Monthly Archives: March 2016

Would your staff sue you if they caught the flu?

Work Team
Healthy staff and a healthy balance sheet – protecting your assets

Sue? For flu?

We’re joking, right? They get flu, that’s their problem.

Except maybe you want to revise that. Because wasn’t it your idea that everyone had the flu jab in the first place? So you already had concerns about keeping them healthy.

Sod’s Law

Yeah but, if they’ve had the flu jab, you’ve done your bit. It’s not your fault this year’s vaccine doesn’t work so well. Too many different strains – the medics can’t always get it right.

Sure, but it’s still a worry. You can’t run a business with loads of empty desks. Which is what you get when flu strikes. Never a single hit, eh? Always a whole squad of people down at once – usually at the most critical moment. An evil kink in Sod’s Law.

It’s your duty of care too. So that working conditions are safe and secure. Which often means issues you never thought of five years ago now have to be addressed.

They sure cost a bob or two. HVAC systems don’t come cheap, but they keep staff motivated and comfortable, working in their shirtsleeves. Or how about anti-terrorism? Coded pass cards, keypad entry, bullet-proof glass, ex-SAS guards – it takes a lot to protect people.

You bend over backwards for them, how could they possibly sue you for flu?

Protection from themselves

Yeah well, increasingly people need protecting from themselves. More specifically, from each other.

Like flu. One of them catches a bug, they give it to each other. It happens, they’ve all had the jab, a few days and it’s over, so what? Another inconvenience on top of all the others.

But what if it was more serious? Like one of them does a sales trip to Africa and comes back with cholera? Or typhoid? Or worst case scenario, Ebola? Round the office with any of those would land you in big trouble, possibly even criminal negligence, so where do you draw the line?

An iffy question. And these days, getting iffier.

You may have read somewhere that office desks are a breeding place for anything up to 10 million germs. Sure, you have the regular cleaning services, but most of these breeding places never get touched by typical valeting, so the germs continue unchecked. Noxious germs in the workplace, you could be liable.

It gets worse when you consider staff hygiene – no, not anything you’ve done – their normal day-to-day behaviour. A quick look at the figures is shocking:

OK, so dirty desks, unwashed hands, somebody comes in with Ebola (which they’ve no idea they’ve got ‘cos it can take weeks to show) – big trouble, right? Law suits almost certainly, failure to protect, not a headache anyone wants.

Due diligence

So what makes flu so different? Can you prove due diligence that staff were not exposed to contagious pathogens? More to the point, can you prove that you did everything you could to prevent possible infection? Especially the air space, which is 80% of any room – remember germs are microscopic so they’re up there anyway, brought in by the personal cloud of them we all walk around with.

Which means a nightly wipe-down with a damp cloth is not enough is it? Or vacuuming the floors and emptying the waste paper baskets. Like it or not, your workplace is probably teeming with germs just waiting to cause an illness.

The only reason they don’t is that most of the time staff are healthy enough for their immune systems to prevent it. But that doesn’t include tiredness, stress, or any of the other everyday challenges of working life. It’s only a matter of time – and yes, you could be liable.

Because it IS possible to neutralise all germs in your workplace inexpensively. Certainly for less than the cost of an HVAC system or putting in full security.

Total sterility

Wheel in a Hypersteriliser at the end of the day when staff have gone home, and germs can be eliminated altogether.  It generates an ultra-fine dry mist of ionised hydrogen peroxide that reaches everywhere, destroying viruses and bacteria on contact, sterilising the entire room. Forty minutes or so and all germs are gone – flu, common illnesses, tummy bugs, even Ebola.

Staff of course you can issue with antibacterial wipes or gel – put a pack daily on each desk and you’re in the clear. So is the air and every surface in your workplace, a fresh page to start the day, free of any health hazards.

No law suits likely after that.

Picture Copyright: andreypopov / 123RF Stock Photo

Nice one Westminster! Now ban sugar outright and we’ll get even fatter

Big and blindfolded
Blind and in denial –
to what’s REALLY making us fat

Here we go, another parliamentary sidestep. Sugar taxed. Job done. No more obesity.

If only. Note that nobody’s singing, especially the fat ladies.

Badder than bad

Because parliament doesn’t have a clue what happens next, does it? The ultimate can of worms. Worse than terrorism, the migrant crisis, climate change and World War III combined.

Of course current members will be out of office when it happens, out to retirement too, probably. But they’re always going to know it started on their watch – the day they voted for sugary drinks to be taxed as the curb against obesity.

Fat chance – even though yes, we do guzzle too many gallons of fizzy-pop.

You won’t see fewer fat people though, despite Coke sales taking a dip. Because MPs haven’t clobbered WHY people chug so much – and WHY they gorge themselves on power foods too.

None so blind

They haven’t addressed the cause, so people will just keep getting fatter. Bigger and bigger, more and more – way beyond the two-thirds of us who are overweight or obese already. Probably including themselves, even though they never touch the stuff – unless you include tonic water.

Yeah, yeah – too many sugary drinks make people bulk up, especially kids. They have the taste, they crave the stuff. Yet nobody twigs that such craving is not natural, that something is wrong if their bodies demand hit after hit of sugary reward they don’t actually need.

They don’t need the power food they hanker for either, do they? What you call “junk food”. Some junk – there’s instant energy in them, that’s why they’re popular. And they’re only unhealthy if you eat too much of them. If you glutton and have two. Even Jamie Oliver sells superburgers.

See it’s not sugary drinks that make people fat – one Coke didn’t swell you up in 1966, it doesn’t swell you up now. But too many sugary drinks. Too many burgers. Too many chips. Yeah sure, it’s the road to fat-dom.

Except everybody’s so busy scoring headlines that nobody asks why.

WHY IS THE SWITCH THAT STOPS BINGE EATING BROKEN?

Time to get real

Simples. All the food we’ve been chowing down over the last twenty years – meat and veg both – is shot through and through with every farmer’s No 1 growth booster.

The binge switch is busted by antibiotics.

Check the facts – antibiotics have been used on farms in industrial quantities for the last fifty years. Right now, today, the world uses 65,000 tonnes a year. Which is how come there’s enough food for the 7½ billion people we are today – from the same land resource that could only feed 2½ billion of us back in 1952.

We’re bulking up from the super-fatteners in our food – and no wonder.  From egg to full-grown roasting chicken in 6 weeks. From calf to Aberdeen Angus sirloin steak in 16 months instead of four years. That’s the power of antibiotics.

OK, so tax sugary drinks double. Tax them to hell and gone off the market – we’ll still get fat. Because the super-fatteners we eat every day have jammed the binge control wide open – so it’s not just sugary drinks we’re pigging out on, it’s everything.

Two full-size helpings at dinner, double pudding – chips, snacks, chocolate bars, the works. And then we sit down to watch our favourite Great British Sugar Factor on TV – binge food before the watershed.

