Tag Archives: ghrelin

Your child’s sure-fire obesity starter – getting antibiotics before age 2

Chubby girl
Predictable obesity: give them antibiotics before they’re two and they’ll be obese by the time they’re five. Photo by Jakub Kriz on Unsplash

Good, healthy children – the last thing any parent thinks about is a problem with obesity.

Sure, our kids are everything in the world. Which is why we watch them like a hawk, especially in their formative years.

Bringing up little angels

Lots of fresh air and outdoors. Out and about, playing in the dirt, developing the immunities their bodies will need later. Scrubbing the dirt off in regular bath-times. Good, wholesome food and proper mealtimes. Sound, peaceful sleep and lots of it.

Everything we can think of to grow up strong and healthy. And at the first sign of anything wrong, off to the Doc in the very next second – nothing is too urgent or important for our little sweethearts.

Except that’s exactly where things can go pear-shaped.

We’re not doctors ourselves, so at the first sign of anything we panic. We need reassurance, demand action, and refuse to march out without medicine.

So the Doc writes a scrip, very often for antibiotics – because that’s what we know about and will get us out of her hair. Us parents can get quite bolshy sometimes, and no doctor needs the extra PT. Then it’s down to the chemist for amoxicillin or something. Anything, as long as it works – and never a thought about obesity.

Good bacteria, bad bacteria

Things is, a lot of the time antibiotics just aren’t necessary. We might stampede the Doc into giving us some, but unless the treatment is for something bacterial, antibiotics won’t do a dickie-bird.

Not a dickie-bird about whatever the infection is, of course. Because they’re sure doing something to those little insides, you can count on it.

You see, antibiotics do one thing – and that is, kill bacteria.

Bacteria bad, right? That’s why we pressure the Doc into prescribing something to fight them.

There’s only one problem.

We NEED bacteria to stay alive. And not all bacteria are bad. In fact, most of them are very definitely good. Because billions and billions of years ago, our bodies made a partnership with good bacteria to handle most of the grunt work of living, leaving us to get on and have a good time.

As a result, we’re not all human at all – we’re half alien. Of all the cells in our bodies, about 50% are actually bacteria. And down in our gut there are about 100 trillion of them of different types. And all with a purpose – among their many roles, digesting food, creating proteins and managing our immune systems.

Hydrogen bomb

Which makes taking antibiotics a bit like dropping a hydrogen bomb when they get to our gut. Millions and millions of them die – not just the bad ones causing us grief, but a lot of the good ones as well. A broad spectrum antibiotic like amoxycillin is not choosy about WHICH bacteria it kills – it just kills as many as possible.

All of which is catastrophic to developing young bodies.

Bacteria learn from each other, so a lot of the immunities we have are inherited from our mothers – her bacteria teaching ours what to do and how to protect themselves. And how to cope with new hazards like mud and dog poo when we go crawling round, exploring.

Bang, a lot of these bacteria are lost when the antibiotic hits. Some are very populous and reproduce very quickly. Others are rarer, and suffer major setbacks – perhaps the cause of diarrhoea or other side effects. Others are gone completely, never to return – whatever immunities they gave us don’t exist any more.

So how does this impact obesity?

Obesity control jammed ON

Well, among the many things that bacteria control are our hormones.  And most important of these from an obesity viewpoint are ghrelin and leptin.

Ghrelin is the one that tells our brain that we are hungry, it’s time to eat, let’s have some food – the ON switch for our appetite. Leptin is the opposite, telling us we’ve had enough, time to stop eating – the OFF switch.

Take a hit of antibiotics and the two are thrown out of balance. The ghrelin appetite switch remains jammed full ON, and the leptin switch stops working altogether. Result, there’s nothing to stop us eating till we pop. Obesity, here we come.

Bad news for our kids.

There we are rushing in to the Doc, because they have a fever, earache, or any one of a whole slew of childhood infections. Down the hatch with the antibiotics, and they’re off on the slippery slope.  Because as medical experts are starting to find out, children given antibiotics by the age of two are more likely to be obese by the time they’re five.

Follow that up with further treatments – from toddlers to teenagers to young adults – so that by the time they reach twenty, most of our kids have been exposed to antibiotics SEVENTEEN times.

