Category Archives: Obesity

Worldwide obesity: the staggering figures – though there IS hope AND help

Special thanks to John Wright of Renew Bariatrics for the inspiration of this article

Pig out in paradise
Yes, we’re obese because we eat too much – but our bodies don’t naturally do that

Our thanks to reader John Wright who recently treated us to an in-depth heads up on the sheer scale of worldwide obesity.

Backed by some fierce number-crunching, John has created a report on Obesity Rankings by Country complete with an interactive map for at-a-glance perspective.

Obesity and antibiotics

His figures reinforce what we’ve been banging on about for ever. That in countries where food production reaches industrial proportions – factory farms and concentrated animal feeding operations – obesity is the highest.

And we’ve been banging on because it’s food production boosted by ANTIBIOTICS. Deliberately added to feedstuffs for their spectacular growth promoting qualities. They make things mature bigger, better, fatter, faster:

  1. To make more money in shorter time – the farmers’ get-rich-quick
  2. To sustain world population increase – tripling from 2½ billion in 1950 to 7½ billion today
World’s most efficient growth boosters

Fatter animals mean fatter us.

Because residual antibiotics are present in everything we eat. If not from the animals, then from vegetables and plants fertilised by their manure. Exactly like them, we get low-dose antibiotics with every mouthful.

And exactly like them, we bulk up.

Without conscious control, our bodies crave energy-dense meals – the quick charge, fill-you-up satisfaction of so-called junk foods. Not actually junk at all, but concentrated nutrition in easy hand-held form.

But food animals don’t live long. They bulk up quick and go to market.

We bulk up quick and keep going. Getting fatter and fatter – and more and more unhealthy.

The obesity downside

Ten years down the line, diabetes, asthma, heart disease, cancer – we have a lot to look forward to.

And the only way out of it – eat less. Go cold turkey.

Stop eating energy-dense meals, or cut down on them. Choose foods that don’t contain antibiotics – almost impossible these days as everything in the supermarket has them.

But if you have the will power, it is possible to slim down. Possible but not easy. Because dieting doesn’t work.

Which comes back to John’s report. Because John’s organisation is all about bariatrics – the surgical way to get weight off. By gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, gastric balloon, duodenal switch or gastric banding .

Expensive, but doable. And increasingly desirable, worldwide.

Not because it makes you look slimmer, but because it could save your life.

Obesity only goes one way. And diabetes, asthma, heart disease and cancer are all killer conditions. Unpleasant and painful.  Slowly taking away self esteem, dignity, agility, mobility, strength, self sufficiency – and after much suffering, life.

Want proof that it’s antibiotics doing all this worldwide?

Smoking gun

Take a look at John’s map again. At the places where obesity is the highest of all. Yes, predictably in advanced countries with mass food production systems – USA, Canada, UK and Australia.

But through the roof in the Pacific paradise islands – Micronesia, the Marshalls, Nauru, Kimbati, Tuvalu, Samoa, Tonga, Niue – and highest of all, the Cook Islands.

All places that not long ago were all subsistence cultures – living off the sea and tropical fruits. But now “developed” – with almost all food entirely imported. Food produced in the mass production countries – and laced through with antibiotics.

A few months back we pointed out that being fat is not natural. That normally healthy bodies know what to eat and how much of it – and to stop when they’ve had enough.

Doughnut link

But antibiotics override all of that. Gimme high powered food now – more, more, more!

Exactly the same as in the Arab countries. Once simple desert cultures – tough people, resilient and stick thin. Now oil-rich and sophisticated, increasingly bloated and fleshy – imported foodstuffs again, antibiotics in everything.

No easy way out

Shouldn’t we stop antibiotics?

Well, yes – we should. They’re starting to fail worldwide anyway – bacteria developing immunity from such massive overuse.

Except what will keep us alive when we’re sick or need surgery?

And what will keep the animals alive that feed us?

For sure, antibiotics push production levels so high they’re the only way to sustain our 3 times population numbers on the same land area as we had 50 years ago.

They also keep those animals alive. Because the living conditions are so intense, crowded and unhygienic, antibiotics are essential  for their very survival.

Take away the antibiotics and the animals all die.

And we die too for nothing to eat.

The only alternative is for us all to eat less. Forcing ourselves to cut down and stay that way –  exactly like addicts coming off mainline drugs.