So who’s in charge?

But hold it, antibiotics – shouldn’t these be controlled by the medics?

In a word, yes. But these days any Tom, Dick or Hans-Gustav can shovel pretty much as many antibiotics into his cows as he likes and no-one will say them nay – not Public Health England, not DEFRA, not the Food Standards Agency, nobody.

And certainly not the General Medical Council – they’ve got their hands full worrying about antibiotics in medicine. About how they’re not working thanks to the snowballing number of superbugs with antibiotic resistance. About how any day now, our life-saving miracle drugs won’t work any more.

Which puts them in a nasty Catch 22 – no heart bypass or hip replacement – no life-changing wonder surgery – is possible without antibiotics. But superbugs like MRSA are increasingly immune. They know they’ve got to stop prescribing antibiotics, but also know they can’t.

Until the day finally comes when they achieve zero. When the only defence against infection will be how clean and free of germs we can keep ourselves. And cutting away infection – amputating – any part of us that becomes infected, because there is no other way.

Uh huh. Meantime, we’re still chowing down antibiotics with every meal we eat. And those antibiotics, like they’re supposed to, kill more and more of our gut bacteria every time. The same gut bacteria that control our immune system and directly manipulate so many other vital body functions.

Until inevitably, our surviving bacteria become resistant to antibiotics themselves. So that whatever drugs we’re prescribed have no chance of working anyway.

Fatter and fatter

And all the time, we’re getting fatter and fatter and fatter. To the point where governments realise we can’t go on and antibiotics are finally withdrawn from agriculture altogether. No more fatteners, people might stand a better chance.

As if. Because the damage has been done.

By that time most of us will be seriously obese  – well in the grip of terminal illnesses like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer and a zillion others resulting from immune system meltdown.

Which is when the food chain will conk out. Not enough quick-grow animals to supply world hunger. Not enough health protection against the overcrowded and unsanitary conditions of intense factory farms. Too much for the system. The world goes back to pre-antibiotic methods, like in 1952.

Oops. A food shortfall for 5 billion people. World-wide famine and disease. See how misplaced a sugar tax really is? How totally irrelevant and off-target? The headache is solving the antibiotics crisis, not pushing up the price of Coke. Like we said, nice one Westminster.

Which leaves it up to us if we’re going to survive. We ourselves, and the heck with the politicians.

With the old one-two. Hiked up hygiene standards in everything we do, always washing our hands, cleaning things. And taking out germs around us wherever we can, sterilising the place everywhere we gather. At work, in schools, in restaurants, at home – eliminating harmful pathogens down to nothing.

The first takes soap and water, every chance we get – always before food, and always after the loo.

The second takes a Hypersteriliser, misting up living spaces when we’re not there, eliminating germs with ionised hydrogen peroxide. If the rooms we live in are sterile, nothing can touch us.

Better shift to organic foods while we’re at it too. The Heathrow runway’s taken more than twenty years – how long will it be before Westminster finally takes action on antibiotics?

A bitter pill to swallow, eh? Maybe a spoonful of sugar will help.

Picture Copyright: darkbird / 123RF Stock Photo

Vomit at the office: who’s liable – and what for?

One sick lady
Not nice, ever. Not nice knowing you probably caused it either

Oh no! Vomit at the office. Professional cool and polish, gone in an instant. Feeling awful – and degraded – the end of the world.

Not your fault though, right? You couldn’t help it. One minute OK, the next…

Except the inconvenient truth is, it probably WAS your fault. Not deliberate or anything like that, but highly likely it was CAUSED by you.

We’re ALL bad

Now don’t feel bad, we’re all probably just as guilty. Because nine times out of ten your unfortunate experience is not caused by something you ate. More than likely it was from something you swallowed after touching it by hand.

Easily done – that hasty pastry gulped down with your flat white before the all-important 9.00 meeting. Eaten with your fingers, right? You had to lick the icing off afterwards. Four or five hours for the stuff to get down to your gut and react with your internal bacteria…

Excuse me, I don’t feel so good.

Upchuck all over the conference room floor.

The blame game

So how is it your fault? You didn’t do anything. That horrible heave-ho came out of nowhere.

Ah, that’s just the point. You didn’t do anything. And that’s why the rest of us are probably just as guilty. Because the one thing we’re always NOT doing though we know we should, is wash our hands.

Especially after going to the loo and before eating food. Yes, it’s shocking, but 62% of men and 40% of women NEVER wash their hands after going to the toilet.

Worse, 95% of people don’t ever take the time to wash their hands properly.

And just so you can recognise how easily your awful experience happened to you, only 12% of people ever wash their hands before eating.

Which means…

You can see it can’t you? Running late because the tubes were crowded and you couldn’t get on. Mad dash to the office via the coffee shop. Quick detour to the loo and check make-up. Gulp coffee and pastry – you burnt your mouth remember? Grab your laptop and go. 30 seconds to spare and your presentation was on first. No time to wash your hands – you just got unlucky.

Because most of the time we get away with it. This time, you just got caught.

Noro nasty

Better hope it’s not norovirus though – or any of the other real nasties. Four, five hours? It usually takes longer, more like eight. And it won’t be just your fault you made yourself sick – you could bring the whole office down.

You see, norovirus is highly contagious and gruesomely efficient. That’s why it spreads so explosively – the world record for long distance vomit – and don’t even think about the diarrhoea.

OK, so you slink home in a taxi, new silk blouse and your jacket ruined, icky vomit all through your hair. So what happens with the clean up?

Yeah well, it’s one of those accidents nobody is prepared for. Paper towels and dishwashing liquid in the kitchen, bleach if they’re lucky. Wrinkled noses and pulled faces attacking the patch on the carpet. Hopefully the night cleaning crew will fix it when they swamp out in the evening.

Except they won’t be prepared either, norovirus is smarter than that. Shampoo the wet patch, OK. Vomit gone.

And the rest of the room around that? The chair legs? The conference table? The air itself? Norovirus particles are as small as 2 microns, too small to see, finer than cigarette smoke – so they could be floating around for anything up to a week.

Everybody gets it, easy

All it takes is 10 particles, on somebody’s cheek, scraped together as they rub their eye, into the soft tissue round the cornea – next victim, prepped and ready. Picked up by others too – off the conference table, the door handle, the light switch – half a dozen targets.

They go to their desks, wake up their computers. Norovirus on the keyboards, the desk phone, the meeting minutes they circulate to their colleagues.

Tomorrow morning, a dozen staff calling sickies – with more to come because the germs are still in the air, still on all the high-touch areas not processed by the swamp-out team. The whole office down – vomit, cramps, diarrhoea, the works.

Your fault. You could get sued.

Well, yes. To begin with.

But also the company’s.

They have a duty of care to ensure the workplace is safe to work in – the floors are solid, the place doesn’t leak, there’s no mould, or drafts, or rats running around, and you don’t shock yourself half to death flipping the light switches.

