Category Archives: Antibiotics

Slow motion suicide – always getting closer with every meal you eat

Shocked eaters
Get real – everything you eat makes you fat, not just junk food. And getting fat will kill you – in 10 or 20 years’ time

That’s right, suicide. The act of killing yourself.

Because you can’t beat bacteria, however hard you try.

Like with antibiotics – our life-saving miracle drugs.

They’re made to kill bacteria, sure – but only in the short term.

Stick around a few years, and those all-surviving microbes will be back with immunity. Mutated into superbugs with built-in antibiotic resistance. Get sick with one of those and nothing can save you.

The ultimate survivors

Because, as the oldest surviving life forms on the planet, bacteria always win.

For instance, right back in 1928 Alexander Fleming discovered the first antibiotic, penicillin. Yet just twelve years later, penicillin-resistant staph emerged, in 1940.

It’s been the same ever since.

  • Tetracycline introduced 1950, resistance identified 1959.
  • Erythromycin introduced 1953, resistance identified 1968.
  • Methicillin introduced 1960, resistance identified 1962.
  • Gentamycin introduced 1967, resistance identified 1979.
  • Vancomycin introduced 1972, resistance identified 1988.
  • Ceftazidime introduced 1985, resistance identified 1987.
  • Levofloxacin introduced 1996, resistance identified THE SAME YEAR.
  • Ceftaroline introduced 2010, resistance identified 2011.
Armageddon One

Which is why our top-level medics are going crazy. Because antibiotic resistant superbugs are constantly turning up in our food. We eat the food, and those superbugs are inside our systems.

Sometimes they strike immediately, sometimes they take their time. But all the while, they’re there – and there’s no drug in the medicine cupboard that doctors can use to stop them.

How did it get like this?

Well, amazing as antibiotics are at saving lives – they’re even more amazing at making animals fat. From an egg to a roasting chicken in 6 weeks. From newborn calf to an Aberdeen Angus steak in 14 months.

Which is why farming uses 240,000 TONNES of antibiotics every year.

And how antibiotics get into everything we eat.

Pumped full of antibiotics themselves, the animals are the start of a whole food production nutrition chain. The manure they make is used to fertilise plants and food crops – all natural, so that even includes organics.

The manure leaches into the soil too, so it finds its way into the water table. From there into streams and rivers – into our water supply and irrigation systems – and into the kitchen tap.

So that everything we put in our mouths – food and drink – contains residual doses of antibiotics, deliberately put there to make things grow.

Armageddon Two

Which is what they do to our bodies too – make them grow. Impossible to resist, we’re being fed the greatest growth boosters ever invented.

And exactly as expected, we get fat. Which is why two thirds of British adults are now seriously overweight or obese. Plus one third of our kids.

Which is where the slow motion suicide comes in.

Most diseases and infections happen quickly. Days or weeks to incubate, usually only months to claim their victims.

But obesity is a slow killer.

First the complications from carrying all that weight. Weakened bones, muscular problems, structural failure.

Then respiration issues, gulping for air, heart double-timing for more oxygen, breathing problems and asthma.

Next,  it’s fat secretions around the pancreas. Insulin deficiencies leading to diabetes. Heart disease and cancer inevitably follow.

Slow, slower, slowest…

But not quickly.

All this happens slowly over tens of years. Without our bodies feeling it happen – yet all the while, driven by antibiotics. Eating more than we should, putting on more and more weight. Not even conscious that we’re doing it.

Until one day, hello Size Eighteen and a body that’s 20 stone plus.

And every day, worse and worse.

Often in pain, feeling weaker, less capable- wheezing and waddling our way through the day. Until we collapse on the bed that’s harder and harder to leave. Lapsing into deadly but unwitting suicide, every bit as successful as a .38 calibre bullet.

Miracle life-savers – yeah right.

Without our knowing it, antibiotics are bringing the death sentence to every one of us.

OK, so our doctors are worried about antibiotic resistant superbugs. Hoo-ray.

Meanwhile, our obesity epidemic spreads unchecked. Dismissively put down to junk food and sedentary lifestyles. Fat people are vilified for a condition they did not ask for and cannot control.

So, suicide

And nothing gets done.

Suicide, plain and simple.

I overeat, you overeat, he/she overeats, we overeat, they overeat.

You have been warned.

Picture Copyright: auremar / 123RF Stock Photo

How under-powered disinfectants can actually create superbugs

Pointing to biohazard symbol
Make that disinfectant solution too weak – and you’ll make it antibiotic resistant, sure as anything

Kill germs. Make you safe. It’s what disinfectants are supposed to do.

But only if you let them.

Only if they’re at full strength – and applied for full contact time.

Maximum bleach, flat-out for 30 minutes. Complete exposure.

None of this diluted and sloshed around with a wet rag nonsense.

Resistance in the making

Anything less than full power and there are germ survivors.

Maybe not many of them, but they are the toughies that win through.

Hit them again and they’re less likely to succumb.

They’ve learnt how to resist, mutated to become immune.

Bacteria for instance, have in-built protein pumps that expel toxic substances from their cells. “Efflux pumps” to remove disinfectants AND antibiotics, making bugs drug-resistant.

And how dangerous is that?

OK, so there is a work surface, perhaps for food prep. Wiped down for 30 seconds with a usual 6% bleach solution, everyone thinks it’s disinfected, safe.

Instead, it’s alive with MRSA – methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus.

Already resistant to antibiotics, it easily resists to the under-dose of bleach.

Too weak, not long enough – did you feel a breeze, just then?

Not good enough

So now it’s resistant to bleach too – sodium hypochlorite.

