Tag Archives: Dr Dame Sally Davies

Our blundering obesity crisis: why junk food & sugary drinks were NEVER the cause

Dont take my Coke
Obesity, what obesity? We never used to be fat in the Fifties – what’s everyone talking about?

So what is this junk food stuff, exactly?

Unhealthy? Bad for you?

Gives you high blood pressure? Makes you swell up and burst?

A McDonalds McDouble, for instance.

If it’s so bad, how come it’s been called ‘the cheapest, most nutritious and bountiful food that has ever existed in human history’?

The good bad stuff

Wow, that’s seriously bad.

Bad because it’s good. So good that the McDonalds people force you at gunpoint to have two at once. And if you don’t eat them, you die of lead poisoning.

Eating two of course, is more than your body needs. Keep going like that and no wonder we’re all fat like two-thirds of us are.

Which is the reality of course.

It’s not “junk food” that makes us fat. It’s eating too much of the stuff.

Too much of those cheap , nutrition-rich, hunger-busting fast foods that are everybody’s on-the-go favourite. Grab ’em and eat ’em, just as you like – burgers, hot dogs, fish & chips, pizza, kebabs, sliders, sandwiches – they all fill you up in minutes.

Same thing with Coke. Buy two, or the Coca-Cola people will chase you down the street with a knife. Make that the two-litre bottle, they’re not playing around. And drinking that much in one go will make you fat too.

And there’s the proof, see? That junk food will be the death of us. At least so says the latest report by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Child Health.

Nice try, but not true.

Overeating compulsion

If it were, we’d have all been fat decades ago. From 1940, when the first McDonalds opened. Or 1892, when Coca-Cola started.

Sure, there were fat people around then, but not like there are now. Back in those days, most of us were slim. Thin as a rake, and pretty with it.

Same thing in the 50s. And the 60’s. The 70s, the 80’s and even the 90’s.

We ate fast food in those days too. And drank Coke. Yet somehow we never got fat. The typical British male was just over 5ft 7in tall, weighed 11st 6lbs, had a chest of 37 inches, a waist of 34 inches, wore size seven shoes and had a collar size of 14.

Sound fat to you?

Yes, we guzzled the stuff and enjoyed it. But never too much, like we do now.

So what’s different? What’s the CAUSE? What’s suddenly making us eat too much in the last twenty years?

“Ooh , er… lifestyle” say the medics, clutching at straws.

What, we didn’t have telly in those days? No Corrie, no Fawlty Towers, no Dr Who, no Steptoe?

And we didn’t have computers? No Atari, no Amstrad, no Apple, no Commodore Vic?

Alongside McDonalds and Coke and all the others of course?

Either that’s porkies, or the wrong end of the stick.

And since the Royal College would NEVER be anything but upright and honest, it has to be the stick thing.

So what’s happened in the last twenty years to make us eat too much now?

The awful answer

Ask the medics, because they already know the answer. They just don’t want to face the consequences of living with it.

There’s a whole INDUSTRY of making bodies eat too much. It’s worldwide too, in every modern country.

It’s called growth promoting, and it’s used in food production everywhere you can think of.

It started slow at first, a side effect of the miracle breakthrough of the Twentieth Century, antibiotics. Researchers found that small doses, fed regularly to livestock, caused them to bulk up and develop at lightning speed compared to ordinary farm animals.

Bingo!

Scientists weren’t sure WHY it happened, they only knew it did. Something that accelerated the body’s “I’m hungry” ghrelin hormone and suppressed the “I’ve had enough” leptin one.

Farmers couldn’t believe their luck. And with world population rocketing from 2½ billion back in the 50s to the 7½ billion we are now, they didn’t hang about. All those people needed feeding, and how. Boom time!

Growth boosters worldwide

OK, it took a while to get organised. Farms were small in the 50s, family-run businesses, unchanged for generations. Big money changed all that. First, broiler houses for chickens, factory farms on an industrial scale – and latest, the big-bucks CAFOs, Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations.

ALL of them shovelling in antibiotics like it was going out of fashion. 240,000 tonnes of them every year, worldwide. Poultry, cattle, sheep, pigs, fish – everything. Plant crops and vegetables too. Fertilised by manure from those same animals.

Growth boosters, get it? Ghrelin ON, leptin OFF. Eat, eat, eat, stop messing about.

So guess what? Just about every food type in your supermarket became laced through with the most successful growth booster ever invented. And we gobble them, mini-dose by mini-dose with every mouthful. Turning on our own ghrelin and turning off our own leptin.

Eat, eat and overeat – because our bodies HAVE too. The junk food myth.

Which means a fat lot of good sugar tax and banning fast food adverts in TV is going to achieve. Like tax on cigarettes never stopped smokers – and tax on alcohol never stopped boozers – us fatties are going to keep munching anyway, no matter how hard the Royal College try to stop us.