And there’s no germs.

How safe is safe?

For instance if legionnaire’s disease was lurking in the air conditioning ducts you’d quite rightly be able to sue them for not providing a safe and secure hazard-free place to work. They’d have to compensate you AND pay to have the condition fixed – possibly even face criminal charges.

Norovirus is no different – and way more common than legionnaire’s disease – more common even than flu or the common cold.

Your company might shrug it off and say it’s not their problem – but keeping desks, chairs, computers, carpets, curtains and the air itself safe from germs is just as much part of their duty of care as making sure none of you freeze to death in winter.

You started it. But everybody else came down with the bug because of them.

You didn’t wash your hands. They didn’t ensure the place was germ-free afterwards. And most of the time everyone just accepts it’s just one of those things. You failed in your duty to yourself and your colleagues. They failed in their duty of care to all of you.

Yet it’s so easily fixable. And just maybe all of you are negligent in not knowing that it is.

Hygiene defence

Your personal upchuck could have been prevented by soap and water. Or your company could have been smart and put a pack of antibacterial wipes or hand gel on everybody’s desk – because they know that staff are busy and frequently forget to wash their hands – and even though it gets wiped off every night, everybody’s workstation is a major source of hazardous germs.

No, it won’t work with heavy bleach and more elbow grease, rubbing and scrubbing. The smell will be unbearable and the airborne germs will remain untouched. Steam cleaning won’t work either – germs need very high temperatures and at least five minutes contact time to be destroyed – not possible hose-piping around so that everything is wet – ineffective against airborne germs too.

More effective and far cheaper is to eliminate germs with a Hypersteriliser.

After the usual cleaning, a wheel-bin-sized unit is rolled in to mist up the place with ionised hydrogen peroxide. Electrostatically charged, microscopic particles of hydrogen peroxide actively clamour to get away from each other, spreading everywhere, forcing themselves into every crack and crevice to escape.

That same electrostatic charge causes them to reach out and grab at viruses and bacteria everywhere – on surfaces, under them, behind things, in the air itself. Contact time is only seconds, during which the germs’ cell structure and DNA is completely destroyed.

Sterile and safe

Allow forty minutes to process the entire room and the whole place is sterilised – no germs, no nothing – safe. No law suits either, or anyone suffering upchucks. Unless they forgot to wash their hands before climbing into lunch – or there really is something off with their chicken liver pâté – not cooked enough, perhaps.

Feel better? If it’s any consolation, norovirus only lasts two or three days – unpleasant yes, but it does come to an end.

Then you can wash your hands of the whole thing.

Picture Copyright: BDS / 123RF Stock Photo

OK wise guys, how soon before the Sugar Tax actually kills somebody?

Mine mine mine
OK, so you tax sugar and people still get fat – now what?

Bet you thought you had it sorted, hey? Wise guys for sure.

The obesity crisis done and dusted. You’re all heroes, collect your medals, put your statue in the High Street.

Going to look a right bunch of Charlies when the mortality figures don’t come down, aren’t you?

Fatheads or what?

Two thirds of adults are currently overweight or obese, one third of children 6 – 19 are currently overweight or obese – and figures are still rocketing for both.

Oh yeah, you’re going to say, sedentary lifestyle, junk food diets – put a tax on burgers and pizzas, tax cars and buses to make people walk. Wise guys all, with an answer for everything.

And when the numbers keep rocketing after that?

Ooh er , we need more research. Got to find an answer somewhere.

Uh huh. How about what’s staring you in the face?

None so blind

Like we weren’t so fat in the 1960s, were we? Back then your average bloke weighed in at 10.2 stone (65kg) and your average blokess at 8.7 stone (55kg). Today they’re tipping the scales at 13.2 stone (83.6kg) and 11.1 stone (70.2kg) respectively. 20% more in 50 years.

And guess what? They had Coke back then too. And Irn-Bru and Lucozade. No sugar tax though – it wasn’t necessary. Wise guys.

They had burgers too – two bob each, with double-thick milkshakes for two-and-three (that’s in grandpa’s old money) from Wimpy bars,  named after J. Wellington Wimpy in Popeye the Sailor Man cartoons showing at the local bughouse – the original health propaganda for kids, trying to get them to eat spinach.

Enter, the beast

Oh and yeah, that was when they introduced antibiotics – as GROWTH PROMOTERS on the farm.

Bingo! A total money-making revolution.

From egg to full-grown roasting chicken in 6 weeks. From calf to Aberdeen Angus sirloin steak in 16 months instead of four years. So amazingly successful that world farmers are now using 65,000 tonnes of antibiotics a year – a guaranteed super-fattener that works on plants too.

Super double jackpot!

Which is why there are guaranteed super-fatteners in all the food you buy at the supermarket – your meat, your poultry, your dairy, your veg, your cereals, the works. Added to animal feed on the farm, or laced through animal waste manure used to enrich the soil for plant crops.

OK, so even if we stop taking sugar altogether, our kids are still going to get fat – jump started by MEDICAL antibiotics we give them through infancy – and topped up every with every meal they eat, more, more, more.

Get the picture, wise guys?

The animals get fat, so we get fat too.

Bodies out of balance

Anyway, sugar actually does nothing if our bodies are normal, balanced and healthy – not stampeded by unstoppable cravings for sweet things and power foods – and not driven by antibiotic damage to our gut bacteria so we never know when we’ve had enough.

Which means unless we dump antibiotics altogether, obesity is going to snowball. More people at risk of type 2 diabetes, cancer, heart disease, asthma – all the slow killers. We turn our backs on the problem with a sugar tax – and then wonder why we keep dying.

Plus it’s not just our appetite control that antibiotics destroy. Increasingly, it’s our whole immune system.

Ironic, huh? We take these things as miracle drugs to make us well – and they rip our gut bacteria apart to do it. That’s because they kill bacteria in order to work. Not just the bad ones making us ill, the good ones as well.

Except we NEED these bacteria for our bodies to keep going. They’re 90% of who we are – and everything we eat is ripping them apart.

Some of the rarer ones, our special immunity against infections we haven’t even had yet, might be annihilated altogether – our bodies never restore to exactly how they were. Our children inherit fewer immunities to pass onto their kids, just as we lose immunities acquired from our mothers at birth – even less if we are born by caesarean section.

Slightly more serious that taxing sugar, hey wise guys?

More at hazard

Because it means that from generation to generation our immune systems get weaker – we’re increasingly more vulnerable to infection and disease. And the very antibiotics we might use to save ourselves are either resisted by bacteria that have mutated new defences against them, or continually savaging our remaining gut bacteria to make us even weaker.

Job not done, wise guys. Job screwed.

The real issue is not to chop sugar – it’s to chop antibiotics. Totally.

In the meantime we have to survive.