John’s map represents an alternative worldwide. The bariatric option.

Either way is sacrifice, but time is running out. Already two-thirds of us are overweight or obese and we’re eating ourselves to death.

Thank you John. Now we know it’s time to do something.

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.

Picture Copyright: thesupe87 / 123RF Stock Photo and studioloco / 123RF Stock Photo

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?

Picture Copyright: mihtiander / 123RF Stock Photo and picsfive / 123RF Stock Photo

Worried about blood sugar, obesity & diabetes?

A Layman’s Guide To Blood Sugar Levels

Blood sugar wordcloud
We all have it, but most of us know nothing about it – blood sugar is the life force that keeps us going

This article first appeared on the Vitamonk website It is republished here by kind permission of the author.

What do you know about blood sugar levels?

Depending on your experience, you may associate them with kids who have had way too much candy and are frantically running around the house.

Or, if you suffer from diabetes, you probably think of regularly jabbing yourself with a needle to make sure you don’t need to immediately consume a candy bar.

It can be a confusing topic if you don’t know the terms or what normal levels look like. That’s where we come in. In this article, we’re going to give you the what and why of blood sugar. We’re going to dive into what causes blood sugar levels to get high or low, and what what a normal blood sugar level should look like.

Consider this a layman’s guide. It won’t give you every detail (you really should talk to your doctor), but it will guide you through the major points and help you understand what to keep an eye on. Let’s get started.

What’s The Difference Between Sugar and Glucose?

What comes to mind when you think of sugar? Probably the white granular stuff that you would secretly eat when you were a kid, right? But it’s actually more complicated than that. Sugar is the general name given to sweet carbohydrates that dissolve in water.

There are a number of different types of sugars. Your body most frequently uses glucose. Fructose is found in fruit and lactose is found in milk. When you guzzle a big glass of milk or eat an apple, your body takes the lactose or fructose and converts it to glucose. Once everything is converted to glucose, your body can use it for energy.

Starches, like those found in white bread, are sugars stuck together and are converted by your body into glucose.

So far so good, right?

Now, this is important. When people say “blood sugar”, they mean “blood glucose”. The terms can be used interchangeably.

If you really want to be annoying, you can correct them every time they say, “Blood sugar,” and then proceed to give them the above explanation. You probably won’t have many friends after that.

How Is Blood Sugar Measured?

Now we need to discuss how blood sugar is actually measured. In the United States, blood sugar is measured in terms of milligrams of glucose per decilitre of blood (mg/dl). Why couldn’t they put it on a simple 1 to 10 scale or something like that? Because scientists wouldn’t be able to feel important.

But that’s beside the point.

A milligram is a tiny, miniscule amount, around 0.00018 of a teaspoon. A decilitre is only 3⅓ ounces.

In Canada and the United Kingdom, they measure things on a different scale. Of course they do. In the United States they do everything differently.

Canada and the UK measure blood sugar in terms of millimoles per liter (mmol/L). If you happen to be reading a comment or study from those countries, you can multiply the numbers by 18 to get the American numbers.

So, to recap:

  • In the United States, blood sugar is measured in terms of milligrams per decilitre (mg/dl).
  • In the UK and Canada, blood sugar is measured in millimoles per litre (mmol/L).

Still with me?

What Are Normal Blood Sugar Levels?

Now let’s talk about normal blood sugar/glucose levels.

First, the levels will vary throughout the day. If you’ve been fasting or just woke up, your levels should be under 100 mg/dl.

Before a meal, your levels should be somewhere between 70-99 mg/dl. Two hours after meals, your levels should be less than 140 mg/dl.

(The UK  recommendation for healthy individuals is between 4.0 to 6.0 mmol/L (72 to 108 mg/dL) before meals and up to 7.8 mmol/L (140 mg/dL) 2 hours after meals. For people with diabetes, that changes to 4 to 7 mmol/L for type 1 or type 2 diabetes before meals – and under 9 mmol/L for type 1 diabetes or under 8.5mmol/L for type 2 diabetes after meals.)

To state the obvious, eating increases blood sugar levels. After you eat, your blood sugar levels will be higher than before you ate. Failing to eat causes the levels to fall.

How Does Diabetes Affect Blood Sugar Levels?