Not that they will. Their view on antibiotics is firmly fixed in another direction – antimicrobial resistance. Because of overuse and abuse of antibiotics for anything and everything, bacteria are increasingly becoming immune to our miracle life-savers.

Which puts modern medicine in total jeopardy. Just about every major medical procedure is rapidly becoming impossible because the antibiotics don’t work. No less a person than Dr Dame Sally Davies, England’s Chief Medical Officer, has voiced that we are poised at a new Dark Ages.

Antibiotics resistance

No more heart transplants, hip replacements or caesarean births – in our lifetime we could any of us die from a paper cut.

None of which helps obesity – which is its own road to a slow and unpleasant death. Asthma, limb amputations, heart disease and cancer are all waiting in follow-up. And two-thirds of us are already on the way.

Yes, we can give up antibiotics. Stop eating the foods that contain them, like the all-natural, organic brigade. Not just the junk food but everything. Expensive – but doable.

But then we’ll need to up our game on hygiene. Because the only way to stay healthy will be to avoid germs altogether. Wash hands all the time, sterilise everything – stay out of trouble before it starts. Doable – and NOT expensive. We just need to overcome our laziness.

There’s only one problem. There’s 5 billion more of us than there were back in the 50s. We still need the 19 billion chickens, 1.4 billion cattle, 1 billion pigs and 1 billion sheep that currently feed us – and the antibiotics that keep them alive as well as fatten them. Forced production farming is so intensive, animals live on top of each other in appalling hygiene conditions.

Nope, we can’t all eat organic. There’s not enough land or produce to sustain us.

Our glorious end

Maybe all those big mouth politicians with their nuclear button-pressing threats have the answer. One press and foops! We don’t have to worry any more.

What was that Peter Sellers movie? Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. Appropriately, to quote Col. Bat Guano: “You’re gonna have to answer to the Coca-Cola company.”

 

About this blog

Back Off, Bacteria! is the blog of Hyper Hygiene Ltd, supplier of what we’re convinced is the most effective health protection system in the world. A fully mobile, all-automatic Hypersteriliser machine mists up workplaces with ionised hydrogen peroxide, spreading everywhere and eliminating all bacteria, viruses and fungi.

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.

It’s up to us now – if we don’t each of us help the NHS, nobody else will

Doctors warning - help the NHS
The writing’s on the wall – help the NHS, or we’ll all go down together

Forget the headlines and the soundbites – the only people who can help the NHS now are ourselves.

Never mind WHY there’s a crisis, if we all of us do our bit, we can get through this together.

First off, the NHS are right – don’t get ill. We’ve got to stop running to them unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Help the NHS – no more chances

There’s too many of us otherwise. Our numbers just swamp the place.

So we’ve got to stop making ourselves ill. Taking chances with our health that don’t do us any good.

Like our dodgy hygiene – we’re really lousy at keeping ourselves clean.

OK, we can’t see germs, so we can be excused for thinking that we don’t LOOK dirty.

We know about germs though, and the kind of precautions we should take.

But because we LOOK OK, we don’t do anything – and we hate being nannied about it.

None of which will help the NHS.

With an Aussie flu epidemic about to hit, on top of the usual winter tsunami, being precious about washing our hands is not exactly useful.

Especially when our track record is so iffy:

Ugh, the winter vomiting bug

Which gets really crazy when you think of the winter vomiting bug.

Norovirus is highly infectious and spreads on contact. Yet nine times out of ten, if ever we come down with it, we always blame the restaurant or fast food outlet of food poisoning.

Sure, the vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach cramps are so bad, we have to blame it on someone. It’s just extra hard to swallow that we caused it ourselves.

None of which can help the NHS when we show up, moaning and groaning. Norovirus is the one thing that can go round everywhere like wildfire – the last thing they need on top of the winter flood of patients and Aussie flu.

How are we so sure that norovirus is usually self inflicted?

It’s not just the poor washing of hands, it’s whether they’re washed at all.

Think about your day, from the time you left for work, to the time you meet your friends for dinner at the pizza  joint.

Think about the things you’ve touched that other people touch as well – the heavy traffic hand contacts everybody else makes, also without washing their hands.

Door handles, light switches, keypads, money, keys, hand rails, grab handles for instance. When do those things ever get cleaned – and how germified are they before you touch them?

Follow that with a whole day at the office, with perhaps 2 or 3 trips to the loo, and just maybe you’re also in that gruesome 62% or 40%. Yes, it’s possible. You do the whole day and show up for eats, without even washing once.

And then you order a double pepperoni and pineapple – which you EAT WITH YOUR HANDS.

So where does the food poisoning come from – out of the pizza oven, or off your own fingers?

Same thing with burgers, chicken drumsticks, kebabs, hot dogs, chips, bacon butties and anything else you munch on the go.