Since we’re increasingly defenceless, we’re more likely to pick up germs from things we touch and live with. Hand hygiene is no longer just necessary, it’s a life saver. Fail to wash your hands before a meal or after the loo and it could be the death of you. Because – you guessed it, you can’t rely on antibiotics to rescue you.

And how about the things we touch and live with? Leave them be and we’re still at risk. Which makes it increasingly critical to sterilise our surroundings. Not just clean and disinfect – sterilise. And not just surfaces either – every nook and cranny, even the air itself, the only way to make the rooms we work, eat and sleep in absolutely safe.

Which means increasingly we’re going to need Hypersterilisers – those nifty wheelie-bin-sized machines that you trundle in and mist the place up with a safe, dry mist of ionised hydrogen peroxide, destroying all viruses and bacteria – the harmful ones outside our bodies, not our vital interior friends – down to zero in around 40 minutes.

Do all that and we’re a step closer to being sorted – chop antibiotics, ramp up serious hygiene. Then we can all be wise guys. No dead bodies – and an even chance of a ripe old age.

Sugar tax? Don’t hold your breath.

And with that, it’s time for a Coke. Reckon we’ll make that Coke Zero.

Picture Copyright: ocusfocus / 123RF Stock Photo

Sugar tax, yay! Now let’s watch obesity accelerate

Overweight and pigging out
Think fat people WANT to be fat?
Hey Jamie, wait till you’re a Size 18 too.

Congratulations Jamie, congratulations all, sugar tax is going to happen.

All those nasty drinks that everyone hates so much are going to go up in price, people will a stop buying, everyone will get thinner, yay!

As if.

Just like cigarettes

Exactly like they did when a packet of fags cost 7/6 in old money – £10 and more now, more than 25 times times the price. Because smoking is BAD, yeah? So look at the keep-fit celebs secretly puffing away to maintain that super-trim bod. Are we back to the dark days of using cigarettes to reduce weight?

Yeah, but sugar tax works. Look at Mexico. The sugar tax there cut sales by 12%.

Like wow.

Cut SALES by 12%, NOT obesity. Seriously clever.

The highest rate of overweight people in the world and an estimated 10 million with diabetes. Sugary drinks BAD. But nobody ever asks WHY so many people are drinking the stuff.

Muddied waters

Know much about Mexico? A hot country, right? A lot of it desert, or semi-desert. Dry, dry, dry – the definition of arid. Tropical temperatures. Not a place to get thirsty. Keep yourself properly hydrated, or die.

Ah yes, and how about the water? Until a few years ago, to be avoided like the plague. Full of noxious organisms and bugs – instant illness. As the Kingston Trio sang in Coplas back in 1958 – tell your parents not to muddy the water around us, they may have to drink it soon.

OK, so they chlorinated it – heavily. So if the pipes aren’t too rusty, maybe you can drink it – if you can stand the taste. Oh, and the local bottled water tends to be ropey too.

Hmm, so a lot of Mexicans reckon it’s safer to drink Coke. The Coca Cola Company has a lot to lose – and it’s easier trust a big Americano company with something when you take the cap off yourself.

So you’re Mexican, you drink Coke and you’re fat. Never touch the water. But you’re not writhing on the ground with stomach cramps – and better believe it, try a hot taco with enchilada sauce you’ll know that Mexicans have cast-iron stomachs.

And they’re obese anyway, including those who don’t drink Coke. But they’re not stupid either, they know the sugar connection. So aside from the big thirst of a dry country, WHY do their bodies crave sugar to such levels?

Why does ANYONE’S body crave food that it knows is not right and in such excess?

Wrong body language

Something’s wrong, right? Because we might not be Mexicans, but our bodies aren’t stupid either. Most of the time the benign and absolutely vital bacteria in our gut tell us what we need and our bodies react according – the brain is hardly even consulted.

Yet obese people crave super sweet drinks and high energy foods like they’re preparing for a major physical challenge in Arctic conditions, even though there’s no sign of one. The body is getting mixed signals, why?

Those vital gut bacteria produce two crucial hormones, ghrelin and leptin – the on/off control for the body’s appetite. In obese people, the ghrelin switch is jammed ON and the leptin switch for OFF is not recognised because something has glitched the bacteria.

So what glitches bacteria? Not sugar, that’s for sure. The bacteria digest it with no trouble, but absorb way more than they ever should without ever signalling STOP, SATISFIED. They’ve become leptin resistant.

No, not sugar. Between Jamie and Westminster, they got it all wrong. Because the one thing DESIGNED to kill and damage bacteria that ALL of us are regularly dosed with is antibiotics.

Guaranteed obesity

Antibiotics? All of us?

Oh yeah. Antibiotics before two years old, overweight by five. And average teenagers today have been through at least twenty courses of medicinal antibiotics by the time they reach majority.

But that’s not even the half of it. Kids, teenagers, adults, we ALL ingest residual antibiotics from the food we eat. And guess what? Two thirds of us are overweight.

Because farmers have been using antibiotics to BOOST GROWTH of plant and livestock crops for the last 50 years, ramping up particularly in the last two decades with advances in factory farms and intense production methods.

Boost growth. That means MAKE FATTER.

From egg to full-grown roasting chicken in 6 weeks. From calf to Aberdeen Angus sirloin steak in 16 months instead of four years. And worldwide, farmers are currently using antibiotics at the rate of 65,000 tonnes a year to make this happen. They’re guaranteed to work for billions and billions of animals, why not us?

65,000 tonnes a year to make us fatter – because they’re in the food we eat – unchecked, unregulated and unhealthy. A bigger trigger than sugar could ever be. Pumping us up, even though many of us DON’T have a sweet tooth.

Like how many fat people do you know who eat almost nothing, exercise like crazy, but still stay fat anyway?

So yeah, a sugar tax to fight obesity. Brilliant. Cart before the horse and all that rubbish.

Come on, Jamie, get with the programme.

Because we’re all going to look pretty stupid when the tax comes in and our obesity epidemic lurches from bad to worse.

Picture Copyright: poznyakov / 123RF Stock Photo

The drugs don’t work – so keep germs away, or die

Medical researcher
The miracle’s not happening any more – antibiotics are starting to kill us

You read that right, the drugs don’t work.

And you’d better believe it, because it’s coming true.

The Verve sang about it on their album Urban Hymns.

Slightly more scary, there’s a book about it as well – by no less a person than Dr Dame Sally Davies, the Chief Medical Officer of England,  somebody who ought to know.

Take a pill, it does nothing. That’s where we’re going.

Everything’s a risk

Which means a sore throat could kill you – so could a paper cut.

Even worse, we could be dying already – FROM PILLS WE’VE ALREADY TAKEN. Antibiotics we had years ago as a kid – a miracle cure back then, but slowly killing us now.