Or maybe chlorhexidine – the preferred disinfectant for instruments. Which in its underpowered state can trigger resistance to colistin – an antibiotic of last resort. As discovered by researchers investigating klebsiella pneumoniae – a superbug capable of causing pneumonia, meningitis and urinary tract infections.

Uh huh. So somebody comes down with MRSA – redness, swelling, pain and high temperature.

They have to be isolated to keep others safe. Quarantined in a separate room. Only handled with gloves, apron and mask for protection.

And OK, the food prep area is suspect – so it’s done again.

More 6% solution – more thorough this time, wiped down and scrubbed for 5 minutes.

Still not enough.

MRSA still in residence – along with a few other bugs it’s passed on its immunity to.

Resistant to bleach and antibiotics too.

Last resort defences breached

Like carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae (CRE) – unlikely in the everyday, but possible in hospital.

Dangerous?

Oh yes.

Carbapenem is the other group of our last-resort antibiotics. The ones to use when all else fails. If they don’t work – and colistin too – the poor patient is up a gumtree. Only clever doctors and the very best care can bring them back.

Meanwhile, that food prep area is still unsafe.

Scrubbed raw, it still contaminated with MRSA.

Still a place for other bacteria to learn how to survive first bleach, then antibiotics.

How antibiotic resisdtance happensAnd now it’s too late.

Flood the place for hours in 100% bleach solution – that MRSA still knows how to overcome it.

However strong the treatment, anything made up on that food prep area will still be contaminated. That MRSA is there for keeps.

Unless of course, you change the rules.

Game changer

After the rub and scrub, mist the place up with ionised hydrogen peroxide (iHP).

Because NO GERM can survive being ripped apart by oxygen atoms. Which is what happens in the 30 seconds that electrostatically-charged iHP particles physically grab hold of bacteria, viruses and fungi, oxidising them to oblivion.

And that’s only a 6% solution too. But ionised to hundreds of times the firepower by becoming a plasma. Releasing other antimicrobials – hydroxyl radicals, reactive oxygen species, reactive nitrogen species, ozone and ultraviolet.

No rub and scrub either – the stuff disperses in actively all directions, forced apart by that same electrostatic charge. Through the air, hard up against all surfaces, deep into cracks and crevices.

Not just disinfecting, but sterilising. Making ALL GERMS dead. 99.9999% gone – to a 6-Log Sterility Assurance Level. No bugs, no superbugs, no nothing.

Under-strength disinfectants – that’s really playing with fire.

There are enough superbugs already resistant to antibiotics. We don’t need any more.

Picture Copyright: michaklootwijk / 123RF Stock Photo and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Listen up G20, antibiotics are already off the rails, start funding alternatives

Doctor derailed
Long-term antibiotics are a train smash – for the sake of global health, it’s time to get the G20 back on track

Let’s hope the G20 can get it right.

Meeting in Berlin, world health ministers have agreed to tackle antibiotics resistance.

They need to do a lot more than that, these miracle wonder drugs are now right off the track.

Yeah, OK – antibiotics resistance. Superbugs immune to everything we throw at them. Caused by over use and abuse of antibiotics – two thirds of all prescriptions are unnecessary.

But tightening up procedures is not likely to achieve anything. Not when 70% of antibiotics are not used on humans at all, but on animals.

Not to make them better, but to fatten them up.

How resistance is created

So sure, there’s over use and abuse – 240,000 tonnes of it every year. The world has 7½  billion people to feed and there’s money to be made doing it.

So never mind that an antibiotic like colistin is held back by doctors as a drug of last resort. There’s a factory in China producing 10,000 tonnes of it a year – to fatten up pigs.

Which means superbug immunity is accelerating all the time. On volumes like that, bacteria have plenty of opportunity to develop resistance. And pass their invulnerability on to others.

And it gets worse.

Not only are bacteria resistant to antibiotics, they’re becoming resistant to antiseptics and disinfectants too. So that doctors and care workers THINK they’ve scrubbed and scoured their hands clean – and they’re still covered in superbugs.

Resistance and fatness

Worse still, the antibiotics fed to animals get into the human food chain. Via residues in meat and in manure used for cultivation. In such volumes, every food type is affected – meat, poultry, fish, fruit, vegetables, cereals, grain.

Every human on earth is daily absorbing micro-doses of the most efficient growth promoter every invented. Like animals, people are getting fat. Clinically obese and on the road to diabetes, asthma, heart disease and cancer.

Result – except in the short term, antibiotics are more dangerous than life-saving. They might prevent infection for a heart transplant or a caesarean birth. But the superbugs they spawn already kill 25,000 people a year in the EU – the same as road accidents.

And with the slow death of obesity, antibiotics will kill many millions more.

Start again

All of which should say to the G20 – stop wasting time and money. Antibiotics have outlasted their usefulness, it’s time to find replacements.

Replacement bacteria-killers to protect life. Replacement hygiene methods to ensure safety. And replacement growth promoters to produce food.

They already exist.

Bacteriophages are viruses that kill bacteria. They can be specifically targeted. And they can be quickly modified, mutating just as bacteria mutate to prevent acquiring resistance.

Ionised hydrogen peroxide misting kills ALL germs, not just bacteria – viruses and fungi too. No hospital need ever again run the risk of pathogens not removed before procedures.

Probiotics and in-feed enzymes have  worked as growth promoters in Sweden and Nordic countries since 1986. Maybe not as spectacularly, but certainly successfully. And food production is a big industry, there’ll be no shortage of funds if finding better methods is in need of funding.

So come on G20, how about it?

