chocolate cake covered in salted caramel sauce, or an ice cream sundae as big as your head, there’s no denying that enjoying dessert at a restaurant is an utterly sublime, albeit sometimes defeating (not everyone can handle the sugar), experience.

But that’s all about to change.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, clearly not a fan of the ‘treat yo self” movement sparked by Parks & Recreation’s Tom Haverford and Donna Meagle - has started a war on restaurant puddings.


And it’s all part of the government's plans to tackle obesity, restaurants will need to cut down the size of their desserts.

Speaking in a private meeting with representatives from over 100 food companies in the UK, he said: “Going out to eat is no longer a treat. It’s a regular habit for many families and is contributing significantly to the extra calories and sugar that we all consume on a daily basis.

“We can’t ignore the changing habits of consumers. This means we expect the whole of the out-of-home sector - coffee shops, pubs and family restaurants, quick service restaurants, takeaways, cafes, contract caterers and mass catering suppliers - to step up and deliver on sugar reduction.”

Restaurants have been given three options; to reduce the amount of sugar they use, to make their desserts smaller, or to persuade their customers to make healthier choices.

If they do not do any of the above, they will be named and shamed as contributors to the UK’s obesity crisis.

Pizza Express, Starbucks, and McDonald’s are amongst those who’ve been told off over the size of their sweet treats, with Hunt telling them that "doing nothing was not an option".

He warned: "You want to be on the right side of this debate."

“Going out to eat is no longer a treat"

“Going out to eat is no longer a treat"

According to the Press Association, chief executive of Public Health England Duncan Selbie told the meeting that the new measures were needed to improve nutrition across the board.

“We need a level playing field — if the food and drink bought in cafes, coffee shops and restaurants does not also get reformulated and portions rethought then it will remain often significantly higher in sugar and bigger in portion than those being sold in supermarkets and convenience shops,” he said. 

“This will not help the overall industry to help us all make healthier choices.”


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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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