And even if we didn’t take them, they’re still working away at our innards, gulped down unconsciously with every mouthful of food we eat. Every day a little more, drip, drip, drip. Because – surprise, surprise – there’s antibiotics in all our food.

What the hell’s going on?

Two things, neither of them good.

Antibiotic resistance

The one Dame Sally is worried about is antibiotic resistance. Because of massive over-use, all kinds of harmful bacteria have evolved that are immune to antibiotics. They’ve mutated and mutated so that whatever illness they cause is unstoppable. If our bodies aren’t strong enough to resist, we’ll die.The drugs don't work

And it’s not just illness. Every routine surgical procedure relies on antibiotics to prevent infection. Heart surgery, hip replacement, gastric bypass – all of them are impossible without infection control. Medicine is on the brink of returning to the Dark Ages.

Antibiotic contamination

The other thing is long-term. We ingest small doses of antibiotics with everything we eat – residual traces of growth boosters used by farmers to fatten up livestock quicker and plant crops yield more strongly.

You read that right too. Growth boosters. Added to animal feed and plant fertiliser in industrial quantities. Super-charging the manure that’s used for everything from grazing grass, to vegetable crops, to grain production – you name it.

How can you tell?

Look around and ask yourself, aren’t more of us overweight than we ever used to be? And not just a little portly round the middle either – but seriously bulging everywhere, at all stages of obesity.

Antibiotics did that – just like they did for the cows and chickens and pigs they were fed to. They got fat, so we get fat too. Fatter and fatter and fatter as the residual doses collectively mount up. Seriously obese.

Which means we’re seriously at risk of what obesity triggers – type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, asthma – all kinds of slow, debilitating ailments that will eventually kill us. Caused by the very same miracle drugs we thought were life savers.

Keep healthy, or else

All of a sudden, our health and everything concerned with protecting it, have become a major issue – like driving on bald tyres. Everything is OK as long as nothing happens. But if it does, we’re going to crash Big Time.

Luckily, we do have defences.

No 1 – wash our hands at every opportunity. Germs surround us and are on everything we touch – so unless we keep them clean, our hands are constantly transferring viruses and bacteria to our mouth, eyes and nose, the easiest doorways for infection to get in.

No 2 – eliminate germs around us. We all carry germs with us and our living spaces are full of them. But they don’t have to be. Mopping and scrubbing gets rid of only a few – we need to be sure of the cracks and crevices. Plus we need to treat the air – probably 80% of any room space that is never usually touched.

Easy with a Hypersteriliser though. That fine mist of ionised hydrogen peroxide destroys all viruses and bacteria by oxidising them to pieces. Forty minutes and the place is sterile – safe from germs down to less than 1 air particle in a million.

No 3 – be watchful. How many times do we cut ourselves because we’re not paying attention? If accidents don’t happen, germs don’t get a look in.

No 4 – go organic. Stop eating mass-produced foods that have antibiotics in them. Not easy at first, you have to find a reliable source. Certainly if you grow your own and eat ocean fresh fish – not the farmed jobs – you’re off to a good start.

Yeah, the drugs don’t work. But if we’re watchful and we’re careful, most of the time we don’t need them. And hopefully we’re healthier and stronger, so if anything does happen, we can rise above it anyway.

Let the dying happen another day.

Picture Copyright: dolgachov / 123RF Stock Photo

Why most deep cleans are not as deep as you think

Sceptical businesswoman
Shouldn’t a deep clean sterilise a room AND the air that’s in it?

Sounds impressive, doesn’t it? Deep clean.

Definitely the thing for emergencies and beginning-of-project preparations. To make things safe and free from risk of infection. More high-powered than a regular wash down.

Somehow you imagine that scrubbing is longer and harder. That everything is stripped to its bare bones, then reassembled. That super octane chemicals are involved – face mask and breathing apparatus territory, you can just see the stuff fuming off the walls.

If only

Back to earth, spaceman.

Yes, most deep cleans involve more rubbing and scrubbing, but not a hell of a lot else. They may also include more areas – high contact surfaces like door handles, keypads and remote controls – in addition to the usual worktops and floors.

The big expectation of course is that they do more than remove dirt. The whole purpose of the exercise is to kill germs – not just clean, but safe. Two jobs at once, wipe away the visible dirt, clobber the nasty microbes.

Yeah, right.

Time to actually work

Ask yourself one question. What’s the contact time?

Removing dirt is a physical thing – wipe, wipe, it’s visibly gone. Not the same with germs. Bacteria, viruses, fungi, moulds – they all know how to hang on. They’re too small to see anyway, so it’s impossible to know if they’re there.

Count on it, they are. And they’re only going to get clobbered if the active whatever in the miracle gop being used has sufficient time to do its job. Wham, bam, thank you ma’am is not going to crack it.

So if the job looks like it’s just wipe, wipe, finish, you can bet that germs have hardly been touched. Just because you can smell bleach doesn’t mean it’s doing anything. It needs a contact time of at least ten minutes before anything happens – and that depends on how concentrated it is too.

Yes, bleach makes your eyes water and rips the top of your head off, but as a germ-killer it’s a medium-weight also-ran. And ten minutes with even half a bottle of the stuff dumped in a bucket of water is still nowhere near enough.

Worse in fact, because the bleach kills some of the germs but not all of them. And bacteria particularly are masters at survival. The stronger ones that don’t die off keep multiplying as bacteria always do.

Twenty minutes and there’s a whole new bleach-resistant variety on the go – accelerating madly if where they are is warm and damp – like a countertop in a centrally-heated kitchen, briskly wiped down with a moist rag.

Not good enough.

Demand more

Which means shifting to a more high-powered kind of germ-killer – glutaraldehyde, formaldehyde, ortho-phthalaldehyde, peracetic acid or hydrogen peroxide – most of which drop the necessary contact time down to 30 seconds – again depending on strength and method of application.

Problem right there. Formaldehyde is regulated as a carcinogen and banned across the European Union. Glutaraldehyde is highly toxic and unstable in storage. Ortho-phthalaldehyde (OPA) stains the skin. And peracetic acid corrodes brass, copper, steel and iron.

Which leaves hydrogen peroxide – the same stuff that our own bodies produce naturally to fight infection. It attacks viruses and bacteria by oxidising them, reverting back to small quantities of harmless oxygen and water.

Now we’re cooking with gas.

Antimicrobial air force

Quite literally if the stuff is sprayed into the air after physical scrubbing of worktops, floors and other surfaces has already removed physical dirt. Because the expectation of a deep clean is not just that it disinfects all surfaces, it ought to STERILISE THE ROOM.

And doing the surfaces is only part of the job – pretty well 80% of any room is the air space we move around in. Never touched by ordinary cleaning methods, but alive with all kinds of unseen material – dust, fluff, the air we breathe – and billions and billions of viruses and bacteria.

Which makes treating the air the main part of the job – exactly what airborne hydrogen peroxide does.

