Lots of people eat a burger. And don’t get fat doing it.
They chow them down with enjoyment, and stay exactly the same size.
But burgers are bad for you, the nagging nannies insist. All that fat, all those carbohydrates.
Except lucky not-fat people aren’t impressed. And burgers aren’t so evil either.
A few burger facts
A straight McDonalds cheeseburger is 15 grams of protein, 12 grams of fat and 2 grams of fibre – 300 calories all up.
Stack that up alongside a good healthy Sunday roast with all the trimmings – Yorkshire pudding, potatoes, vegetables, gravy and stuffing – and the energy value comes in at around 565 calories.
Cross the road to Jamie’s posh Italian place and his designer burger on a toasted brioche bun with caramelised onions, crispy pancetta, Westcombe cheddar and totally decadent sauce weighs in at 1,387 calories – 2½ times the oomph of the roast – and 4½ times more than McDonalds!
Lots of people eat Jamie’s burgers too, and don’t get fat. They know when they’ve had enough and they’re satisfied.
Enough is enough
And that’s the secret. Stop eating when you’ve had enough, and extra inches don’t happen.
Your body tells you anyway. Starts feeling bloated and uncomfortable. Puts you off eating anything else until you’re back to normal.
But it’s not the same for fat people.
They don’t feel satisfied, so they keep going
Their bodies don’t tell them when they should stop
They wind up eating more than they need
Three personal disasters that normal, healthy bodies just don’t experience.
Which means something’s out of kilter. Somewhere, something’s wrong with their appetite control.
Appetite gone bananas
Because normal people just CAN’T overeat the way that fat people do.
Think back to the festive season only a few weeks ago. Try as we could, there was never any space for that extra helping of turkey or another piece of Christmas pud.
Which means it’s not burgers that are unhealthy – if they were, we’d ALL be dying like flies.
Except we’re not.
The unhealthy element is those poor overweight people – rapidly including the rest of us – who have a condition that’s doing them down. Only a few are gluttons, deliberately gobbling more than they should. The rest of us, like it or not, have a compulsive eating disorder that pushes us over the top.
And being fat is not nice.
On our way to fat
We try to control it and hate the way we look. We hate the way we feel too. The breathlessness and lack of strength, the constant strain of carrying all that weight around. Three stone overweight is like lumping a whole holiday suitcase everywhere.
As more and more of us are starting to know. Because right now two-thirds of UK adults and one-third of our kids are all overweight or obese – our numbers nudging steadily upwards over the last twenty years.
Told you so! say the nannies, threatening kale and pak choi. Something is definitely wrong.
Wrong, yes. And our medical experts do nothing about it.
Lots of wagging fingers and lectures about diet though. All that high energy food we eat, our couch-potato lifestyle and never any exercise, no wonder we’re all packing it on. We need discipline and control. And penalties for the error of our ways – fees for NHS treatment and deductions off our wages.
Medical fat shamers
J’accuse. One finger pointing, three fingers pointing back.
Because it’s not unhealthy eating that’s making us fat. Burgers don’t contain poison or noxious substances. We just eat too much of a good thing. Too much need-it-now, quick-satisfying, hunger-busting, high-energy food because we’re always famished. Eat, eat and overeat.
Because something in our bodies causes us to. Over-riding our natural balances and forcing us to overindulge. And it’s been getting worse over the last twenty years.
Out in the fat farms
Visit any of our Twenty-First Century factory mega-farms and you’ll see why. There are at least 800 of them out there, classified as intensive production units by the Environment Agency – shorthand for farms with more than 40,000 birds, 2,000 pigs or 750 breeding sows. All kept alive in crowded, severely challenged hygiene conditions by regular doses of antibiotics – at least that’s how the use of such drugs is justified.
Reality comes from the amazing side effect that antibiotics have – and which Big Agriculture has been steadily cashing in on for the last fifty years – snowballing in the last twenty.
Antibiotics make animals grow faster, fatter, bigger.
And guess what?
We’re animals too.
We feed them, they feed us – and we’re all part of an antibiotic ingestion chain, regularly eating drip-drip doses of the most efficient growth boosters ever discovered.