Finger lickin’ good, sure. And finger lickin’ norovirus, e.coli, campylobacter, salmonella or whatever else you swallowed at the same time.

Soap and water and safe

Yet all it takes – to help the NHS and spare yourself the agony – is a short session with soap and water. Always before food and always after the loo.

The same five minutes should help you duck the Aussie flu too. Because, yes, it’s airborne, but mostly spread on contact. Those gobs of snot and dribble are too heavy to stay up for long. Keep your hands and face clean and you can avoid them altogether.

Which is exactly how best to help the NHS.

Avoidance.

Don’t get ill in the first place, and the four-hour misery of A&E never happens. You never have to worry about getting a bed, or a possible appointment with the Grim Reaper in the corridor.

You do your bit – and everybody else does theirs – suddenly the NHS stands a fighting chance.

No more slagging them off. That belongs to the politicians, who can’t keep their mitts off, pretending to organise things. They’re not doctors, and they’re not managers – so what would they ever know about running a health service?

They’re the mob who shut down all the care homes, so the old folks have no place to go except stay in their hospital bed. The same mob who contracted local doctors so they’re no longer on call – and don’t work evenings or weekends either.

Want to see your GP? Sorry, on the golf course, come back next week.

See your Westminster wunderkind

All of which means contact your local party wunderkind and give them hell. All those people crowding into the NHS are their doing and it’s up to them to stop things.

And if you really want to help the NHS, make them think about the future too, not just the votes they’ll lose next time we go to the ballot box. Because if this winter’s NHS crisis looks bad, get ready for Armageddon in ten years’ time.

According to Dr Dame Sally Davies, England Chief Medical Officer, two calamities are coming that make Aussie flu look like child’s play.

The first is antibiotic resistance. Those wonder-drugs that make modern medicine such a miracle are rapidly becoming useless. The bacteria they’re up against have mutated themselves into immunity. All of a sudden, basic surgery isn’t possible any more – no heart bypasses, no hip replacements, no C-section births. You could even die from a paper cut.

Worse still, there’s no replacement. Nothing in the pipeline. The medicine cupboard is bare ands we’re back to the Dark Ages.

The second is obesity. Already two-thirds of us are either fat or obese – and a third of our kids too. All set for the slippery slope to asthma, type 2 diabetes, possible amputations, heart disease and cancer. Unless something is done quick, 30 million of us are going to die – long, slow and agonising – half the population of UK.

The politicians are doing nothing about these either. Still thinking about lunch, their picture in the paper, and a salary equivalent to five nurses.

So, want to help the NHS?

Lay it on the line to your local wunderkind – do something now, before it’s too late.

Oh, and keep your hands clean while you’re doing it. It could save your life.

About this blog

Back Off, Bacteria! is the blog of Hyper Hygiene Ltd, supplier of what we’re convinced is the most effective health protection system in the world. A fully mobile, all-automatic Hypersteriliser machine mists up workplaces with ionised hydrogen peroxide, spreading everywhere and eliminating all bacteria, viruses and fungi.

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.

The drugs don’t work – so keep germs away, or die

Medical researcher
The miracle’s not happening any more – antibiotics are starting to kill us

You read that right, the drugs don’t work.

And you’d better believe it, because it’s coming true.

The Verve sang about it on their album Urban Hymns.

Slightly more scary, there’s a book about it as well – by no less a person than Dr Dame Sally Davies, the Chief Medical Officer of England,  somebody who ought to know.

Take a pill, it does nothing. That’s where we’re going.

Everything’s a risk

Which means a sore throat could kill you – so could a paper cut.

Even worse, we could be dying already – FROM PILLS WE’VE ALREADY TAKEN. Antibiotics we had years ago as a kid – a miracle cure back then, but slowly killing us now.

And even if we didn’t take them, they’re still working away at our innards, gulped down unconsciously with every mouthful of food we eat. Every day a little more, drip, drip, drip. Because – surprise, surprise – there’s antibiotics in all our food.

What the hell’s going on?

Two things, neither of them good.

Antibiotic resistance

The one Dame Sally is worried about is antibiotic resistance. Because of massive over-use, all kinds of harmful bacteria have evolved that are immune to antibiotics. They’ve mutated and mutated so that whatever illness they cause is unstoppable. If our bodies aren’t strong enough to resist, we’ll die.The drugs don't work

And it’s not just illness. Every routine surgical procedure relies on antibiotics to prevent infection. Heart surgery, hip replacement, gastric bypass – all of them are impossible without infection control. Medicine is on the brink of returning to the Dark Ages.

Antibiotic contamination

The other thing is long-term. We ingest small doses of antibiotics with everything we eat – residual traces of growth boosters used by farmers to fatten up livestock quicker and plant crops yield more strongly.