It gets even better. If the hydrogen peroxide is ionised – charged with high voltage electricity as it’s dispersed – it changes state from a gas vapour to a plasma, forcing its individual particles away from each other and actively grabbing at airborne viruses and bacteria as it does so.

Becoming a plasma unlocks other high-powered antimicrobials too – hydroxyl radicals, reactive oxygen species, reactive nitrogen species, ozone (a more voracious oxidiser than hydrogen peroxide), and ultraviolet.

Viruses and bacteria don’t stand a chance. Allowing forty minutes for effective dispersal and proper contact time across the entire space, ALL of them are dead down to less than one in a million – 99.9999% destroyed. Or as the medics prefer to put it, a Sterility Assurance Level of Log 6.

Sound like a proper deep clean to you?

OK, now you just need a Hypersteriliser to achieve it – a small but nifty wheelie-bin sized automatic unit that makes total room sterility as easy as pie. If your cleaning service isn’t using one, better jump up and down until they do.

Deep clean means NO MORE GERMS, not just scratching the surface.

Picture Copyright: auremar / 123RF Stock Photo

Sorry Jamie, your Sugar Tax is complete nonsense

Dr NO
It’s not sugar, Jamie – you’re missing the point. We’ve got to stop antibiotics

You’ve got to respect Jamie Oliver.

A lot of talent, a lot of passion – and serious commitment to getting our kids onto a healthy diet.

You’ve got to admire his determination in pushing for a Sugar Tax too.

Something to fight for

Yes, our kids DO have too much sugar and pig out on junk food. Yes it is critical. And yes we need to do something about it.

But not a Sugar Tax – mainly because it won’t achieve anything.

You see, Jamie’s concern is that more and more kids are becoming obese – and that the wrong diet is bulking them up further – with all kinds of health problems threatening them in the near future.

Not wrong.

But here’s an analogy. A bath is filling up with water, it is going to overflow. But putting a tax on water is not going to stop it.

In our best Michael Caine accent, YOU HAVE TO TURN THE BLOODY TAP OFF!

Address the cause, not the condition. Ask the question why those kids are on such risky diets – and how come they got there in the first place. Because a lot of things about this issue don’t add up.

Check the numbers

For a start, UK’s actual consumption of sugar, salt, fat and calories has been DROPPING for decades – sugar down 16% since 1992 and calories per head down 21% since 1974.

But despite these plunging totals, average adult body weight INCREASED by 2 kg, simultaneous with a drop in sugar per head of 7.4% and calories of 4.1%. And that’s according to a report sourced from the Office of National Statistics, DEFRA, the British Heart Foundation and others.

Wha…? You want to tax these people when sugar levels are going DOWN!

As a result, the same report – THE FAT LIE by Christopher Snowden – puts the bulking up of our kids and increase in obesity across the board down to a decline in physical activity at home and the workplace – NOT everybody gutsing out on sugar and fatty foods.

A whole slew of research medics are up in arms about that. LIES! they say. Misreporting, say the more reserved of them. People are careless with the truth when asked about their obesity, they deliberately say they eat less than they do.

Now hold on a minute. People are very embarrassed by their fatness. It’s very visible – and they can’t get away from it. It is hurtful to talk about and there are many, many of them in despair because they actually eat like a bird yet still get fat. Somehow their bodies are absorbing more, extracting a higher volume of energy out of their intake.

Only natural

That’s not how it’s supposed to be, is it? The human body is a brilliant creation and in its natural state does not make mistakes. We are not normally fat, nor do we naturally become fat.

In nature everything is balanced, so if we’re less active, we eat less food – the system evens out. Even hunting animals which gorge themselves after a kill don’t get fat. They know prey is scarce and that life is peaks and valleys – feast, famine, feast, famine. You never see an overweight tiger.

Which means something is definitely wrong which has nothing to do with sugar at all.

Why does the body deliberately go for quick-hit power-charge foods – burgers, pizza and energy-boosting drinks – and then go in into stand-by mode to conserve its strength by lying down or sprawling in front of the games console, physically doing nothing?

Somehow the system is on panic alert. It is saying Emergency, Emergency, Full Power At the Ready, Now! Now! Now!

Phantom hunger.

System glitch – fake hunger

But there is no emergency. The bath is overflowing – but the tap is still full throttle. Somewhere there’s a system glitch. Because suddenly going athletic won’t fix things either. Run 5 miles a day every day and the weight might drop off. But ease back on the exercise and it comes right back on again – ask the girls in tears who don’t fit their wedding dress.

There is a glitch too – and doctors already know what it is. Leptin resistance.

Leptin is a hormone produced by the bacteria in our gut – our personal teeming colony of vital microbes that digest our food and regulate our immune system, along with thousands of other necessary tasks. It’s the tap to turn things off, the biological switch that tells our bodies we’ve eaten enough, it’s time to stop.

All of us have leptin, but for some people their bodies somehow override its instruction. They are still driven by their ghrelin, another hormone that is the appetite ON switch. POWER UP, WE’VE GOT THINGS TO DO.

OK, so what causes leptin resistance? Doctors are still going round the houses on that one, with no conclusive answers.

Right in front of us – the invisible villain

But there is one cause staring us in the face that nobody’s taking notice of. The elephant in the room. Ask any farmer what makes modern farms so incredibly able to produce so much full-volume food so quickly and you will get a cracked smile.

The miracle growth booster they all use is antibiotics – first discovered in the 1950s and now pumped into animals and crops round the world at the rate of 65,000 tonnes a year. From egg to full-grown roasting chicken in 6 weeks. From calf to Aberdeen Angus sirloin steak in 1 year instead of four.

Growth booster, huh?

Isn’t that what’s happening to us? Residual antibiotics in the food we eat gets into our gut – and we balloon up, just like Farmer Brown’s cows and chickens. And more antibiotics in the manure they produce gets into all the plant crops we eat as well. We’re on the same fatteners that the animals are.

And guess what? We’re animals too.

Uh huh. Now for our obesity system glitch. Antibiotics do one thing. They kill bacteria. A life-saver if you’re sick and have an infection, but not so good for normal healthy bodies. Because antibiotics are not selective about what they kill – they just go in, shotgun blast, and take out everything around them.

Actually, not shotgun blast, more like hydrogen bomb. Devastating among the 100 trillion bacteria in our gut that work to keep our system going. Whole families get wiped out, others go on the fritz, no longer able to perform their vital tasks. Like responding to leptin SWITCH OFF signals.

Not sugar, antibiotics

There’s the tap Jamie, that’s why the bath is overflowing. Nothing to do with sugar at all. It’s antibiotics we’re not even aware of – unknown, unregulated, unmonitored and unhealthy. Our own miracle lifesavers turned into fatteners that are slowly getting to all of us – two thirds of adults today, tomorrow even super-zealous weed-thin vegans.

