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.
And of course Coke from 1926, starting at Selfridges.
The disastrous miracle
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.
Picture Copyright: ximagination / 123RF Stock Photo