You read that right too. Growth boosters. Added to animal feed and plant fertiliser in industrial quantities. Super-charging the manure that’s used for everything from grazing grass, to vegetable crops, to grain production – you name it.

How can you tell?

Look around and ask yourself, aren’t more of us overweight than we ever used to be? And not just a little portly round the middle either – but seriously bulging everywhere, at all stages of obesity.

Antibiotics did that – just like they did for the cows and chickens and pigs they were fed to. They got fat, so we get fat too. Fatter and fatter and fatter as the residual doses collectively mount up. Seriously obese.

Which means we’re seriously at risk of what obesity triggers – type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, asthma – all kinds of slow, debilitating ailments that will eventually kill us. Caused by the very same miracle drugs we thought were life savers.

Keep healthy, or else

All of a sudden, our health and everything concerned with protecting it, have become a major issue – like driving on bald tyres. Everything is OK as long as nothing happens. But if it does, we’re going to crash Big Time.

Luckily, we do have defences.

No 1 – wash our hands at every opportunity. Germs surround us and are on everything we touch – so unless we keep them clean, our hands are constantly transferring viruses and bacteria to our mouth, eyes and nose, the easiest doorways for infection to get in.

No 2 – eliminate germs around us. We all carry germs with us and our living spaces are full of them. But they don’t have to be. Mopping and scrubbing gets rid of only a few – we need to be sure of the cracks and crevices. Plus we need to treat the air – probably 80% of any room space that is never usually touched.

Easy with a Hypersteriliser though. That fine mist of ionised hydrogen peroxide destroys all viruses and bacteria by oxidising them to pieces. Forty minutes and the place is sterile – safe from germs down to less than 1 air particle in a million.

No 3 – be watchful. How many times do we cut ourselves because we’re not paying attention? If accidents don’t happen, germs don’t get a look in.

No 4 – go organic. Stop eating mass-produced foods that have antibiotics in them. Not easy at first, you have to find a reliable source. Certainly if you grow your own and eat ocean fresh fish – not the farmed jobs – you’re off to a good start.

Yeah, the drugs don’t work. But if we’re watchful and we’re careful, most of the time we don’t need them. And hopefully we’re healthier and stronger, so if anything does happen, we can rise above it anyway.

Let the dying happen another day.

Picture Copyright: dolgachov / 123RF Stock Photo

Sugar tax? Shouldn’t we ban TV’s Bake Off first?

Doughnut girl
No wonder we’ve got cravings – every food programme on TV has enough sugar to sink a battleship

Vile stuff, sugar. Jamie Oliver says so, so it must be true.

Makes us fat, rots our teeth, turns us into porkers with our fingers and toes chopped off.

So of course we should tax sugar, stomp it out.

Criminal addiction

Like tobacco and smoking. Tax it out of sight, hide it from the public eye.

Ban sugar on TV too – all programmes, all advertising, everything there is. In movies and magazines too. Hide sugar products away in the supermarket and double their prices.

Ban sugar on TV? Sure, all those cooking programmes – cakes and puddings and things. To a nation of obese and recognised sugar addicts – a very bad influence. Bad, bad, bad.

Chop the lot

Which means, in popularity order, that we should axe The Great British Bake Off, Nigella Lawson, Masterchef, Saturday Kitchen, Heston Blumenthal, Great British Menu, Nigel Slater, Rick Stein, Jamie Oliver and Come Dine With Me.

Oh, and anything to do with jam-making – the vilest of the vile. A wicked past-time that even our Chief Medical Officer, Dr Dame Sally Davies, has fallen prey to – her “energy-making” therapy.

Just why is it so bad? Loaded with sugar through and through – according to the BBC’s online Good Food site – “… to qualify as proper jam, the finished product should contain 60% sugar.”

Good Food! 60% sugar!

60% sugar – when a 1.75 litre bottle of regular Coke contains ONLY 16%!

Jam should carry a health warning. Shocking! Scandalous! Write to your MP immediately.

Non-tax nonsense

Because you can buy TWO 1.75 litre Cokes in the supermarket for £2. Or FOUR of the supermarket’s own brand for the same price.  But you can buy own brand strawberry jam for just 29p – nearly 40 times the sugar hit, for less than 15% of the price.

So what kind of a tax is going to stop anyone? 500%? 1,000%?

Get real.

The mark-up on a medium-sized Coke at your local Odeon bughouse is more than that already

Just who is kidding who, here?

And that’s not even thinking about the level of sugar in ordinary foods, prepared meals and the like.

All sugar and sweetness

Meanwhile Bake Off goes on and on. Sugar in your face, programme after programme. Like Nadiya Hussain’s winning birthday cake recipe? 175 grams of caster sugar – 35 teaspoons. PLUS 500 grams of icing sugar – 100 teaspoons. 135 teaspoons altogether.