To break down sugars and turn them into glucose, your body uses insulin, which is produced by the pancreas. In a person with diabetes, the pancreas either produces too little insulin or none at all. Or, the body is unable to use insulin effectively.

When this happens, blood sugar levels rise and the body is deprived of the energy it normally would receive from glucose.

If you have diabetes, the American Diabetes Association recommends that you keep your blood sugar levels between 80-130 mg/dl before meals and under 180 mg/dl 1-2 hours after meals.

Ideally, you should try to keep your blood sugar levels close to those of a person without diabetes because it will protect your body against the complications often caused by the disease.

But (and this is crucial), you have to carefully measure and monitor your diet to accomplish this. This is possible but it probably means gorging yourself at the local Chinese buffet is out.

What Happens When Blood Sugar Levels Get Too High Or Low?

Is it really a big deal if glucose levels get too high or too low?

Yes. It really is.

If your glucose levels get too high, you’ll start to get inflammation in your blood vessels and nerves. The longer this inflammation goes unchecked, the more damage it causes to the body and the more complications it creates.

Those without diabetes are able to keep their glucose levels in check automatically through the production of insulin. If you have diabetes, however, your pancreas isn’t producing insulin properly, which means glucose levels can quickly get too high or low.

If your blood sugars fall too low, a condition called hypoglycaemia sets in. This can result in dizziness, confusion, and fainting.

The moral of the story? If you have diabetes, you really MUST regularly monitor your blood sugar levels. If they get out of control, it can cause serious damage to your body, or even death.

How Can You Monitor Your Blood Sugar Levels?

Okay, this is where things get a bit annoying for those who have to monitor blood sugar levels.Blood glucose test

One option is to regularly use a fingerstick blood test, which involves pricking yourself with a tiny needle and then using a little strip and a glucose meter to test your blood sugar levels.

If the thought of needles sends you into a sweaty panic, you have the option of a continuous glucose monitor (CGM). A little sensor is inserted under the skin and constantly monitors your blood sugar levels to ensure everything is where it should be.

Neither of those options are particularly fun, but they’re better than the alternative, which is having wildly varying blood sugar levels.

The frequency of testing depends on your circumstances. If you take a fast acting insulin, you’ll want to test regularly. If you take the wrong amount of insulin, your blood sugar can drop too low, which can cause you to get dizzy, confused, or faint.

You don’t want to faint. Especially when driving a car and/or skydiving.

If you have Type 2 diabetes and aren’t taking insulin, it’s up to your doctor on how frequently you will need to test. If you’re trying to keep your blood sugar levels within a tight window, you’ll want to test in a variety of circumstances to see how they affect your body.

For example, test after eating a big meal, after exercising, and after sleeping. Keep records so you can compare these different situations.

If you make any big changes, such as taking a new medicine or beginning a new diet, pay close attention and always tell your doctor.

How Can Diabetes Be Managed?

Thankfully, diabetes isn’t the end of the world. Yes, it may mean you can’t eat an entire box of Milk Duds at the movie theatre, but if you follow a few specific guidelines along with the instructions from your doctor, you’ll be okay.

  • Pay attention to what you eat. Eat well-balanced meals and pay careful attention to how many carbohydrates you consume. Avoid sweetened beverages (sorry soda lovers) and be sure to carefully coordinate your meals and when you take any medications.
  • Ketogenic Diet. Many at risk individuals see great results when doing the ketogenic diet for a few months. (and here are a few ketogenic breakfast recipes for you)
  • Exercise regularly. Consistent physical activity causes your body use insulin more effectively and causes your muscles to use glucose. Talk to your doctor about an exercise plan.
  • Take medication with the help of your doctor. If you can’t manage your levels through diet and exercise, you can take insulin and other medications. Work closely with your doctor to ensure you’re getting the right medicine.
  • Avoid stress when possible. Stress can cause a rise in blood sugar levels and can also make it tougher to stick to your carefully planned diet and exercise routine. If you regularly encounter stress, be sure to learn effective coping techniques.
  • Be careful with alcohol. When your liver is metabolizing alcohol, it can’t counteract falling blood sugar levels. Talk to your doctor to make sure it’s okay for you to drink.
Conclusion

See, that wasn’t so bad, was it? Now you understand blood sugar levels, how to manage them, the consequences of not managing them, and how to manage diabetes.