And we wonder why we’re getting fat!
Truth is, via today’s supermarkets we get these growth boosters across the whole spectrum of things we eat. They’re in our meat, poultry and fish. And in our vegetables too – because manure from dosed animals is used to enhance plant crops – and leaches down into the water table, out to our streams and rivers.
Which means vegetarian nannies watch out! There are antibiotics in your pak choi too – ever noticed you’ve started nibbling two leaves instead of one?
Because either we get off antibiotics now, or we’ll all be fat and looking down the slippery slope to obesity, asthma, heart disease, cancer and a long, slow exit.
It’s not going to happen, is it? Too much inertia, too many vested interests, too much not wanting to face facts.
But it’s either that, or we each of us individually go cold turkey. Tighten our belts and just eat less. Or wear corsets. External gastric bands. It could even start a new fashion trend – especially if it makes us slimmer.
Walk a mile for a burger
It can be done though. If we’re strict enough with ourselves. Yours truly dropped 3½ stone in six months just by eating smaller meals, cutting out snacks and sticking to the two mile walk every day.
We’ll still be getting the antibiotics. But now we know, we can compensate for them.
And if our new slim selves enjoy the odd burger now and then, who’s going to know the difference? Enjoy!
Hypersteriliser units are supplied to businesses and institutions across the UK, notably the haematology and other critical units at Salford Royal Hospital, Greater Manchester; Doncaster & Bassetlaw Hospital; South Warwickshire Hospital; Coventry & Warwickshire Hospital; and Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead.
The Halo Hypersteriliser system achieves 6-log Sterility Assurance Level – 99.9999% of germs destroyed.It is the only EPA-registered dry mist fogging system – EPA No 84526-6. It is also EU Biocide Article 95 Compliant.
Yet altogether we spend £400 million a year on these smell-making de-stinkers. Anywhere from £1 a pop to £7 and up. All blown on candles, plug-ins, incense and aerosols that do nothing but pong themselves – not making us any safer or healthier.
Oh sure, chuck it in the bin, if you can find it. But you might have to rip up your carpet, or repaint the place to do it. All kinds of things can generate unpleasant smells – it’s not always a dead rat behind the skirting board.
And OK, so it’s in the bin. It keeps on stinking until they take it away. You can’t go outside – and your lounge still lingers with residual smell.
But if bacteria get clobbered dead in their tracks, there’s no smell at all. Zero, zip, nada.
Bye, bye germs
And you can oxidise ALL virus and bacteria in a room completely to nothing for around £3.50. No smells, no germs. Totally non-toxic protection from bugs like e.coli, salmonella, c. difficile, campylobacter, MRSA, colds, flu and norovirus.
How many apple blossom scented mango sprays can do that?
OK, it might cost a few bob to get the machine. About the same as putting in central heating and double glazing all in one hit. Not something for every household. But do you want to stop smells or get rid of germs?
The ball game changes when you think of work or school – or even eating out. All those people, all in one place – sharing the same air, touching the same surfaces. Protected from germs because there aren’t any there.
A clever machine called a Hypersteriliser has misted up the place before you arrived, filling the place with hydrogen peroxide gas plasma.
This is no quick whizz with an aerosol.
Oxidised to nothing
The entire place is impregnated with charged germ-killing molecules that reach out and grab viruses and bacteria wherever they are. Because they’re ionised, these hydrogen peroxide molecules permeate whole air spaces and cover all surfaces, forced actively into difficult-to-get-at cracks and crevices.
Result – after about forty minutes, the whole place is sterile. There’s no smell at all. The germ threshold is zero. The pong that’s wrong is gone.
Yes, an air freshener is quick and easy. SOME of them even do kill germs.
But they don’t sterilise the place. And they don’t reach everywhere.
Bad smells mean danger – and yeah, apple blossom is nice.
Just remember though, there are germs at work – and the job’s not done till they’re gone.
Because our own human body cells are outnumbered by bacteria more than 100 to 1. Every one of them living inside us and actually helping us live. If they weren’t there, we wouldn’t survive.
Not who we think we are
Yeah well, the entire world’s like that. Every living thing is home to whole hosts of bacteria essential to existence. Which makes bacteria way more important than most of us ever think. We’re not infected with them, we’re colonised by them.