Yes, congratulations to Nadiya, but what about us poor addicts?

Sure, sure, it’s bad and something should be done – but is ANYONE addressing why so many of us have a sweet tooth? That our sugar cravings are so severe? And is ANYONE doing anything to stop these cravings – instead of flying off to Bermuda on the sugar taxes we have to pay?

A joke, right? As John Belushi demonstrated in his TV doughnut sketch. Reality upside down.

Uncontrolled cravings

Because the truth is, we have little or no control over the foods we crave, our body does that without us ever even thinking about it. A hormone called ghrelin does the trick, pumped out by the resident bacteria we all have in our gut to take care of digestion.

OK, so the ghrelin says gimme, gimme, gimme, sugar, sugar, sugar.

Why?

In a healthy body, that isn’t supposed to happen. We eat, we have enough, our gut bacteria tell us to switch off. Finished eating, we’re satisfied.

Uh huh. So something’s wrong. And something’s wrong with a lot of us, because more and more of us are getting fat. Our gut bacteria are making mistakes – not turning off when they’re supposed to – and extracting TOO MUCH nutrition from the food we eat as well.

Uh huh, part two. And what could possibly skew our gut bacteria so wildly out of kilter that the whole system tilts out of balance, like some madman running amok?

Wonder drugs, ultra thugs

Simple, simple. What kills bacteria? No less than the miracle wonder-drugs of our time – antibiotics.

OK, so we take them for some infection or because we’re having an operation. Down in your gut, the harmful bacteria get killed alright – so do a lot of innocent bystanders, the beneficial bacteria that keep our bodies in good order.

And they’re not just in medicines.

There’s antibiotics in most of the food we eat too. Growth boosters given to livestock to make them bulk up bigger and faster. Given to plant crops too, for the same reason.

And the same thing happens to animals as happens to us. Their gut bacteria are out of balance from the antibiotics in their feed, their ghrelin equivalent doesn’t stop producing. So they eat themselves stupid – noshing all the time from habit, as there’s not much food value to be had out of grazing grass.

But they’re not grazing grass any more – not most of the time. They’re mainlining on boosted feedstuff that puts their gut bacteria on turbo, their bodies are full of it.

They eat that, we eat them, we get fat too – it’s not rocket science.

But for some reason, all our celebrity chefs and nutritionists are running round like chickens with their heads chopped off, shouting that we should tax sugar.

Yeah, we should get serious about cutting down sugar intake.

But we should also get serious about how we do it. Taxing the supply does nothing except push the price up.

So? It’s more expensive. But everything always goes up – money is not affected by gravity.

Better to reduce demand. Get our bodies to ask for less, problem solved.

Get off the pills

Which means GET OFF ANTIBIOTICS.

Unless it’s life-threatening, avoid them like the plague. Because that’s what they are in the long-term – fat becomes obese, becomes type two diabetes or heart disease or cancer – a nasty slow-motion car crash over the next twenty years. The Black Death killed in days, antibiotic damage kills in decades, none of them pleasant.

And just what the hell happened to proper TV programming in prime time anyway?

Cookery? Soaps? Dancing?

Back in the day, that was mid-afternoon gap-filler, padding to get through the nothing. Balanced evening viewing was Western, private eye, Western – the way life is supposed to be.

Which means we’re already paying a sugar tax, like it or not. All those sweet, syrupy programmes – not worth the licence fee.

Time to get out more and do some exercise. TV is not good for your waistline either.

Picture Copyright: jayfish / 123RF Stock Photo

Now it’s inevitable: total global antibiotics failure

Worried farm vet
When antibiotics stop working for animals, we’re all at risk

Inevitable as in OMG, failure as in serious.

Imagine World War Three, a Force 5 hurricane and an end-of-the-dinosaurs meteor strike all at the same time.

All caused by the weapons we use against microscopic adversaries we can’t even see – the antibiotics we use to fight pathogenic bacteria.

Busted miracles

Amazing creations, antibiotics. Enabling modern medicine work miracles every day.

Except their edge is blunting fast – as canny bacteria mutate to develop resistance to our wonder-drugs – increasingly immune to everything we throw at them.

Antimicrobial resistance or AMR, it’s called. Bacteria impervious to even heavy doses of medication – just another bump in the road to the most successful single-celled living creature of all time – the latest hiccup in 5 billion years of evolution.

Of course, AMR was always going to happen. Bacteria are ultimate survivors – able thrive at temperatures from a freezing 0⁰C to a volcanic 350⁰C – in acidity from near pure water to concentrated battery acid – and if necessary, even without oxygen.

So that messing about in a laboratory for anything except a short-term solution is futile. Alexander Fleming, father of modern antibiotics even said as much in his 1945 lecture accepting the Nobel Prize.