Yes, it can be a pain to carefully monitor your levels, but it’s important for those with diabetes. Failing to do can create significant long term effects that can seriously damage your body.

Now, go eat that candy bar you’ve been craving. Or don’t. Measure your levels first and do what is best for your body.

Our special thanks to John Hawthorne of Connex Digital Marketing for alerting us to this vital article.

Picture Copyright: lculig / 123RF Stock Photo and jolopes / 123RF Stock Photo

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.

Picture Copyright: nyul / 123RF Stock Photo

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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Being fat is not natural – it’s because we constantly OD on antibiotics

Doughnut girl
Not natural to OD. Those cravings are not natural either – they’re put there by antibiotics

Believe all you like about sugar and junk foods. Our whole lives we OD on the most efficient fat booster ever invented.

It’s antibiotics that make us fat, guaranteed. And we keep taking them every day, with every mouthful, willy-nilly. OD is right.

Huh? Antibiotics?

You bet.

Because farmers found out a long time ago that antibiotics promote growth extra-fast, extra-big. So now they get shovelled into farm animals like there’s no tomorrow.

240,000 tonnes a year at last count.

Not as a medicine – though that helps in the intense but unsanitary factory farms where the animals live.

No, no – as a super-performing fatten-up additive to feedstuff. From an egg to a roasting chicken in 6 weeks. Or from newborn calf to an Aberdeen Angus steak in 14 months.

Our daily OD

And that’s the same stuff we’re eating, with every mouthful we take. Our daily OD.

How come?

Because there’s antibiotics in the meat that those animals provide. And in the manure they produce. 80% of what they eat is excreted as waste – to enrich the soil and provide fertiliser.

So there’s antibiotics in the grass those same animals eat too – and their feed crops. Plus everything else that grown with “natural” fertiliser too. Which means grain crops, vegetables, fruit, salady stuff. Even vegetarians chow down antibiotics. They OD too.

Jackpot for the farmers. A massive problem for the rest of us – literally.

Because it’s overuse of antibiotics in agriculture that’s accelerating lethal superbugs that our medical miracle drugs can’t cure.

And the other headache – antibiotic resistance

If you haven’t heard of antibiotic resistance, you will soon. Because next time you’re ill or have an accident, there’s a strong chance any antibiotics used to keep you alive won’t work. The superbugs are immune – and one after another, our top performing antibiotics are proving useless against them.

Which includes colistin – a drug that medics call an antibiotic of last resort – the one docs use when all else fails.

Colistin is not new. It first hit pharmacy shelves in 1959. And it wasn’t so amazing either – toxic to the kidneys. So it sat around for years, not much used. Which means bacteria had little chance to develop resistance to it.

An old drug, not much used – that made it effective when a whole new crop of antibiotic resistant bacteria pitched up. Take that, you varmint, bang! And people got well.

Being old made it cheap as well. So of course farmers grabbed hold of it as soon as they knew. Right now, today, there’s a ker-chunk, ker-chunk factory in China producing 10,000 TONS OF IT a year.

The 10,000 ton OD

10,000 TONS of our last ditch lifesaver! All going into pigs and chickens – to make bigger, fatter livestock – and bigger, fatter Chinese.

Because our metabolisms are basically no different to animals’. So inevitably we will get fat too, as our gut-bacteria is graunched out of proper balanced operation.

First those antibiotics will boost ghrelin, a bacteria-produced hormone that triggers appetite. Then they choke off leptin, another bacteria-produced hormone that suppresses appetite when we’ve had enough. Ready to OD on food as well as antibiotics.

With nothing to stop us going for second helpings, we climb in without realising. Double ham and eggs, double burger and chips, it happens before we know it.

And just like the animals, our bodies start ABSORBING more than they should – becoming more efficient at extracting nutrients from the food we eat. Except we don’t need that stuff – and we’ve eaten too much anyway.

And THAT’S where the spare tyre comes from – not what we eat, or how much we eat, but what we physically take in. Basically TOO MUCH.

OD antibiotics and OD food.

Not natural at all and a major headache for doctors worldwide. Because one of these days we will wake up and no MEDICAL antibiotics will work at all.

No more heart bypasses, hip operations, C-section childbirths, nothing. You could even die from infection caused by a paper cut. Back to the Dark Ages.