Drop all this antibiotic stuff and let’s get back on track.

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Workplace germs never worried us before, why are they so urgent now?

Business germ threat
Not worried about workplace germs? Not if you’ve taken precautions – like sterilising the place every night

The world has changed since we last looked. What worried us then is different to now.

Back then, germs were a fact of life. You caught a cold, you sneezed your way through it. And everyone else caught it too.

Now you catch a cold, you can bring a whole business down.

Heavyweight experts working to a deadline – one of them conks, the whole project goes down the tubes. The whole team off sick, total disaster.

The germs were always there. But with expectations of 100% performance all of the time, that’s rapidly becoming unachievable.

No wonder we’re all worried.

And people assets these days are expensive. They need to be motivated. Constantly persuaded to stay and not join the competition.

The threat we dare not ignore

Which is why bosses spend thousands on workplace wellness programmes. To keep staff sweet and wanting to perform.

With things like flu vaccinations, health and lifestyle coaching, stop smoking programmes, nap rooms, fresh fruit and vegetables, stress reduction programmes, fitness programmes and gym membership, on-site medical clinics, weight loss clinics, therapy and massage, right down to company fitness trackers.

Well, well, well.

Workplace wellness – all about wellbeing.

Nothing about KEEPING staff well and healthy healthy. Or protecting them from stress and health threats. Not the slightest mention of AVOIDING germs.

Yet germs have always been with us – and always will be.

But because we’re expected to perform 100% of the time, nobody would ever dare let a germ slow them down. Not unless it was serious. Doctor, medicine and maybe even hospital. Certainly days off.

Which is unacceptable, and possibly a career threat – would our jobs still be there when we came back?

Unwell at work – more costly than sick leave

So if germs ever strike us, we try to ignore them. Shuffling in to work, feeling like death, determined to go through the motions. “Presenteeism” it’s called – 10 times more costly than regular sick leave.

We grit our teeth and the childhood memories kick in – Nan and Grandad never gave in to colds like this. They had them, sure – but seemed better able to cope. Stronger somehow.

Which indeed they were. More resilient too.

And not because our lifestyles are softer. We don’t have the same immunities that they had. We’re more sensitive. More susceptible to infections as well.

Not that we’re worried about it. We just go to the Doc, get some pills – and hey-ho, it’s off to work we go.

Uh huh.

Those pills.

Antibiotics, right? The magic medicines Nan and Grandad never had. All-round fixer-uppers – we strong-arm the Doc for them for every little ailment. Grow up with them  through all the childhood illnesses. So that by the time they’re twenty, the average teenager has been on antibiotics 17 times.

Which means our bodies have an easier time than our grand-parents’ did. Growing up without the hard fights that they went through. Making us softer, gentler, weaker.

Without all the immunities that they had too.

Atom bombs in our gut

Every time we take antibiotics, our microbiome goes through a major upheaval. Down in our gut are 12 trillion bacteria living in harmony with us – aiding our digestion, creating proteins, managing our immune systems and a thousand other things.

Releasing an antibiotic into that lot is like setting off an atomic bomb. Antibiotics work by killing bacteria – and they do. Taking out the bad guys giving us a hard time – but taking out a lot of the good guys too.

Effective, yes – but not so good at targeting only the right ones. Sure there’s thousands of others to replace the casualties . But often the rarer ones are wiped out completely. And once they’re gone, they’re gone. We recover from our illness, yes – but our bodies never fully return to the way they were.

So that generation to generation, our immunities diminish. The good bacteria that defend us from a particular kind of bad ones just aren’t there any more.

Not really a problem because our lifestyles are so much better than our grand-parents’ were. Better food, better living conditions, better hygiene standards, better medical care.

Except that’s not our only exposure to antibiotics.

Super efficient growth boosters

Because agriculture uses them as growth boosters, they’re in everything we eat as well. Micro-doses in all our meat, fish, vegetables, cereals, grain and fruit.

Which work on our bodies in exactly the same way as the farmers use them for. They fatten us up.

Right there is the greatest overlooked problem of our time. Doctors are worried about our high exposure to antibiotics because bacteria are becoming resistant to them.  More rapidly than they would like, our miracle medicines are no longer making people better.

But they are making them fatter. Fatter and fatter and fatter. It’s staring us right in the face but nobody twigs it. We’re swallowing small amounts of highly efficient growth boosters every day, not realising that’s why two thirds of us are overweight or obese.

And what does obesity do? Sets our not-quite-as-strong-as-our-grandparents’-bodies on the long and very bumpy road to asthma, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. A road on which antibiotics no longer work – our miracle defences are taken away from us.

Which should explain why we ought to be worried about workplace germs.

So many of us herded together in the same space – breathing the same air and touching the same objects. It’s the ideal opportunity to catch each other’s germs and pass them on.

And those germs are there alright. Just as they always have been. In the air and on surfaces we share – touchscreens, keypads, light switches, door handles. Waiting to have a go at our less resilient and increasingly overweight bodies.

The nightly antidote

Yet overnight, those germs can be eliminated. In addition to the usual vacuuming and wipe downs, just follow up by misting with hydrogen peroxide and the whole place is sterilised. Germs are oxidised to nothing, there are simply no illnesses to catch.

OK, so it adds a few hundred to the monthly cleaning bill.

But the thousands saved by not trying to do our jobs tied down by a tummy upset or lingering flu? By not making mistakes or missing vital deadlines? Or infecting our high-powered colleagues on the tight deadline job that MUST be finished on time or the contract falls through the slats?

Yeah, we never worried about workplace germs before.

But we should now.

Unless of course we’re all safe and sterilised.