His concern was that the bugs could gain immunity from under-dosing – killing the weakest but allowing the strongest to escape from non-lethal quantities. And with an organism able to divide by fission into new cells in as little as 20 minutes, it was only a matter of time before bacteria found ways.

Tick, tick, tick

They certainly did. Against penicillin, discovered in 1928 with resistant staph emerging in in 1940; tetracycline, introduced in 1950 with resistant shigella in 1959; erythromycin, launched in 1953 with resistant strep occurring in 1968; methicillin in 1960 with resistance in 1962; levofloxacin in 1996 with resistance in the same year; linezolid in 2000 and resistance 2001; daptomycin in 2003 and resistance in 2004.

Today it’s even worse, with some superbugs becoming pan-resistant – responsive to NO antibiotics at all. Small wonder that Dr Dame Sally Davies, England’s Chief Medical Officer, sees AMR as a threat on the same scale as terrorism.

Except that Dame Sally is wrong on the focus, medical AMR is just the tip of the iceberg. Agriculturally, AMR is many, many times bigger – so that, short of a massive alien invasion, antibiotics resistance is quite possibly the biggest challenge ever to the human race.

Check the math.

All in the numbers

In 1950, world population was 2,557,628,654 –the biggest killers were pneumonia and TB, and ploughs on the farm were still drawn by horses.

In 2016, world population is 7,334,771,614, most diseases are completely under control and “factory farms” are highly mechanised.

300% increase in mouths to feed, but the land area to produce the necessary food is still the same. Mechanisation? Sure. GM crops? Let’s face it, farmers have been fiddling with plant breeding for yonks. But three times as much food to eat from the same space, how is that possible?

Right first time, antibiotics.

First used as a growth promoter in 1950 – and today fattening up livestock so much that round the world, 65,000 tons of agricultural antibiotics are swallowed by cows, pigs, chickens and sheep every year.

Yeah, well that’s the OTHER thing antibiotics do – they bulk up animal bodies – twice the size in half the time, on half the feed. From fresh-laid egg to a 1.5 kg supermarket chicken in six weeks – from new-born calf to a full-size Aberdeen Angus steer in one year instead of four.

Feeding the billions

Which is how come farmers can produce food enough for 7.3 billion hungry people from the same land once struggling to feed 2.5 billion.

Put in perspective, and looking at USA beef cattle production only, 1950s technology would require an additional 165 million acres to produce the same amount of beef, an area about the size of Texas – 20% of mainland America.

Or as the Yanks like to boast, 25% of the world’s beef from 10% of the world’s cattle.

It’s antibiotics make this possible – that compensate for the intensive battery-style living, the highly stressful over-crowding, the low level of hygiene from animals living on top of each other, the otherwise unavoidable breeding grounds for animal disease and infection.

Antibiotics in feedstuffs bulk animals up – and also keep them healthy in impossible conditions.

But animals are living metabolisms too – and just like us, the bacteria inside them develop resistance to the constant flow of antibiotics going through their bodies. Billions of times more likely than with humans – there are billions more of them.

Pan-resistance everywhere – antibiotics failure on a colossal scale.

Which means the day is coming when animals fall ill from the living environments they’re in – and with antibiotics no longer able to protect them, disease goes through their thousands and thousands like wildfire. Round the world, other food animals pick up the contagion, sicken and die.

Plants too, suffer the same antibiotics resistance, succumbing to the many types of blight and other disease that fruit, vegetable and grain crops are prone to.

Hunger and famine

Without food, 7.5 billion start feeling hungry.

Never mind AMR, it’s FAMINE that’s going to get us. With no way out, except for a lucky few – in a world surrounded by dying animals and vegetation.

Impossible, surely?

You mean inevitable. Antibiotics resistance is a fact. In medical circles, it is already an emergency. And AMR is already widely reported across agriculture. Total failure is already on the cards.

OK, so several billion of us aren’t going to make it.

Those that do will have to live in a world without antibiotics. So will the animals, out in the open where they belong, not cooped up in jail for us humans. And for every living thing there’ll be no more miracle drugs.

Just as 100 years ago, a simple scratch or mouthful of iffy food could be the last of us. So it’s back to Victorian-style carbolic and scrub, meticulous hand-washing hygiene before and after every activity as our first line of protection.

We will certainly need it. After seven decades of constant antibiotics ourselves – in our medicine and from the foods we eat – our immune systems are weaker than they ever were, less robust, less resilient – our internal gut bacteria ravaged by the same antibiotics supposed to be so beneficial.

Get out of jail free

Which means hygiene around us will be critical too. At home, in our workplaces, in all the enclosed spaces where we group together, vulnerable to each other’s germs and the normal germs on everything around us.

Fortunately, a Hypersteriliser can keep our surroundings sterile – making them safe with misted hydrogen peroxide that kills all viruses and bacteria by oxidation. Kinda like external antibiotics, but without the downside.