Plus of course, fat becomes obesity – and we’re on the road to diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Oops – which means antibiotics are killing us more than rescuing us.

Time to find alternatives. Herbal remedies if that works for you – or a whole different kind of science.  Our money’s on phages – but that’s a whole other story.

Let’s hope it happens soon. Two thirds of us Brits are now overweight or obese – and a third of our kids.

No more ODs – we’re fed up with being fat.

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No amount of sugar can sweeten the truth – it’s ANTIBIOTICS that make us fat

Plus size girl cutting fat off
We can cut out sugar, starch or all of them – truth is, we’ll still be fat unless we cut out antibiotics

The truth is certainly that we’re all getting fat.

Two thirds of adults are already overweight or obese. So are one third of children.

Our couch potato lifestyle, junk food addiction and sugary drinks are to blame say the experts. We’re bringing this misery on ourselves.

The truth is equally that we never used to be like this. The Swinging England of the Sixties was stick thin by comparison. So were the Seventies, and the Eighties.

People slouched in front of the telly in those days too. And ate junk food. Wimpy hamburgers from Coventry Street in 1954. Pizza Hut from Islington in 1973.

And of course Coke from 1926, starting at Selfridges.

Uh huh.

The disastrous miracle

Looks like there’s more to the truth than meets the eye. Our Mums weren’t fat, so how come we are?  How come if we want to look slim, we have to be Photo-shopped that way?

Because if all the things that are supposed to make us fat were around all those years ago, why are we only ballooning up now? Our current epidemic of fatness only started in the late 90s, so what was different in the 40 years before?

Yes, well those were the days before factory farms were invented to feed the world’s exploding population. 2½ billion back then, versus 7½ billion now. Farmers needed a magic bullet or all of us would starve.

The miracle they chose was antibiotics.

First, antibiotics would keep animals healthy, all crowded together in the Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) needed to supply large numbers.

Second and more amazing, antibiotics would make them grow faster. Bulk up quicker, be ready for market sooner. From egg to roasting chicken in six weeks. From new born calf to Aberdeen Angus steak in 14 months.

Fatter and fatter

Though scientists had known about the growth phenomenon ever since antibiotics were discovered in 1948 – overnight they rocketed to became the ultimate growth booster. Round the world, antibiotics were shovelled into animal feedstuffs like there was no tomorrow.

Today, according to a government report, 240,000 tons of antibiotics a year are used on farms around the world. By 2030, that could nearly double.

An industrial volume so staggering that medics attribute it as the major cause of antibiotic resistance. The rise of superbugs – harmful and often lethal bacteria that have mutated to become immune to treatment by antibiotics.

Officially, antibiotics are therefore banned from animal feedstuffs as a growth booster – certainly throughout the EU. They’re still used to keep animals healthy though. Their daily dose is still administered – but not as food, as medicine.

And in the super-crowded, unhealthy slum conditions of CAFOs, antibiotics are essential to keeping them alive.

Fatter vegetarians too

It doesn’t stop there.

Manure from these animals is used to enrich soil and fertilise plant crops. It’s full of nutrients – and residual antibiotics. Because as part of nature’s life balance, most animals excrete 80% of what they eat – to become a food source for plants and other living things.

Which means animals are still EATING antibiotics anyway. Not added to food, but already in there – grown from the earth in the grass, straw, soya, maize and corn they’re fed.

And that means, you guessed it, they’re laced full of antibiotics when they’re sold and wind up on our supermarket shelves. Food that we will eat, charged with these same super growth boosters – more and more with every meal. Deliberate fat-makers we don’t even know we’re eating.

It’s not just in meat either.

The same animal fertiliser is ingested by plants of all kinds – grain crops, fruit and vegetables , fruit trees, everything. They’re full of antibiotics too.

So is our water. Antibiotics from manure leach into the soil and down to the water table. They’re in our streams and reservoirs, including the Thames.  Every turn of our kitchen taps is another partial dose.

Deliberately fatter, without our permission

And there’s the truth of it. Every meal we eat, every morsel, every bite – contains a residual dose of the most efficient growth booster in human history.

We’re getting fat because our bodies respond just the same way that animals’ do. We crave power foods because our hunger switch is always on. Our bodies never know when they’ve had enough. They even extract more food value than they should, absorbing more nutrients, accelerating the fattening process.