So our paranoia about destroying them is most unwise.
So how come this blog is called Back Off, Bacteria? Isn’t that about getting rid of microorganisms?
Far from it.
Reality Number One. Bacteria are vitally necessary for every living function.
But not ALL bacteria are appropriate in every situation.
Campylobacter for instance, occurs naturally in poultry – 75% of chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese and wild birds have it in their gut. Somehow it helps in the digestion of whatever they eat – processing the grit perhaps, or balancing natural sugars.
OK, you can see the connection. Chicken is a highly popular source of cheap protein – so the whole food industry is up in arms about the contamination of our top of the pops menu choice.
It occurs naturally in birds, right? It’s SUPPOSED to be there.
So what’s the problem?
Everybody, the Food Safety Agency, producers, supermarkets, chefs, restaurants – all know that if you cook chicken properly, all campylobacter is destroyed. Those wings, drumsticks and nuggets are totally safe to eat.
So, Reality Number Two. Bacteria are only beneficial when they’re in the right place.
Which is why this blog is called Back Off, Bacteria!
Back Off, Bacteria! Get back to where you belong.
There are over 500 microbe types that colonise our gut – bacteriods, peptococci, staphylococci, streptococci, bacilli, clostridia, yeasts, enterobacteria, fuzobacteria, eubacteria, catenobacteria, etc – we don’t need a rogue outsider coming in and upsetting the apple cart.
As long as a bacterium is in the right place, that’s OK.
But the wrong place needs action if you don’t want to sicken and die.
Which is why – first line of defence – you should wash your hands so you don’t ingest some harmful killer bug you can’t see.
Researchers have also found that the electrical charge in bacteria like e. coli can actually generate light – creating flashes like Christmas tree lights.
Put that together with the fact that we’re always surrounded by a “bio-cloud” of billions and billions of bacteria all the time – and it’s possible that under the right conditions we really do generate a visible aura.
Better still, as bacteria respond to our changing body conditions, the electrical charge they put out could vary, changing the actual colour of this aura. Maybe not a myth any more, but genuine reality. All those child prodigies, swamis and spiritual mediums might have been right all along.
So yeah – germs, we need ’em.
Let’s just make sure we keep them in a safe place.
If you can honestly say that you washed you hands after touching all of these things – and after going to the loo – as well as before you ate anything – you might just have a case.
But we don’t just mean before you boarded the ship. We mean EVER.
Because norovirus takes anywhere from 12 to 48 hours to show itself.
So unless you can guarantee that you washed your hands before you ate anything, or touched your face for the two days before you got on the boat – AND kept them washed while you were on board – AND made sure they were washed during your shore excursions – you’re telling porkies.
Who’s really to blame
Sure it’s not nice when the cruise you paid all that money for is cut short with norovirus. But that’s not necessarily the cruise line’s fault – in fact it seldom is.
You got it, most cases of norovirus are caused by the victims themselves. That’s why we call it the Don’t-Wash-Hands Disease – and if anyone should take blame, it’s the person in the mirror.
We’re all too slap-happy, aren’t we? All too used to this casual lifestyle that allows us to get away with pretty well anything – including liberties with our health.
We could avoid the common cold too, if we washed our hands more often. OK, we could get sneezed at, but that’s not how most of us catch it. So we pay for our dirty hands with germy misery.
Lengthening the odds
Which means if you’re suing the cruise line, that it’s not just you that has to take precautions against norovirus. It’s your 1,350 fellow passengers as well – double that, if you’re on one of the big jobs.
1,350 people who can genuinely promise that they washed their hands carefully at the right times for the two days before embarking – and the whole duration that you were on the water.
You’re all together, see? Literally in the same boat – lots and lots of you sharing the same enclosed space, almost on top of each other – in close contact for weeks, or even months. A travelling hygiene hotspot if ever there was one.
Which makes it amazing that cruise lines are so successful at keeping illnesses away as much as they do. Out of hundreds of cruises every year, carrying upwards of 20 million passengers, only a handful run into norovirus or other illnesses – less than 1%.