And yes, we will fight back. We won’t have antibiotics, but we will have phages – go-getter body VIRUSES that attack harmful bacteria – a therapy that has been used in the former Soviet Union for even longer than antibiotics. Not back to the future, but forward to the past.

We SHALL overcome.

Picture Copyright: goodluz / 123RF Stock Photo

So are doctors the cause of our obesity epidemic?

Shocked doctor
But antibiotics are only supposed to SAVE lives, not make them miserable

Impossible.

Unthinkable.

And quite rightly, any doctor would be horrified.

But there IS an obesity epidemic, yes. And SOMETHING must have caused it.

Everyone getting bigger

Every day, we’re visibly getting fatter, bulging like we never have before. Right now one third of the world’s adult population is overweight – TWO-THIRDS in the UK. Even a third of our PRIMARY SCHOOL children are overweight. We seem to have no control over eating ourselves bigger – and doctors are seriously worried.

Yes sure, lifestyle, fast foods and sugary drinks are certainly contributors. Lack of exercise too.

But why now? What’s the trigger?

How come we’re all fat now and fifty years ago we weren’t?

They had fast food back then. And Coke by the tanker-load.

Grandpa’s recurring childhood memory includes his first-ever McDonald’s hamburger and fries – twenty-five cents at a drive-up in Dixwell Avenue, Hamden, Connecticut, back in 1958. None of the family were fat then, or for the next forty years. But everybody chubbed out in the last fifteen, since coming back to UK – and UK food.

Yeah, so, a bunch of fatsos. Because like it or not, bulked up like that we’re inevitably at higher risk of cancer, heart disease, strokes, osteoarthritis, asthma and a slew of other serious illnesses – all the legacy of type 2 diabetes, the price most of us pay for obesity.

Eating ourselves bigger – eating ourselves sick – and wondering how the hell it’s happening.

And every day overlooking the one cause repeatedly proven to make it happen.

The antibiotics villain

Antibiotics.

Only available on prescription – only available from doctors.

Wha…? Antibiotics made us fat?

Better believe it – and lucked a whole load of other illnesses on us too. All without our knowing it.

Even our hard-pressed and over-worked doctors seldom seem to make the connection. They might hear nagging voices about superbugs becoming resistant to antibiotics, but GPs are still doling them out as fast as patients come in through the door.

Part of that is our own fault of course. We all know the hype that antibiotics are miracle drugs for fighting disease and infection. So every visit to the Doc, we demand our miracle muti. We have a mind-set that they’re the only REAL medicine. A bit like our other hype, about antiseptics – if they don’t sting like crazy, they’re not working.

Yeah, so the Doc gets bulldozed into prescribing them – who’s going to argue with a size 18 mother with two kids in a double baby-carrier when she gets aggro? Which is why around 1 in 4 prescriptions for antibiotics written today is completely unnecessary.

Little Joey has a sniffle, so ten million needless medications are supplied for the most powerful drugs of all time. The same miracle-workers without which most of modern medicine wouldn’t be possible – triple bypasses, brain surgery – or routine procedures like hip replacement and C-sections.

Yeah, AND…

Nothing can ever be allowed to go wrong with little Joey – who will grow up like the average teenager and probably go through ten courses of antibiotics by the time she’s 16.

But here’s the kicker. Give babies antibiotics four times before they’re two – and chances are they’ll be obese by the time they’re five.

Whoops.

Proof everywhere

Your Doc might not be aware of this – too busy trying to keep people well. But the proof stares all of us in the face every time we go shopping at Tesco.

Check out the chicken in the chiller aisle. Large 2 kg roaster for only £4.50. Five weeks ago, that was an egg – OK, probably longer, it takes around 10 days for the supply chain to reach the shops.

It’s still a miracle. Five weeks from hatching to a full-grown bird. And all done with antibiotics. Take your pick from chlortetracycline, procaine penicillin, oxytetracycline, tylosin, bacitracin, neomycin sulfate, streptomycin, erythromycin, linomycin, oleandomycin, virginamycin, or bambermycin – just a short list of the antibiotics used in livestock production.

Not exactly chicken feed are they?

Except they are. Because farmers have known for yonks that antibiotics bulk up livestock faster for less. Just like humans, small doses in early life stimulate development. Bigger, better – and they can be kept indoors – not so sanitary, but way more intense – thousands and thousands of them all under one roof. Behold the factory farm.

Which is why antibiotics are used around the world way more than in any doctor’s surgery.

In the US, MORE THAN 75% of all antibiotics are used on the farm. In the UK, it’s not quite so bad, just 45% – but that’s still 420 tonnes a year.

Which is how it’s possible to go from an egg to a 2 kg roasting chicken in just five weeks. Spectacular? You bet. And the whole world has known about it for at least half a century.