And that’s why the Sugar Tax makes no sense in tackling obesity. It feels right, but it doesn’t even begin to address the CAUSE. If we’re going to tax anything it should be antibiotics – however did we let them get away from strict medical supervision anyway?

But even tax isn’t enough. We need to stop exposure to antibiotics altogether – both from medical emergencies and daily top-ups from the food we eat. And we need to do it NOW. Dose a toddler just once with antibiotics before the age of two – and by five they’re already visibly overweight.

All of which means we genuinely ARE going to go hungry.

Because back in the 50s before antibiotics, there were 2½ billion of us world-wide and factory farms were unheard of. Today we’re pushing 7½ billion people, yet land under farming is still the same size. Three times more people to feed, only possible by growth boosting from antibiotics.

If we go back to all-natural farming – no antibiotics, no hormones, no pesticides, no nothing – 5 billion of us are going to go without food.

Now THERE’S a problem Jamie. You’re the cook, how on earth are we going to get round that? Go to one of your restaurants right now. Order a burger – from personal experience it’s healthy, wholesome and amazing. Not junk food.

After that looks like belt-tightening.

Picture Copyright: zdenkam / 123RF Stock Photo

Antibiotic-itis: all of us have it – can we escape it?

Girl in mask 2
We all eat food, so we all have the problem – over-exposure to antibiotics

Never heard of antibiotic-itis?

Maybe you never will. Concerned medics will probably come up with a “safer” name for it. Less scary – like Chronic Immune System Degeneration or CISD – less to worry about behind anonymous letters.

Whatever they might call it, it exists all right.

World-wide threat

And we’ve all got it. All of us who buy food at the shops, that is. Not the lucky few still living in jungles or out in the wild where food is all natural. The ones never exposed to antibiotics.

Because we are, you see. Bombarded by them every day. Not just in the medicines we take, which is a whole other issue – but in the food we eat that comes from farms. Meat, veg, organic, whatever – imported or locally sourced – they’re all produced with masses of antibiotics to boost fast and super-developed growth.

Right now, world usage of agricultural antibiotics is just under 65,000 tonnes a year if you accept the official figures – but almost five times that if you probe deeper.

A lot of these drugs are added to animal feed to keep them healthy in the crowded mass-producing factory farms where clean conditions and good hygiene are near impossible. At least that’s the accepted line.

The real reason is that antibiotics boost growth by quantum leaps. From chicken’s egg to a 1.5 kg roasting chicken in six weeks. From calf to steak in the butcher’s in eighteen months. Big money.

Your midriff bulge

Want proof?

Check your own waistline. Chances are you’re a bit bulgier than you were a few years ago. You’re bulking up, just like farm livestock does. They eat the antibiotics, you eat them, the same drugs are in your system, doing the same thing – making you fat.

The antibiotics aren’t supposed to be there, of course. Farmers are required by law to withdraw all antibiotics from feedstuffs several weeks before market – and keep records to verify it.

If only it was that easy.

Because it’s a fact of life that cows and other animals only absorb 80 – 90% of the nutrients they eat, including antibiotic residues.  The rest passes out as dung, highly prized and widely used as manure.

Manure of course, gets used for everything – from grain crops, to feedstuffs, vegetables and fruit – including a lot of organic produce. Plus it leaches into the ground and into the water table, which is why tests show up antibiotics even in the stuff that we drink. If they’re right there in the Thames, they’re everywhere, particularly oxytetracycline – used in industrial quantities by agriculture, way more than people flushing unused tablets down the loo.

Oh yes, and antibiotics are also used directly to boost plant growth too – injected, mulched, manured – so even committed vegans among us are getting their daily dose too – though maybe not as heavy as regular mainline omnivores. Plus antibiotics in plant crops are not monitored or regulated by legislation, so there could be any amount in there.

Daily worse and worse

OK, we get the message. Every one of us probably has a three-times daily dose of non-medical antibiotics every day of our lives – and has had since birth.

Yeah well, the flip side of that is that our bodies are 90% bacteria, particularly down in our gut where there are over a 100 trillion of them – handling our digestion, producing proteins and regulating our immune systems, among thousands of other functions.

And antibiotics work by killing bacteria.

Which means not only do we bulk up fast, just like farm animals do – our gut bacteria are being savagely depleted or damaged more and more every day, no longer able to do the many things our bodies require.

The immediate downside is weight gain of course – suddenly we’re unhealthily heavy and long-term there is always a price. It might be type 2 diabetes we wind up with, or cancer, or heart disease, or any number of other slow, progressive and life-threatening ailments.

The slo-mo epidemic

But the universal CAUSE is antibiotic-itis – Chronic Immune System Degeneration.

And a lot more happens than just weight gain. Where else do we suddenly get all these afflictions that we never had before? When was the first-ever outbreak of norovirus – or Norwalk virus as it used to be called? 1972? What ever happened before then?

And how about the slew of allergies we never used to have – asthma, eczema, hay fever, urticaria, coeliac disease, dermatitis, lactose intolerance, nut allergies and a million more – a three-fold increase on where we were back in the 70s?

Our own miracle drugs are slowly killing us, day by day – slightly more of a medical nightmare than the antibiotic-resistant superbugs that doctors are currently worried about.

And way more of an epidemic than any single infection we might currently be being treated for. Diabetes, cancer and heart disease are all long-term illnesses – a disaster happening in slo-mo. The extra inch on our waistlines is just the beginning.

Biggest worry of all is the steadily worsening damage to our immune systems – every day our natural resistance is weaker. We’re on the slippery slope and the last thing we can use to treat it is antibiotics. But we’re not dead yet, and we do have options.

Ways to get out

Watch out for increasing medical interest and focus on bacteriophages – using “good guy” viruses to precisely target and destroy singled-out “bad guy” bacteria WITHOUT KILLING ANY OF THE OTHERS in our gut microbiota. Phage therapy was used widely in the Soviet Union during the dark days of the Cold War – a parallel technology that developed because antibiotics were only available in the West.

Our other defence is hygiene. Ramping up our personal cleanliness so that germs can never touch us, they’re instantly washed away. Hand hygiene is the start of course, washing thoroughly before and after everything, particularly meals and going to the loo.

The follow-up is eliminating germs from our living space – our homes, schools, offices, restaurants, hotels, meeting places, entertainment centres – the indoor places where we always congregate, putting ourselves at risk from each others’ viruses or bacteria.

Total room sterility

Not a problem there either. Now we have the Hypersteriliser, it’s the easiest thing in the world to sterilise any room totally, destroying all viruses and bacteria, on surfaces or in the air down to almost zero – 99.9999% germ-free, a Sterility Assurance Level of Log 6.

Antibiotic-itis? Yeah, we might hear of it. Because round the world we have to persuade farmers to stop using the things – at all. And in between time, eat only organic or non-farmed food.