Then we’re not worried, we’re laughing.

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Stop germs in their tracks – tomorrow’s antibiotics may no longer save you

Hand drowning in pills
Take whatever you like – antibiotics are not working any more – you have to stop germs by yourself

It’s a hard choice if you’re lazy. Stop germs positively, or face the consequences.

Because tomorrow, antibiotics won’t work any more.

So there’s no taking chances.

No more, “I’ll be OK, the Doc can give me something to make it better.”

Because there’ll be no “something”.

The only thing between you and getting ill will be your own clean hands – and how good you are at keeping germs away from you.

Forget antibiotics.

Already bacteria have learned how to resist them. And as the oldest successful living beings on the planet, bacteria always survive.

All our own fault

Plus they’ve learned from our stupidity.

We get ill, we take antibiotics – and stop as soon as we feel better.

Not when the germs are gone – when we feel better.

So there’s a few survivors around to live another day. The strongest and the most resilient. Ready to breed another few thousand generations before next time. And at twenty minutes a generation, they’re ready before we are.

And next time, we use the left-over medicine but it’s not enough. So the bacteria don’t die, they endure. Able to outlast the next lot we throw at them. Becoming superbugs. And teaching others to become superbugs too.

Superbugs, super-dangerous, super problem

Heard of MRSA? That’s methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus. A superbug which lives naturally in your nose – but don’t get it in your bloodstream.

It’s just one of this lot – top of the World Health Organization’s hit-list of super-dangerous bad guys:

Priority 1: CRITICAL

  • Acinetobacter baumannii, carbapenem-resistant
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa, carbapenem-resistant
  • Enterobacteriaceae, carbapenem-resistant, ESBL-producing

Priority 2: HIGH

  • Enterococcus faecium, vancomycin-resistant
  • Staphylococcus aureus, methicillin-resistant, vancomycin-intermediate and resistant
  • Helicobacter pylori, clarithromycin-resistant
  • Campylobacter spp., fluoroquinolone-resistant
  • Salmonellae, fluoroquinolone-resistant
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae, cephalosporin-resistant, fluoroquinolone-resistant

Priority 3: MEDIUM

  • Streptococcus pneumoniae, penicillin-non-susceptible
  • Haemophilus influenzae, ampicillin-resistant
  • Shigella spp., fluoroquinolone-resistant

Yeah?

You go to hospital with any of those, you might not come out again.

The drugs don’t work

Because the days of taking a cure are past – our miracle antibiotics do zip. And that’s not us saying so, it’s our top Chief Medical Officer of England, Dr Dame Sally Davies – in her book The Drugs Don’t Work – and in just about every public statement since she wrote it.

No more you get sick, you take the medicine.

Now you mustn’t get sick. Period.

If you want to live, you’ve got to be hygienic like never before. Wash your hands whenever you do anything – before and after. Keep your surroundings clean as a whistle.

And make a deliberate effort to stop germs – avoid them, prevent them, eliminate them.

Not just some of the time, but all of the time.

Because bacteria never give up – and they know we’re careless.

Of course we are, we’re roughly half bacteria ourselves. 39 trillion bacteria and 30 trillion human cells.

Which means we’ve got to stop the wrong ones getting to us and taking us down.

Hype up the hygiene

Not something you can do with a scrubbing brush and bleach. Not even lathered in carbolic every second of the day. You can’t get to all the places microscopic germs can hide – and you can’t scrub the air, which is 80% of our indoor living space.

Remember, there’s nothing between you and a noxious infection except prevention.

Which makes misting our surroundings sterile with hydrogen peroxide our best defence yet since the collapse of antibiotics.

It’s safe and non-toxic – though a little irritant to eyes and throat. And it kills ALL bacteria, viruses and fungi to a 6-Log Sterility Assurance Level  in 40 minutes or less, depending on room size.

Stop germs at work – and your colleagues are safe from each other and whatever is going around. Healthy and well, not fighting colds or tummy upsets – making money, getting on with the job.

Stop germs at school – and your kids are safe from all the bugs inevitably gathered where slap-happy hygiene puts them at risk. Did you ever know a 6-year-old who voluntarily remembered to wash their hands?

Stop germs at home – and your family is safe in the one place where they should be, a haven from outside against weather, worries and sickness.

Stop germs and live

OK, so antibiotics don’t work any more – or may not within the next few years. We have a defence and it’s highly effective – to avoid getting sick in the first place.

And there’s only one way to do that.

Stop germs.

Picture Copyright: anyka / 123RF Stock Photo

What if we could sue the people who make us fat?

Red card girl
It’s not your fault you’re fat, but there’s plenty you can blame

We’re not naturally fat. None of us are.

Either we have a medical condition. Or something makes us that way.

Basically eating too much. And our bodies absorbing it without need.

Except nobody is fat by choice. Going for the most fattening foods and scoffing double helpings.

Mind-controlled gluttons

Most of the time, we’re not even aware of it. Unconsciously chowing down more than we should.

Not knowingly, or of our own free will. Just driven by our bodies.

So what makes our bodies demand more than they should?

The hunger feeling is real and won’t go away – yet we’ve already had enough to satisfy us.

It’s like we’re being fattened up. Like turkeys before Christmas, fattening up for market.

There is a difference.

We’re just eating – or at least think we are.

But turkeys are deliberately dosed with growth boosters along with their feed. The same growth boosters fed to all commercial livestock – chickens, cattle, pigs, sheep, even fish. Stepped up and more concentrated over the  last twenty years. But used by livestock farmers worldwide since the early 50s.

They’re all bulked up by regular micro-doses of antibiotics.