“In 1955, a crowd gathered in a hotel ballroom to watch as feed salesmen climbed onto a scale; the men were competing to see who could gain the most weight in four months, in imitation of the cattle and hogs that ate their antibiotic-laced food. Pfizer sponsored the competition.” New York Times Sunday Review “The Fat Drug”

Not all bad… we hope

OK, to be fair, farmers do try to reduce our exposure to animal-fed antibiotics before they’re sold to us. By law all animals for market have to go through a withdrawal period of two weeks or more – no antibiotics in their feed to be sure they metabolise out of their systems.

But they’re in there anyway. And in us too – bulking us up, just like them.

Because while the farmer might stop ADDING doses in their food, those same animals are gobbling up grass and grain feeds already fertilised by their own antibiotics-laden manure. Plus, since plants are not regulated the same way as animals, there’s heavy antibiotics use in vegetable and grain crops too.

It doesn’t stop there. Because the antibiotics leach into the soil and so into our river systems, so that our very water supply is laced with them as well.

No wonder we’re fat!

The killers

We’re not as healthy was we used to be either. Because making us fat isn’t all that antibiotics do.

At the brutal business end, they work by killing bacteria, mostly in our digestive tract. And just like insecticides working against different bugs, some antibiotics work better at killing particular bacteria types more than others.

But they all work by destruction.

That’s kind of disastrous for our bodies. Because scientists are now discovering that our internal bacteria are vital to our existence. In fact our microbiota – the 100 trillion plus bacteria colonising our gut – seems to regulate and control our bodies’ life balance far more than we realised.

It’s like our bodies are the hardware – and our gut bacteria are the software that enable us to operate – our internal OS and a whole load of supporting apps that regulate hunger, help us digest, produce proteins, even control our immune systems.

The whole shebang is inherited from our Mums and installed as a new iteration on our own systems in the womb and through the act of birth. If we have a C-section delivery, some of that info is glitched or not properly installed, so our strength and resilience against hostile outside bacteria might not be as powerful as it should.

The same with antibiotics – which explode in our gut like a hydrogen bomb, killing bad bacteria along with the good ones – screwing up our delicate settings and throwing everything out of balance. Yup, you got it – that’s why antibiotics themselves sometimes make us sick while we’re taking them – we’re all out of whack.

Never the same again

Yeah, the system recovers – our bacteria have learned to survive over millions of years, far longer than we’ve ever existed. We DO get better.

The downside is that we never get back to where we were, we don’t reset to 100%. Exactly like running a fix program which corrects problems – but strips out a load of operating apps while it does so, leaving half of our stuff inaccessible or unusable. Like the switches that tell us when we’ve had enough to eat are graunched, we gobble compulsively. Or we develop a load of allergies we never had before.

On top of that, this thing snowballs the longer it goes on.

We’re getting antibiotics from two sources – the stuff our Doc prescribes because we’re sick – and the steady drip, drip background dose coming through in everything we eat – fast food or health stuff, meat or vegetarian – every mouthful we bite or sip.

Say that knocks you back 20% by the time you’re 25 – the time to start a family. 20% less resilient, not all you could be. Tough on your kids, but you’ll make it.

OK, so we’re nearly three generations down since the 1950s – when all this antibiotics hoo-ha began. 20% for you, 20% for your Mum, 20% for her Mum before her.

Whoh, 60%! – an exaggeration of course, but it underlines the point – we’re not as healthy as we were, we get sick more easily, being overweight is just part of it.

Hoo boy! What a Pandora’s box!

But back in the 1950s, medical science had no idea antibiotics could do such damage. All they saw was people getting better and animals getting bigger – without connecting the two.

Yeah, they DID foresee the possibility of antibiotic resistance and the rise of superbugs. But now superbugs are everywhere and antibiotics as germ-fighters are rapidly becoming useless. Will that be enough reason to stop using them?

Because the disaster keeps getting bigger – not knowing what’s coming, more and more out of control – like that other tragedy also from the 1950s, childhood deformities from thalidomide.

So what can we do?

Our own Chief Medical Officer, Dr Dame Sally Davies has already spelled it out – rediscover hygiene. Make being clean and staying clean a Number One Priority, because if our resistance is really 60% down, we need all the help we can get.

Which means washing hands – before and after everything. Keeping our living space safe from germs too – sterilising the air and everything around us once a day, once a week or whatever with a Hypersteriliser. We might be health wimps, but we’re not going to go easily.

Should we blame the doctors? Hey, all they’re trying to do is save lives.

Besides, remember that one accusing finger means there’s three pointing back at ourselves. It’s all of us who should take the heat – particularly for our greed. We wanted bigger, better fatter – well now we’ve got it – in spades. Super-obesity here we come.

Unless of course you grow your own, drink bottled water, and live in a bath tub.

Good health to you all!