Yeah, we’re all fat – and getting fatter.
Professor Dame Sally Davies, our very on-the-ball Chief Medical Officer, is right that obesity is a national crisis – an epidemic threat worse than terrorism.
But hang on a minute, obesity itself isn’t the problem – it’s the result.
The real culprit is over-use of antibiotics – the other major alarm issue Dame Sally has alerted us to for at least the last five years.
Antibiotics and obesity?
Sure, the connection is staring us in the face.
Because how come it’s not just SOME of us getting fat, it’s rapidly becoming ALL of us – 50% of women and 80% of men? And how come none of this started happening until twenty years ago?
That’s when farmers around the world – Americans call them Big Ag – started using antibiotics on an industrial scale in livestock production and for everything else. Right now, 65,000 tons a year and climbing – set to be almost double by 2030.
Money, money, money
Big bucks is the driver – higher profits, every farmer hits the jackpot.
With antibiotics regularly in their feedstuff, livestock animals can be farmed more intensively. Closer together, all in one place, easier to manage. But often in very dirty places and prone to disease – without the magic medicine keeping them healthy. Seen those pictures of chicken-houses?
More animals, less space – Jackpot One.
And 65,000 tons a year, remember? Slightly greater throughput than Dame Sally might be used to in the medical field – plenty of practice for superbugs to suss how to resist whatever antibiotics we clueless humans might throw at them. E.coli, salmonella, c.difficile, MRSA – they all start here.
Uh huh. But Big Ag has a bigger, darker motive.
Feed antibiotics to animals regularly – cattle, sheep, pigs, poultry, fish, whatever – and they grow bigger, fatter, faster.
Something tricks their natural gut bacteria into extracting more value from less food -at the same time supressing the reflex that tells them when they’ve eaten enough. They gorge themselves stupid.
Double the size in half the time – Jackpot Two.
Nor does it stop there.
Waste from animals becomes manure – to replace nutrients in the soil depleted by constant use. Antibiotics are in the ground, seeping into the water table, leaching through into streams and rivers, into reservoirs – into our homes at the turn of a tap.
So unless you eat ONLY organic foods – grown without fertiliser from any animal source. And unless you drink only bottled water, or boil it death before even thinking about it – you’ve been on antibiotics all your life.
All of us have. Drip-drip residual doses – every day, every mouthful, since the day we were born.
Continuous dosing by powerful substances that make our own gut bacteria super-efficient at extracting the absolute maximum from every last molecule of food. Which switch off our natural mechanism that tells us when we’ve had enough. Our own immune system on the fritz – and getting fritzier.
Forget whatever diet you’re on – pretty well all the food we can buy at the supermarket has antibiotics in it. No escape, even if you eat healthy – you’re getting antibiotics every day and on course for obesity.
Fast food to the rescue
Which is exactly why fast food might save us.
OK, so you order a chicken burger. Better throw away the bun, the salad, the sauce and the side-order of chips – antibiotics in the lot of them.
But not in the meat. Or at least, not in the meat – soon.
Because with falling market volumes – and negative press about the sheer volume of their business contributing to major antibiotic resistance – major fast food chains McDonalds, Subway, Chipotle and others are switching to antibiotics-free supplies. Zero in their chicken – and as soon as possible, zero in their beef and other stuff too.
In the meantime, if you’re worried, get ready to boil everything – meat vegetables, fruit, the works. And when we say boil, we mean nuke it for at least 30 minutes – it’s the only thing that works.
Either that, or be paranoid about genuine organic-sourced food. But check the label thoroughly – even the expensive designer stuff is likely to come from soil in some way exposed to antibiotics.
Are we being OCD about all this?
Well, every girl wants to be pretty, not a two-ton Tessie. And laying the guilt-trip on them that they eat themselves fat is unnecessarily harsh, cruel and callous.
Yeah, so they’re overweight. But how are they to know they’ve OD’d on antibiotics all their lives and their body’s regulatory systems are shot?
Antibiotics upset the natural balance of the body’s own bacterial microbiome, drastically altering its defences, weakening its survival strengths – making it prone to asthma, food allergies, diabetes and yes, obesity.
All of which makes Dame Sally especially right to flag down pregnant women. Antibiotics affect their babies’ bodies as much as their own. Worse, they corrupt the mother’s hereditary process that teaches the baby’s body bacteria about immunities before they are born.
So if Mum’s fat – and she may have battled all her life handling that stigma – her baby could be fat too, skewed by antibiotics that neither of them were prescribed, but which are in their systems anyway. And because of continuing exposure to antibiotics, weaker, less resilient, more fragile and helpless.
Is there anything we can do about it?
Dame Sally as usual, has hit the nail on the head – though for different reasons than she first intended.
She’s worried about medical antibiotics not working because bacteria are fast developing all-round resistance. AMR. At a stroke, most surgical procedures become impossible. If antibiotics don’t work, there’s no infection control to safeguard the necessary incisions.
The only answer, stop using antibiotics (they’re useless anyway), rediscover hygiene. Wash and clean everything meticulously and constantly so germs never get a chance. Sterilise living spaces with a Hypersteriliser.
The preggy ladies are in the same boat. Stop using antibiotics – boil food to boredom, or choose expensive organics . Likewise, wash and clean everything meticulously and constantly so germs never get a chance. Sterilise living spaces with a Hypersteriliser.
Hmmm, supper time after all that. We might go a bit hungry though.
It’s going to be a while before all fast food chains get their act together and stop supplying food laced with antibiotics.
Shredded newspaper, anyone?