The do-gooders are always telling us.
The ones who aren’t fat themselves – yet.
They don’t face the jeers and insults – or the misery of staring in the mirror and feeling ashamed.
Everyone gets a chance
Yeah? Well the good news is, they’re going to get theirs.
One day soon, THEY WILL BE FAT TOO.
And like us, they’ll wonder how the hell it happened.
How they could go from good healthy living – walking the mile from the bus to the office and back every day, just an hour of TV a night, no fast-food except on Saturdays, three times a week at the gym, always a walk on Sundays – and suddenly they’re size 18.
It can happen – and it will.
Because however hard we try, more and more of us are getting overweight every day.
Half of us are already there – the number of us fatties has pretty well trebled since the 1980s.
Go back to the 50s, and it becomes even worse. Your average bloke weighed 11 stone 6 (72 kg) with a waist of 34 inches. Today he’s 12 stone 6 (78 kg) with a waist of 37 inches – a real porker alongside David Beckham at 74 kg and 32 inches.
In the beginning
So what happened in the 50s? What was it that triggered our unhappy habit of putting on weight like crazy – when we weren’t even close to scoffing ourselves?
One word – antibiotics.
Not for medicine or fighting disease, but for shovelling into farm animals.
Because it made them grow faster. Bigger, fatter, quicker.
Exactly what’s happening to us. Bulking up from chemicals that force our gut bacteria to absorb more calories, the root cause of obesity.
Ramping up more and more and more as farmers realised the profit potential – and high-tech, high intensity production took over farming across the board – beef, dairy, mutton, pork, poultry, fish and even plant crops.
Today, round the world, agricultural use of antibiotics tops 65,000 tons a year.
And right there, we’re screwed.
Because however we fill our supermarket trollies, everything’s loaded with antibiotics. Lamb from New Zealand, check. Oranges from Israel, check. Chicken from Norfolk, check. Tomatoes from Spain, check.
The stuff is in all the food we eat, though we don’t know it. In our water too, as the animals poo to enrich the soil, and the ground water winds up in our taps.
Eat, eat, eat
What happens to us is the same as the animals. Some of our gut bacteria gets killed, some of it gets modified. We extract more calories out of the same food and become more efficient at absorbing it. Ever wondered why you get so big but your poo remains the same?
Worse, the switches that tell us when to stop eating get over-ridden. We chomp like there’s no tomorrow. Forget all the baloney about will-power and lifestyle – we become eating machines, just like the farmers force their pigs and chickens to be.
What’s that you say? Antibiotics were banned to EU farmers in 2006?
Quite right, they were – but only for growth promotion. Veterinary use to prevent illness is still permitted. Only on prescription.
So what happens when animals are herded so close together that sanitary conditions are nearly impossible? Careful with that, it’s a breeding ground for epidemics. Better pump in the antibiotics just to be safe. Strictly medicinal. Looks good on the brochure too – the healthiest pigs in Britain.
Every mouthful we take, right?
Every day of our life since birth. Not our fault at all, we had no say in it.
The Mac factor
Oh sure, we shouldn’t pig out on burgers – at 540 calories in a Big Mac, we know that already.
Except a Big Mac is not the junk food the do-gooders would have us believe it is. Yes, it’s loaded with calories, one of the best power foods on the planet. In the poor countries of the world, it’s about the best nutritional boost any starving kid could be rescued by.
The best value for money too. Which is why The Economist magazine created the Big Mac Index – a light-hearted look at real money values around the world, because it’s available everywhere.
We shouldn’t worry though. Saying a Big Mac will make us fat is like saying we’ll get pregnant from kissing. It takes a lot of Big Macs – and a lot of kissing – to achieve the reality.
Plus, don’t forget – the do-gooders eat the same food we do. So it’s only a matter of time before they’re fat just like us. Serve ‘em right for ignoring the evidence in front of their face – that fatteners for animals fatten us too.
So what can we do?
Not a lot, everything coming at us is loaded.
But we can avoid it.
The heck with the price tag, switch to organic food. Not the designer stuff that’s been wee’d on by celebrities – the real products that are labelled “Antibiotics Free” or similar. Choose bottled water, stuff you can check comes from a pure source.
If you have to buy regular food, the only thing is to boil it to hell and gone – 30 minutes at least, but then you’ll know it’s safe. Be sure to chuck away the broth though, you’ve only boiled it out, you haven’t got rid of it. Yeah, the food tastes crummy, but what can you do?
Believe it or not – a poo transplant could work. Sounds a bit sordid, but swapping faeces with someone not affected by obesity can change the composition of bacteria in our own gut and set them straight again. There is even a way to do it ourselves.
Now for the first time, all those weight reducing ideas stand a chance of working. With the fatteners gone, we should really see some results.
About time too.
With apologies to anyone already embarrassed by it, who wants to go through life looking like a whale?