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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.

Picture Copyright: ximagination / 123RF Stock Photo

Fat and fatter: our hidden daily intake of antibiotics

Shocked dieter
Diet or no diet, everything is fattening – and you don’t even know you’re eating it

Yes, hidden fat-makers – in pretty well everything we eat.

Good, improving salads. Health-giving fruit. Ordinary everyday meat and two veg.

Not just the fast food pizzas and burgers.

Nobody knows

Hidden because we never even know they’re there. Ask your own doctor and you’ll get a blank look. Antibiotics are only on prescription. Fat chance.

Unfortunately, fat chance is right.

You see, there’s antibiotics in our food from the stuff that makes it grow. Just about any kind of fruit or veg in your supermarket is grown with fertiliser. Even organic food is grown from soil made fertile by rotating crops and using compost, manure and clover.

All natural stuff, right?

Well, yes. Except that just about all natural manure used by farmers comes from herds or flocks of animals that are regularly fed antibiotics. For their health and well-being is the official line – but it’s mostly because it makes them bulk up and grow faster.

And sure, on a modern high intensity factory farm, health is a huge issue. So many animals so close together, they’re impossible to keep clean – large numbers can get ill very quickly. And of course any kind of sickness goes through them like wildfire.

So the rule is, dose ‘em up and keep ‘em dosed.

Big bucks fatter

Meantime these same antibiotics they regularly get in their feedstuff is fattening them up and accelerating their growth. From egg to supermarket chicken roaster in five weeks. From calf to meat counter rump steak in one year instead of four.

Money, money, money.

Alongside the inevitable result that all the manure they produce is laced with antibiotics. The same stuff that fertilises the grass they eat, or the silage – and which used by other farmers to grow grain crops, vegetables and fruit trees.

By law, antibiotics added to feedstuffs are supposed to be withdrawn before getting ready for market, so there are no drugs in any animal’s system when they’re sold.

Zero ADDED, yes.

But those cows and sheep and pigs and chickens are still noshing food grown with antibiotics in the manure. Which is how come you’ll find chlortetracycline in onions and cabbages. Sulfamethazine in lettuce and potatoes.

There’s antibiotics in there anyway. Because plant crops ALSO get regular antibiotics – streptomycin for grain crops, oxytetracycline for fruit – to take care of blight and harmful bacteria.

Plus – you guessed it – to boost growth.

So like it or not – organic or regular – just about everything we eat is dosing us with antibiotics every day – JUST LIKE THE ANIMALS.

They get fat, we get fat

And just like the animals, we’re getting fat too – on account of how we’re animals, just like they are. Some of us kinda chubby, some of us definitely muffin-tops, and some of us with a serious avoirdupois problem. Twenty, thirty years ago, not an issue – today, with nearly 60% of us overweight or obese, it’s an epidemic.

Which means, sooner or later, it’s gonna get you too.

A few uncomfortable facts:

  • We all get a jump start because antibiotics are prescribed to us medically. Give antibiotics to children under two – and by the time they’re five, they’re 15% overweight.
  • Like magic bullets, antibiotics get prescribed for just about everything – from serious to trivial. By the time a teenager reaches sixteen, at least ten courses of antibiotics are likely to have been through their system.
  • Antibiotics kill bacteria – good ones and bad ones. Down in your gut, they’re like an atom bomb exploding through your natural gut bacteria. Your gut recovers, but it’s out of balance – and it never comes back to 100% the way it should be again.
  • Gut bacteria out of balance boost the fat cells in your body – the good kind and the bad kind. The good kind you can exercise off at the gym. The bad kind are there for keeps.
  • Being out of balance boosts ghrelin too – the “hunger hormone” that increases appetite. Think those cravings for gallons of Coke and boxes of doughnuts are the natural you? Your own gut is hyping your brain to pig out on them – the real you has no say.

Different strokes for different folks

If you’re not fat already, you might have a different metabolism – some people are always thin. Much more likely, your balance hasn’t been too badly affected yet – and your daily preferred food choice hasn’t pushed you over the edge.

Come down with a recurring condition that requires antibiotics and it could be another story – amoxicillin for sinusitis, say – repeated every few months because it won’t go away. Hello size 18.

What to do about it?

Watch what you eat, obviously. Indulgence foods and sugary stuff do you no favours.

As Dr Martin Blaser proved in his research with laboratory mice. One test group was given antibiotics and got fat. Another group was given fatty foods and got fat. A third group was given antibiotics AND fatty food and got VERY FAT.

But avoiding antibiotics in your food is not easy, unless you stop eating altogether – hardly a long-term solution.

One way is to grow your own veg – without fertiliser of course. The other is to eat fish, but not the farmed jobs – net-cage salmon are fed quinolones. Stick to the deep sea types – cod, haddock – without the chips though!

Then get off antibiotics – and stay off. Don’t insist on high octane power when you don’t need it – and only agree to antibiotics treatment if there’s no other way.

Which means don’t get ill. If you’re not ill, you don’t need medicine.

Which means avoiding germs. Keeping yourself safe and not looking for trouble.

Hype up your hygiene

Which means hyping up your hygiene. Washing your hands, before and after pretty well everything you do. Because your hands touch everything, including your food – and the sensitive areas round your eyes and mouth – germs favourite way into your body.

You can sterilise your surroundings too, so viruses and bacteria don’t get a look in. Mist up your workplace with a Hypersteriliser and germs are gone.

Don’t grief though if your clothes start feeling tight and you look a bit fuller in the face – it’s happening to all of us. An epidemic like the medics say, but not all your fault.

They won’t like it, but this one’s up to the farmers.

Picture Copyright: nicoletaionescu / 123RF Stock Photo