Thanks to antibiotics, we eat too much.

Can’t face the truth? Easier to live with than the mumbo-jumbo we’ve  been sold about diets all these years though, isn’t it? Which, it seems, is not exactly the truth either.

Besides, it means it’s not our fault we’re fat.

We’re the only ones who can fix it though. And it can be done. Simple physics. We’re eating too much, so we all have to eat less.

Not easy. To succeed takes hard work and will power.

And that’s no lie.

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Why aren’t we warned that antibiotics can make us fat?

Doc holding ABX
Not the lifesavers we think they are – they’re why we’re fat, and why we’re going to die in twenty years’ time

We get warned about other issues.

About antibiotic resistance, for instance.

That bacteria are rapidly becoming immune to our cure-all wonder drugs.

That soon doctors will not be able to treat even everyday infections. Superbugs will have won the day and medicine will return to the Dark Ages.

An antibiotic apocalypse

Yes, very true. And it’s right that we’re warned. An “antibiotic apocalypse” as Dame Sally Davies, chief medical officer for England calls it. A threat on par with terrorism and climate change.

She’s not wrong. Except that alarm about antibiotics failure is the big stick medics are using to obtain funding to develop new ones.

Government money, that is. Drug companies won’t finance it themselves – there’s no money in it. Widespread resistance means new drugs must be used as little as possible. They’re kept for emergencies when the older drugs fail.

So the whole business of developing a new drug and bringing it to market as soon as possible no longer has legs. Bacteria can become resistant in as little as six months, and the whole investment is down the tubes.

So the idea is to push the scare tactic.

Shake the government tree for around £890 million of taxpayer’s money. An incentive for some developer to take a gamble on a new product with an unmet need. Basically a bribe.

Not going to happen, is it?

Too public, too obvious, and too fraught with failure.

The 240,000 tonne money maker

Besides, why should a drug company take risks on new products when they’re already making a fortune on the old ones?

No, no, not as medicines. As growth promoters in agriculture. Because since researchers first noticed it in the 1950s, antibiotics have become the most phenomenal growth boosters worldwide.

In the last twenty years particularly, antibiotics in animal feed have reached industrial levels. 240,000 tonnes currently and set to rise another 70% by 2030. Prompting the rise of the factory farm or Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO). Vital support for rocketing world population, which itself has risen threefold to 7½ billion.

Yeah, so new drugs? Forget it. Ker-chunk, ker-chunk factories are working flat out all they can to keep pace with demand for the old ones. Sorry, no time for research, too busy making money. 240,000 tonnes worth of it.

And why weren’t we warned? Because it had nothing to do with us? Has nobody noticed we’re getting fatter?

Yes, they have. And they’re all keeping schtum about why.

Super-duper growth boosters

You see, twenty years is the same time scale in which our horrendous obesity epidemic has reared up. Today, two thirds of adults are either overweight or obese –  so are a third of our kids.

And all of that time we’ve been eating from food sources deliberately laced with antibiotics to boost growth. From egg to roasting chicken in six weeks. From new born calf to Aberdeen Angus steak in 14 months.

On top of which manure from the same animals is used to enrich soil and boost plant growth. So that everything we eat, animal or vegetable, contains residual antibiotics. Every mouthful we take includes traces of the most successful growth booster of all time.

We ourselves are all eating antibiotic fatteners!

Uh huh. So why aren’t we warned?

Why aren’t we told that the reason we’re fat is not junk food, or sugary drinks, or a low exercise lifestyle?

Not natural gluttons

In thousands of years, the human body has regulated itself according to conditions. Wasting away in famine, yes. But seldom ballooning out in times of plenty. And certainly never in an epidemic like we have now.

So why aren’t we warned that just like animals, antibiotics send our food demands into overdrive? That they make appetites insatiable? And that just like animals, antibiotics make our systems absorb too much? Extracting too much nutrition and making too little waste?

We’re not naturally gluttons. Not naturally addicted to high octane, quick energy food and drink – which is what we’re accused of.

But that is what we have become. Our gut bacteria twisted by antibiotics into never being satisfied and always being hungry. Always on the lookout for a quick hit for our induced addiction.

Because pigging out on lettuce leaves will just not crack it. We’re strictly on the mainline stuff. Burgers, chips, kebabs, pizza, ice cream, chocolate, cake – all the good Mary Berry things. And all the no-nos on Jamie Oliver’s list.