Meanwhile, back here in UK, we’re still waiting for the sun to shine.
That’s the number of people who come down with campylobacter in a year – a really yucky stomach upset that makes you super-queasy, gives you the runs, and triggers some of the worst cramps you’ve ever experienced.
UK’s biggest villain
According to the Food Standards Agency (FSA ), campylobacter is far and away the UK’s biggest cause of food poisoning. Worse than its nasty friends norovirus, salmonella and e.coli – all horrible bugs that you get from eating something.
That means chicken if you’re unfortunate enough to catch campylobacter. An unpleasant stomach upset that can take you out for three days, even cause paralysis and death.
And the FSA is right to jump up and down about it.
Around 75% of poultry has it – chickens, turkeys, a lot of other animals too. It lives naturally in their gut without harm, probably even helping with digestion – like lactobacillus does in our own systems.
Trouble is, our metabolisms are quite different to chickens. What’s good for you goose is not good for you gander – once campylobacter gets loose in your digestive system, you’re in for a roller-coaster tough time.
Uh huh. So if if 75% of poultry has it, why don’t we crash out with campylobacter all the time?
The heat is on
Because, lucky us, all traces of campylobacter are completely destroyed by cooking. (Tweet this) Once the meat is no longer pink and the juices run clear, that chicken is safe to eat for everyone.
Kinda vital when you remember that chicken is one of our least expensive and popular foods – in everything from fast food to posh nosh.
But this campylobacter stuff is a mean player. It’s highly contagious, and just one drop of moisture or juices from a contaminated bird is enough to bring down a whole restaurant.
Which is why the FSA is continually jumping up and down about NOT washing raw chicken. The water you use and the splashes it makes are all contaminated.
So are utensils you might use – chopping boards and work surfaces too – which is why washing them down thoroughly is essential.
Your hands too, of course.
We’re none of us as sharp as we should be with hand hygiene, and forgetting to wash probably causes more illnesses throughout the country than anything else. Campylobacter alone costs us around £900 million a year in NHS treatment and lost productivity.
OK, so don’t wash raw chicken. Don’t eat it either. Common sense really. Like don’t eat unshelled seafood or unpeeled fruit – doing that will make you sick too.
Even so, a lot of people keep getting sick – so the FSA also jump up and down about controlling poultry production and why don’t supermarkets insist on only trouble-free birds?
Er, excuse us – totally, utterly wrong.
Blame the packaging
75% of all birds – we’re talking 2.2 million birds a week here. That’s how many we eat – more popular than fish and chips. Chicken tikka masala, right?
Culling that lot and starting again would bankrupt the industry – and push shopping budgets through the roof.
The nation’s Number One popular food suddenly at premium prices – they’ll have your guts for garters, mate!
Much more sense to target the packaging. Easier to control too.
Walk into Aldi, and you’ll see whole chickens have the label DON’T WASH RAW CHICKEN. That’s a good start. Add a warning that it must also be properly cooked and we’re getting somewhere.
But walk into ANY supermarket and just look the packaging. Most of the time, its shrink-wrapped onto a styrene tray, not even vacuum-sealed. Not good, Jim.
Distributed like that, any liquids from the product can leak. Onto others in the refrigerated lorry. Onto others in the display cabinets. Onto others in your fridge at home.
And one drop is all it takes – wow, wow, wow, campylobacter for the whole family.
Not from the chicken, which was properly cooked and enjoyed. But from the splash of liquid that fell onto the fresh tomatoes you had in the vegetable drawer underneath.
A bad dose of that and they’ll have to pump your stomach at A&E.
An un-problem really
Properly cooked, chicken is not a problem – look at KFC. The same sourced chicken as all other supermarkets in UK, and campylobacter doesn’t happen.
So most birds have campylobacter, get over it.
And even if you could isolate the “clean” ones, how are you going to prevent contamination from others – cull all the robins and sparrows and blackbirds too?
Insist on sealed, leak-proof packaging and the problem goes away.
Nobody eats raw chicken. Period.
Which brings the real problem right back to washing hands and everything you use to prep the food with.
Clean or else
They should make it a law – wash everything properly, or you could die.