Which means so are we. And our daily exposure to antibiotics is total – the most successful growth boosters of all time.

The real Hunger Games

Drip-drip, the ghrelin hormone that switches on our hunger is super-stimulated, permanently set to ON. At the same time, the OFF hormone leptin is over-ridden, so we never know when we’ve had enough.

On top of that, the accelerated digestion in our gut works more efficiently, extracting more nutrients than our systems are able to process, storing the excess as fat. We still excrete the extra nutrients we don’t need, but retain far more than we should.

The cows and pigs and chickens do the same. Pooing out around 80% of the food value they eat – along with traces of all the vitamin additives and medicines in their systems, including antibiotics.

Their poo becomes manure, used directly or indirectly as fertiliser to enrich the soil and stimulate plant growth. Cereal crops, grain, fruit and vegetables are all accelerated in the same way. So there’s antibiotics in them too.

As there is in the grass, mown hay and feedstuff crops fed BACK to the same animals – more antibiotics micro-doses to quicken their systems and bulk them up faster.

Which means continuous micro-doses of antibiotics in all of our own food – meat and vegetables – the most successful growth booster of al time. Constantly ingested by our bodies with every meal we eat.

Fattening up like turkeys? That’s exactly what we are.

External influences changing our bodies without our knowledge – and certainly without our permission.

The blame game

So who should we sue for being fattened against our will?

The farmers? The antibiotics manufacturing companies?

Possibly, though they’re only doing their job.  Our personal concerns are not even on their radar.

They are to our health authorities though – and they’re hardly unaware of the problem.

Not a day goes by without somebody from Public Health England or DEFRA or the Food Standards Agency voicing alarm about antibiotic resistance.

Our miracle drugs aren’t performing as well as they did because superbug bacteria are becoming immune to them. They’re learning resistance through overuse and abuse of antibiotics across the board.

Over-prescribed by doctors and used in industrial quantities by agriculture. 240,000 tonnes a year worldwide – accelerating to nearly another 70% by 2030.

Which says, yes – our health authorities KNOW about antibiotics used as growth boosters. But their focus is on the medical implications of antibiotic resistance.

Cue much hand wringing and corporate crocodile tears.

Our health authorities also KNOW we have a fat problem. From their own statistics they alert us to a growing epidemic – that two thirds of British adults are already overweight or obese, as well as one third of children.

Insider information

They also KNOW the implications of obesity. The long, slow slide towards asthma, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Snowballing costs for the NHS accounting for 30 million deaths currently – versus just 700,000 for antibiotic resistance.

30 million deaths – half the population of the country – isn’t anybody minding the store?

And they know it’s a problem. Our Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies herself, warns that obesity is a threat as serious as terrorism.

Nice try, but not even close. According to the Global Terrorism Database, only 90 people died in terrorist attacks between 2000 and 2015.

Stack that up against the 30 million likely to die from obesity they are carrying right now.

Which gives us a lot of leeway, deciding who’s answerable.

Because though it never occurs to us, a lot of people know that antibiotics make us fat. And they can’t evade that responsibility, just like the tobacco industry can’t claim smoking is not a health risk.

Truth avoidance

The truth is that antibiotics make us fat.

Health authorities know, government knows, drug companies know and farmers know.

Just possibly supermarkets know and fast food chains as well. It’s the fashion now to claim foods are antibiotics-free.

As if.

One thing’s for certain though. We’re off the hook blaming ourselves for being fat.

We might be oversize, but this is a blame game we’re not playing.

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If sugar makes us fat, why DOESN’T it get used to bulk up farm animals?

Sugar lust
Take it from the billions of animals who know. Sugar is under-powered – to get really fat, you need antibiotics

Not good enough is why. Doesn’t do the job. If you want to bulk up proper, use antibiotics.

That’s what farmers do. Micro-doses of antibiotics in the feed – the most powerful growth boosters ever invented. To make animals WANT to eat more. And to make them absorb more food value than they normally do – which is  how they put on weight.

Super-duper growth boosters

Works great with cattle, sheep, pigs, chickens, even fish. From egg to a roasting chicken in 6 weeks. From newborn calf to an Aberdeen Angus steak in 14 months.

Overnight maturity. Instant obesity.

The same with plants. Faster seeding, stronger shooting, quicker yielding. From antibiotics applied directly, or absorbed from the soil in animal manure.

Oh sure, sugar has an effect – but mild alongside antibiotics. Feeble. The farmers’ secret to fast fat for at least the last fifty years. Exploding to industrial levels  in the last twenty – with the introduction of factory farms or Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs).

Exactly when our current obesity epidemic got started. Two thirds of British adults now overweight or obese – and one third of children too.

But not from sugar. Fifty years ago we had sugary Coke and junk-food pizza, just like we have now – and people didn’t get fat. Now they do. From the same antibiotics that the animals get fed.

How does that work?

All in the poo

That’s the messy part. Very ewey.

You see, animals don’t absorb all the food that they eat. Around 80% is pooed out again as waste, nature’s way of providing on-going fertility to plants and smaller animals like birds and insects. And not just nutrients either, but residual amounts of those antibiotics.

Some of it falls on the grass in animal grazing areas, to enrich the soil and promote healthy growth. The animals eat it, re-ingesting those same antibiotics all over again. Or they eat cereal straw and grass dried after cutting – or silage made from cereal crops like maize and wheat.

Again, grown with fertile manure from those same animals. And again with residual amounts of antibiotics – exactly like the micro-doses added to their feed in the first place.

So even if antibiotics are withdrawn from their food because they’re getting ready for market, they’re still getting their daily hit. Still with their appetites turned full throttle.