Fat and fatter, that’s us.

Yet never once are we warned, despite the evidence on food farms worldwide. Though doctors already know that antibiotic medicines at a young age frequently trigger obesity by four or five.

We get blamed, it’s our fault. And our indulgent lifestyle that’s pushing us further into obesity. To the long-term killer consequences of diabetes, asthma, cancer and heart disease.

Thought antibiotics were lifesavers? We should have been warned. Made aware of a health hazard, just like cigarettes. With big bold death notices on the front of every box.

They might rescue us today – from a chest infection or surviving a heart transplant – if the bacteria don’t become resistant first.

Dead, or dying

But twenty years down the line we get the bill. A bulbous hunk of blubber on intravenous drips and breathing oxygen. Going down for the last time because of something we never knew was happening to us.

We never were – and we aren’t now.

Why aren’t we warned?

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Medics are worried antibiotics don’t work – but if we stop using them, we’ll all starve

Glam surgeon
Antibiotics aren’t working, people are going to die. They make people fat too, which also makes them die. The same with the animals – and if they die, we’ll all starve. But at least we’ll all be thin.

Yes, starve. At least 5 billion of us, two-thirds of the world’s population.

That’s the price tag, if we stop using antibiotics.

Not just in health, but in food production.

Where 240,000 tonnes of antibiotics are fed to livestock every year. To the 19 billion chickens, 1.4 billion cattle, 1 billion pigs and 1 billion sheep that currently feed us.

Which in turn generate the fertile manure to produce wheat, rice and maize – mega-crops that deliver 50% of our plant food energy. As well as the sorghum, millet, potatoes, sweet potatoes, soybean and sugar that provide the next 25 percent.

Antibiotics in everything

Food for us, food for the livestock that feed us – and all laced through with residual antibiotics.

Why?

Because antibiotics are the most efficient agricultural growth boosters ever.

In the 1950s when antibiotics were first discovered, the world population was just 2½ billion. Today – supported by exactly the same land space since the planet hasn’t got any bigger – that figure currently tops 7½ billion.

Only possible by the phenomenal growth-enhancing side effects of antibiotics in animal feedstuffs. Wonder drug medicines for us – boom time jackpot for farmers. From egg to roasting chicken in six weeks. From new born calf to Aberdeen Angus steak in 14 months. Jackpot!

So why would we pull the plug on the miracle that feeds us all so effortlessly?

Because the bacteria-clobbering MEDICAL miracle of antibiotics is fast not working any more. Bacteria have become resistant to them and developed immunity to them. They have become ineffective – and our own chief Medical Officer for England, Dr Dame Sally Davies, says so.

Pan resistant bacteria

As if to emphasise that point, last week the exploding medical hand grenade was the 70-year-old American patient who died of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) – a bug resistant to ALL antibiotics. Pan resistant bacteria are now a reality.

Antibiotics that don’t fight germs? It’s the end of modern medicine. No more heart transplants or hip replacements. Nor births by caesarean section either. Or any one of the thousands of routine operations and treatments impossible without infection protection.

It’s the end of a lot more besides.

What about all those billions of cows and chickens – and the daily dose in their feedstuff?

To breed in numbers like that, they have to live on crowded and disease-prone factory farms. Antibiotics make them grow faster but also keep them well. Essential for survival in Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs)

So yes, farmers will keep shovelling antibiotics at them. With 7½ billion mouths to feed, they can’t afford not to. Antibiotics or starve.

Except that just like with us, antibiotics will start failing for them too. And when one animal dies, the rest will follow in quick succession. A bushfire epidemic ripping through a slum – exactly what a CAFO is.

No more miracles

Which puts us between a rock and a hard place. Antibiotics can’t save our lives any more – and can’t save us from starving either.

Oh, but ironically for maximum misery, antibiotics make us fat too, just like the cows. So we have the rewards of obesity to look forward to as well – diabetes, asthma, cancer heart disease. Not a happy future.

But just maybe, a pretty one. Because antibiotics are so heavily part of our diet through our food, two thirds of Brit adults are already overweight or obese – and so are a third of our kids. So at least if we starve, we won’t go out fat.

For as the glamorous Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor once said “you can’t be too rich or too thin”.

Pass the streptomycin.

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