Then chances are good it will go away before it gets serious.

Otherwise…

Picture Copyright: vonschonertagen / 123RF Stock Photo

Ew, poo! But what if it REVERSES getting fat?

NOt fat any more
Out of the poo – get your gut bacteria right – and get back the body you once had

We’re all different, right? Fat, thin – tall, short – dark, fair – happy, sad – no two of us alike.

Same with how we eat, how we exercise, how we sleep – all of us completely unique.

And with our tummies – always calm, made of cast-iron, upset at the slightest little twitch.

Go with your gut feel

Yeah well, not surprising really. Down in our gut, where most of our personal bacteria liveover a hundred trillion of them and counting – things are about as different as it’s possible to get.

As long as these amazing communities of microbes are in balance, we’re most of us OK, well-adjusted, slim, trim and agile – lots of get-up-and-go and enjoying an active life.

Trouble is, we’re not always in balance. Check out the two thirds of us who are visibly overweight – or with ongoing health problems that we never seem to shift. Those teeming bacteria in our gut are not happy with something or other – and it shows in the way our bodies respond.

Yeah sure, we can change some things – what we eat, how we eat, hit the gym, take pills. None of them really work, do they? Lots of hype and every now and then a minor celebrity makes headlines with a new-look bod. But all smoke and mirrors most of the time – until out of desperation, we try the next one.

Time to get real

Know that expression, “you are what you eat?”

More accurately, we are what our gut bacteria process us into. That’s their job – along with a zillion other things like produce proteins and regulate our immune systems. They call the shots and our bodies respond.

Which means we are what our gut bacteria tell us to eat.

And if they tell us all the time that we’re hungry – that we need to charge up as fast as we can with quick-acting, high energy power foods – that’s what we do. And if they don’t stop telling us, we don’t stop responding. They say emergency, we respond with gorging on burgers and Coke – deliberately loading super-octane fuel like there’s no tomorrow.

But there is no emergency, is there?

Somewhere, something is out of balance – and we pay the price with bodies that are fat and flabby with no energy. Lethargic and listless – because our gut tells not only to cram in the most concentrated power foods we can find, but to cut back on all exercise, conserve energy, save our resources for some impending high-effort threat that never seems to materialise.

It’s like out gut is telling us we’re out in the freezing Arctic wastes – and we each have to pull ten times our own body weight non-stop for a thousand miles in the teeth of a raging blizzard. Exactly the kind of challenge that would need to stoke up on burgers and Coke – for quick-fix power – when actually all we need to do is stroll fifty yards to the bus stop.

Leptin resistance

So what’s up? Why are our bodies having such trouble?HealthAmbition Link

Listen up good. We’re not fat because we have no will power – our appetite is controlled by our gut bacteria anyway, not our brains. We’re fat because of leptin resistance. Leptin is the hormone our bacteria make to shut off our hunger cravings. But something has screwed our gut bacteria so they don’t react to it. The appetite signal remains at full throttle – and the brain says eat, eat, eat – c’mon, get with the programme.

What’s wrong is a whole lot of things, being fat is just one of the signs. Somehow our gut bacteria are not as diverse as they should be – and there aren’t enough of them. Some of our more specialist types – usually it’s the rare ones that affect balance most – just aren’t there.

Medics can check all this by analysing our poo – and see at once that key bacteria are missing, or behaving erratically. By the same token, these “poologists” can also see when the poo of a healthy person is right – that everything is all as it should be – no fat, no flagging stamina, all hunky-dory.

Poo transplants

And here’s a thing. By doing a poo transplant – taking waste gut bacteria from a healthy person and introducing it into the gut of a leptin resistant one – poologists can actually cause the imbalance to reverse, building up missing numbers and starting new colonies of the rare specialist types. FMT it’s called – Faecal Microbiota Transplantation – which in the UK, can be done at the Taymount Clinic or the Somerset FMT Clinic.

It’s getting not to be as yuck as it sounds either. With the latest methods, all the prep work is done in the lab under very hygienic conditions, the necessary bacteria cleansed off and concentrated together in gelatin capsules.  Down the hatch with these tasteless, odourless pills and repopulation begins as soon as they hit the gut.

Alternatively, it can be done at home – though you’ll need to chose your donor well, to be sure of best results.

Either way, you’re doing something positive to correct your gut imbalance – particularly the leptin resistance that’s caused so many of us to balloon to unhealthy levels. Good luck with it, don’t forget everyone has a different metabolism, so results will vary from person to person.

Why we’re all lumps of lard

OK, so what causes our gut imbalance? We’re not all on steroids which certainly can make us bulk up very quickly, hamster face and all. So what is it that we’re all exposed to that makes EVERYONE put on weight? Even the slimmest of us are chubbier than we were five years ago.

You’re not going to like this.

It’s antibiotics – the same miracle life-saving drugs that have made modern medicine so amazing. Yes, in prescriptions for illness, which most of us have had – particularly children these days, which is why so many kids are fat. Administer antibiotics to toddlers before they’re two – and by five they’ll be visibly overweight.

But more than that, we get antibiotics in food – pretty well across the board in everything we eat. Why? Because antibiotics bulk up animals and boost plant growth – and farmers have been using them for more than fifty years.

According to official figures, around the world agriculture uses 65,000 tonnes a year, though governments are cagey about this, given the huge rise in antibiotic resistant superbugs in recent years.  More realistically, China, the world’s largest consumer, puts its own use at about half the world’s total – around 162,000 tonnes.

Remember your twice times? That means 324,000 TONNES A YEAR – enough for a hefty 450 mg dose to every man, woman and child on the entire planet.

And antibiotics do to us exactly what they do to animals – kill bacteria, like they’re designed to. Particularly put our systems out of balance and activate our hunger. So that we’re as ravenous as those factory-farm animals who are dosed every day. They bulk up at four times normal speed – and so do we.

Rescued by poo and hygiene

Ooh, er – so we’re all in the poo.

Well yes, but it could be poo that gets us out of it. Plus of course getting off antibiotics ASAP so we don’t get any fatter. Not easy unless you go organic, or like The Good Life, decide to grow your own.

But coming off antibiotics raises big problems too. No more miracle drugs – we’ve got to bump up our personal hygiene levels way higher to compensate for no more rescue drugs. Wash hands at every turn, keep everything around us meticulously clean.

And with our weakened metabolisms – drip-drip antibiotics in our food have damaged our gut bacteria so much over 50 years that our immune systems are no longer as resilient – we need to make sure our surroundings are as near-sterile as possible too.

Time for all of us to roll out the Hypersterilisers – to sterilise the rooms we live in free from all pathogenic viruses and bacteria. To get us out of the poo and keep us out.

Hoo boy! A crap subject to write about, but somebody’s got to do it.

Keep well, all of you.

Picture Copyright: akz / 123RF Stock Photo