Our daily dose

And still with antibiotics in their bodies. Which become the beef, lamb, pork and poultry offerings on our supermarket shelves – ready for us to eat, antibiotics and all.

With the same effect of making US want to eat more than we usually do – and absorbing more nutrients than normal. What works for the animals works for us, so WE get fat too.

Fatter and fatter. Because we don’t go to market at an early age – we’re here for the long haul. So we pile on the pounds – meal after meal, day after day without realising it. Until suddenly we look in the mirror and we’re a hulking Size 20.

Yes, sugar has a bearing on it. We eat too much of it, of course we bulk up. Two two-litre Cokes instead of the 350ml bottle our grand-folks chugged. Double burger with extra fries – and muddy Mississippis to follow.

Too much food altogether, that’s why we get fat.

But sugar’s not the cause. Not everyone who puts two spoonfuls in their tea is a porker. Nor is everyone who chows a Mars bar dangerously overweight.

The info that we’re over the top doesn’t reach the brain because the bacteria in our gut mix up the signals. We over-eat without realising it – until reality hits us in the mirror.

So putting a tax on sugar is not exactly going to help. It’s treating symptoms, not cause.

Yes, we eat too much sugar. And too much bread, and too many chips, and too much cheese, and too many eggs, and too much jam, and too much cake, and too much ice cream, and too much curry and rice.

It’s not the sugar that’s the problem. It’s the too much.

And the only way to stop it, is to stop us getting these micro-doses of antibiotics in everything we eat. Meat, vegetables, fruit, dairy – even water. Everything is laced with them – right through the whole food production chain.

With more coming all the time. 240,000 tonnes of antibiotics currently get used worldwide in agriculture – with totals set to hike nearly 70% by 2030.

Which means it’s not sugar we have to tax, it’s antibiotics.

Not exactly wise – because without them, world food production would stall completely.

From eating and absorbing too much, billions of people would starve and wither. And there would be nobody to eat the sugar anyway.

Ever get the feeling our “experts” don’t know what they’re talking about?

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Antibiotic resistant superbugs: back to basics now Plan B no longer saves lives

Space scrubber
The heck with Plan B – without antibiotics, it’s back to the future to survive germs

Once upon a time there was no such thing as antibiotics. No Plan B.

No superbugs to catch if they were resistant. People survived by living clean and healthy.

What kept us alive back then was clean water supplies, good sewerage, proper waste removal and high personal hygiene.

Kids went to school, washed and polished, hands and faces bright from brushing. All water was boiled. And washing got done the hard way – by hours of rubbing and scrubbing.

It worked too. People knew that living clean kept them safe from germs. Dirt made you sick.

Then antibiotics came along and people started taking chances. Dirt might make you sick, but antibiotics made you well again. Doctors could perform miracles without risk of infection. To infinity, and beyond.

Our great hygiene leap – backwards

Fifty years later, our water systems are older. Make that ancient – they were 100 years old in the first place. Pipes have rusted, other stuff has seeped in, leaks enough to fill 1,235 Olympic swimming pools a day flood our streets.

Our waste problems are even worse. For instance, in 2013 and 2014, 1.4 BILLION TONS of raw sewage were pumped into the Thames, far more than before our sewer system was even invented.

In the meantime, we’ve also become careless.

A little dirt in our lives? No problem, antibiotics will make us better when we get sick – wonder lifesavers for everything, so we gobble them down like sweets. And today we get away with chances our grandparents would never have dreamed of.

Except that germs no longer want to play that game. After 50 years of misuse and abuse, they learned how to survive antibiotics. To become immune. To stay alive, no matter what we chuck at them, resistant even to our last-resort triple-whammy specials.

Last resort drugs failure

Today, when all else fails, doctors fall back on two hard-core antibiotics they keep in the back of the cupboard. Carbapenems (actually a whole spectrum of antibacterials) and colistin. Our antibiotics Plan B.

Now here’s the bad news.

Carbapenems are already compromised by the emergence of a superbug more potent than existing villains like MRSA (methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus). Known as carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae (CRE), around 50% of people who get it into their bloodstream die.

Very much the second choice because of its kidney-damaging side-effect, colistin is not much better. Chinese researchers first found a strain of escherichia coli resistant to it in 2013.  Not surprising, since down the road is a factory producing 10,000 tons of it a year – as a growth promoter for pigs and poultry.

So that’s it for Plan B, then. What now?

Our horrible hygiene habits

Back to basics, of course. It worked for our ancestors, it can work for us too.

And keep us alive.

Amazing what you can do with soap and water, isn’t it?

Which we certainly need to climb into. There’s three times more of us on the planet than there was back then. Which means three times more germs, because we’re all made of bacteria anyway.  Plus the personal germ clouds each of us carries around with us. And three times more  sewage – 11 million tons A DAY in London alone.

That’s a lot of germs, all milling around waiting to infect us. Waiting for us to get careless.

Which we seriously do, because we can’t see germs. They’re too small.

So we look at our hands and we reckon they’re clean.

As if.

Meanwhile, our reality check is that:

Since we’re that dirty, our workplaces are not so clean either. All those things that never get cleaned – light switches, door handles, touch screens and keypads. Not forgetting our desks of course, with 10 million germs on average, just waiting to have a go at us.

Wash your hands – or else

Puts a new perspective on why we’re always coming down with colds and tummy bugs, doesn’t it? We’re lucky it’s not something more serious. Which, with something like sepsis and NO ANTIBIOTICS THAT WORK, it could easily be. A simple paper cut could be the infection that kills us.

Which is why we should be getting rid of the germs around us too – in the workplace, in restaurants and public buildings, in schools – even on public transport.

You leave home healthy, your hand grabs banisters, strap handles, escalator railings and door knobs.  Then you pick up the office phone, which hasn’t been wiped since it was installed five years ago – and wonder where the tummy cramps came from that night.

So, get rid of the germs if we want to survive. Make it part of the daily cleaning routine so the place is always safe first thing in the morning. All it takes is a dose of ionised hydrogen peroxide every night and the place is sterile.

OK, so if antibiotics aren’t working, there are options besides Plan B.

Ramp up the hygiene and it’s back to the future – saving our own lives.

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Do our health authorities actually realise the deep manure that antibiotics put them in?

Surgical team
Oh, oh, the brown mire’s already hit the fan – and billions of us are going to need treatment

They already know we’re in trouble.

Everybody from England’s Chief Medical Officer on down is seriously worried about antibiotics.

“A ticking time-bomb threat that ranks with terrorism,” says Dr Dame Sally Davies.  “The drugs don’t work, so we’re back to wash our hands or die.”

Antimicrobial resistance – just for starters

Serious, yes, because she’s talking about antimicrobial resistance (AMR). One by one, savvy bacteria have developed immunity to our miracle life-savers. Modern medicine is at the brink of a new Dark Age. No more heart transplants, hip replacements, or even C-section births.

So doctors are scared, but not poop scared.

But they should be.

Because all of them – the government, Public Health England, the General Medical Council, the NHS, everybody –  they’re already in deep poo, and don’t even know it.

Sure AMR is serious. But alongside other concerns with antibiotics, it’s only the beginning.

The age of the fatties

Like obesity, for instance. The elephant in the room that doctors don’t want to acknowledge.  A runaway epidemic that already affects two thirds of British adults – and a third of British children.

Dame Sally puts that on a par with terrorism too – though it’s actually worse. Obesity that leads to diabetes, heart disease and cancer – around 30 million deaths and accelerating like crazy.

Yes, fuelled by sugary drinks, junk food and a couch potato lifestyle. But not triggered by them.

Our current slo-mo tsunami of accelerating obesity is from antibiotics in the FOOD we eat. Micro-doses in everything we put in our mouths – meat, vegetables, milk, water.

How come?

Down on the (factory) farm

Because micro-doses of antibiotics are exactly what farmers feed their animals to bulk them up and make them grow quicker. To obese-ify them.

They’re not supposed to, of course. Overuse of antibiotics by agriculture is a major cause of antibiotic resistance. And farmers use 240,000 tons of them worldwide every year.

Which is why antibiotic growth promoters are banned in the UK and EU – to prevent AMR from getting worse.

Fat hope.

And we can thank antibiotics for that too.

At the end of World War II there were only 2½ billion of us on this planet. Today we are 7½ billion. Antibiotics lowered the death rate so more of us could survive. No longer just the fittest – but also the weak, those rescued from disease and infection. Another 5 billion of us.

Which is why farmers NEED antibiotics. To produce enough food to sustain us in such numbers. Except the planet hasn’t got any bigger, there’s no new land they can use for farming. So the only way to go is industrial.

Enter the CAFO – Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations or factory farms. Thousands of animals, concentrated in every available space. So many of them on top of each other that antibiotics are essential for keeping them alive.

Antibiotics not as growth promoters, note – that’s illegal. Strictly therapeutic. Ultra necessary in the close and unsanitary slum conditions these poor animals have to live in.

Antibiotics everywhere

The effect is the same though. Antibiotics fed to animals every day in regular doses. All above board and within the law. With exactly the same obese-ifying effect.

So we eat them and we get fat too – from the residual antibiotics in their bodies?

You got it.

Although actually, farmers are supposed to withdraw antibiotics from feedstuff up to a month or more before slaughter. And keep strict records that they’ve done it. To ensure no antibiotics get into our own food chain.

Except they can’t always do that, can they? Their animals might die.

So there ARE actually maximum residue limits (MRLs) of antibiotics in our food – tiny doses of course. But it’s tiny doses that get fed to animals to obese-ify them in the first place.

All of which is before the REAL poo happens.

You see, it’s a fact of life that animals do not absorb everything they eat. Around 80% of it is excreted as waste. Which is how come manure has high nutritional value – it’s full of unused food.

S*** happens

So here we are – up to our necks in manure.

Because manure is used to grow crops of all kinds – including feedstuffs for livestock. So even though animals might not be dosed with antibiotics along with their food, they’re getting them anyway – from the grass, hay, maize, soya or whatever it is they’re being fed.

Better include fruit and vegetables too – and everything else.  The entire food spectrum we get in our local supermarket.

So that whatever we eat contains antibiotics. In exactly the micro-doses needed to obese-ify us like the animals – whose metabolisms are nearly the same as ours anyway.

Plus of course, manure leaches into the soil and into the water table – eventually into our streams and rivers. Swig a glass of water out of the Thames and it’s also full of antibiotics.

Oh, you want to get rid of the antibiotics before you eat them? Aside from any cooking you might do, you have to boil everything for at least 30 – 60 minutes. Though what your cauliflower cheese will taste like after an hour on the gas flat-out is anybody’s guess.

All of which means that our obesity epidemic is going to snowball – not go away. And that’s on top of the AMR superbug casualties we’re already taking. Millions of us face a long slow death thanks to illnesses brought on by antibiotics.

Dark Ages 2.0

OK, so suppose we get tough and ban antibiotics altogether?

Straight away we get Dame Sally’s Dark Ages. Forget to wash your hands and you could die from a paper cut.

But how are farmers going to sustain enough production to feed 7½ billion people without the power boost of antibiotics? No more factory farms, no more mass production.

Looks like medics will have to add malnutrition and starvation to the presenting symptoms they have to deal with.

Up to their necks in the brown stuff.

Us too.

So when Dame Sally says wash your hands, we’d all better listen. Our only defence with antibiotics gone.

Soap and water. More than at any time ever in our history, our lives depend on it.

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Shrink sweet sizes? Really? When ALL other foods already contain super-fattening drugs?

Woman with rolling pin
Lay off the sugar if you like – but those super-fattening drugs are in everything else you eat

Public Health England might want to rethink this one. Because shrinking sweet sizes to cut obesity will most likely achieve nothing.

Nothing except irate sweet eaters who eat double to compensate.

Oh sure, the sugar in sweets DOES contribute to making us all fatter.

But one Snickers bar a week is not exactly going to blow us up like an elephant.

It takes several a day – on top of pigging out on everything else – to do that.

Gorging ourselves stupid. Eating too much – of everything. Absorbing too much for our bodies to take, so they bulk up.

Exactly what farmers do to get animals ready for market. As quickly as possible – money, money, money.

Gut bacteria on the fritz

Which is why they feed them drugs to fatten them up. Deliberately obese-ifying them. From an egg to a roasting chicken in 6 weeks. From newborn calf to an Aberdeen Angus steak in 14 months.

And the drugs they use are antibiotics. Added to feedstuffs in small doses. Just right to tip animals’ gut bacteria into always wanting food. Becoming more efficient at extracting nutrients from it too. The proven way to bulk up fast.

Proven, right?

Because aren’t drugs frequently tested on animals before they’re let loose on humans? To see if they work properly – or head off any Frankenstein side-effects?

Yes, well. Farmers worldwide have proved the case well and truly – and do so every day.  As they have done since antibiotics were discovered 50 years ago. Today they’re using 240,000 tonnes of the stuff a year.

Which is how they produce the 19 billion chickens, 1.4 billion cattle, 1 billion pigs and 1 billion sheep that keep us fed.

And how they pushed food production to feed us all. From the 2½ billion people we were 50 years ago – to the7½ billion we are today. All off exactly the same available land.

Get the picture? The planet isn’t any bigger since back then – what’s different is the antibiotics.

So yes, proven. Antibiotics obese-ify animals, which means they obese-ify us too. The world’s most efficient super-fattening growth boosters. Which is how come today two thirds of us are porkers.

Proven super-fatteners

Proven beyond doubt.

Which sort of says that cutting sweet sizes down by a fifth isn’t exactly going to crack it. People will get fat anyway, from the other stuff that they eat. Fat and getting fatter, even if they’ve never chomped a Snickers.

Now of course, the powers that be will tell you this isn’t possible. That there aren’t any antibiotics in the foods we eat. Farmers feed them to their animals, yes – but doses are withdrawn weeks before market and all meat is antibiotics-free.

If only. Because to feed 7½ billion people requires factory farm methods to sustain enough food supply.

CAFOs these farms are called – Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations. Animals crowded into intensive growing areas – so much on top of each other that antibiotics are necessary just to help them survive.

OK, so health authorities know this. And they’re concerned too, for the effect any antibiotics in the meat might have on humans. Specifically carcinogenic, toxic or allergenic effects.

Antimicrobal resistance & MRLs

And of course superbugs. Harmful bacteria that have become immune to antibiotics and cannot be treated. Top of the list being carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae (CRE), neisseria gonorrhoeae, clostridium difficile, multi drug-resistant acinetobacter – and the only one most of us have heard of – methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

All of which raise the scary reality that modern medicine is back to the Dark Ages. Soon heart bypass surgery, C-section births and hip replacements will no longer possible because the drugs won’t work against infection.

That said, there’s still antibiotics in our food. Because while levels are reduced to make it safe for us to eat, they’re not removed entirely. Trace residues are still allowed as long as they conform to legal Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs).

Still there in our food, but only in little bits.

Precisely the way antibiotics are administered to livestock to obese-ify them.

And precisely the way we ingest them when we eat animal meat. Little drip-drip doses, just enough to tip our gut bacteria out of balance and our appetites jammed on full throttle.

If only it stopped there.

Universally obese

You see, most animals only absorb 20% of the food value that they eat. The rest is excreted as waste – Nature’s way of providing nutrients to enrich the soil and promote plant life.

Manure and fertiliser for plant crops. Vital at today’s population volumes. So that antibiotics-laden enrichment finds its way into everything else that we eat. Grains crops, cereals, vegetables, fruit – often in higher concentrations than with animal meat.

And not monitored either because nobody twigs there’s antibiotics in their food source.

It’s also how antibiotics in animal meat sneak back – in higher volumes than regulations allow.

Not all meat is monitored and tested, the logistics are impossible. Any checks are intermittent and random.

Meanwhile, the calf that’s eating grass or feed from sugar beet is still chowing down its daily dose of antibiotics. Grown back into its food by the very manure it pooed out in the first place.

And in water too, because the stuff seeps down into the water table, to be carried in streams to our river system. So when our drinking water comes from the Thames, it quite probably has antibiotics in it.

Sugar tax or sugar hoax?

Harsh reality, huh?

And we haven’t had a Snickers or a Coke since the start of this page – yet already we’re full of antibiotics making us fatter.

Not good, PSE. Not good at all. And there’s a sugar craving coming on.

Better watch the Great British Bake Off.

We can’t eat sweets, so we’ll have to get our hit some other way.

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