Anti-obesity plans don’t work

That’s 17 times their ghrelin switch has been jammed ON again – and 17 times their leptin safety switch has been made unserviceably OFF. So they eat and eat, with no restriction, only stopping when over-stretched stomachs make them uncomfortable enough to stop. Which is why the recent schools test in the Midlands with healthier lunches and more exercise got absolutely nowhere.

Overeating CAUSED by antibiotics, the sure road to obesity.

Don’t believe it?

A key side effect of antibiotics is that they make things grow – the leptin switch broken in the OFF position, remember?

Which is why in food production, antibiotics are key to hitting the jackpot. Small doses given to cattle, pigs and poultry accelerate their growth – from egg to roasting chicken in six weeks, from new-born calf to Aberdeen Angus steak in just 12 months.

Super-big business for farmers around the world. And you’d better believe it. Today, antibiotics use in food production now tops 240,000 TONNES annually. To feed the 19 billion chickens, 1.4 billion cattle, 1 billion sheep and 1 billion pigs that currently feed US.

Antibiotics with every meal

So it’s not just from medicines that our kids get antibiotics. They’re gobbling up residues in every meal they eat, small traces in their meat and even in their vegetables – exactly like farm animals being fattened up for market.

As you can see by looking at them!

Of course antibiotics as growth boosters in meat are not allowed. Except that modern factory farms are so crowded and unhygienic, antibiotics HAVE to be given or animals will die. Farmers MUST withdraw doses several weeks before market so that residues fall to zero. Because we might catch superbugs, killer bacteria that have learned how to resist antibiotics, for which there is no cure.

Good thinking, but doomed to failure. Because animals still have to eat – and the feedstuffs they get are all fertilised by their own manure, laced through with earlier doses of antibiotics, because they poo out 80% of the nutrients they eat.

Which means it’s not just our kids getting fat. It’s us too. Look around and you’ll realise that two-thirds of us adults are already overweight or into obesity.

Doom and gloom?

So what’s to be done? Are we doomed to get fatter and fatter, until we explode?

Pretty much, as there is no escaping from antibiotics. If farmers were to stop using them, there wouldn’t be enough food for the world and billions of us would starve.

Ironic, no? World famine, for a condition that makes us to overeat.

Which is what the REAL problem is – overeating. Not junk food or sugary drinks – just gutsing ourselves on too much of them. On all that yummy high -energy food – if it were bad for us it would make us ill, wouldn’t it?

And there we are, wondering why we’re starting to bulge.

Two ways out of that. Fit a gastric band, or voluntarily make a conscious effort to eat less.

Two choices, neither of them pleasant.

But it’s either that or obesity, BIG TIME.

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.

What if we could sue the people who make us fat?

Red card girl
It’s not your fault you’re fat, but there’s plenty you can blame

We’re not naturally fat. None of us are.

Either we have a medical condition. Or something makes us that way.

Basically eating too much. And our bodies absorbing it without need.

Except nobody is fat by choice. Going for the most fattening foods and scoffing double helpings.

Mind-controlled gluttons

Most of the time, we’re not even aware of it. Unconsciously chowing down more than we should.

Not knowingly, or of our own free will. Just driven by our bodies.

So what makes our bodies demand more than they should?

The hunger feeling is real and won’t go away – yet we’ve already had enough to satisfy us.

It’s like we’re being fattened up. Like turkeys before Christmas, fattening up for market.

There is a difference.

We’re just eating – or at least think we are.

But turkeys are deliberately dosed with growth boosters along with their feed. The same growth boosters fed to all commercial livestock – chickens, cattle, pigs, sheep, even fish. Stepped up and more concentrated over the  last twenty years. But used by livestock farmers worldwide since the early 50s.

They’re all bulked up by regular micro-doses of antibiotics.

Which means so are we. And our daily exposure to antibiotics is total – the most successful growth boosters of all time.

The real Hunger Games

Drip-drip, the ghrelin hormone that switches on our hunger is super-stimulated, permanently set to ON. At the same time, the OFF hormone leptin is over-ridden, so we never know when we’ve had enough.

On top of that, the accelerated digestion in our gut works more efficiently, extracting more nutrients than our systems are able to process, storing the excess as fat. We still excrete the extra nutrients we don’t need, but retain far more than we should.

The cows and pigs and chickens do the same. Pooing out around 80% of the food value they eat – along with traces of all the vitamin additives and medicines in their systems, including antibiotics.

Their poo becomes manure, used directly or indirectly as fertiliser to enrich the soil and stimulate plant growth. Cereal crops, grain, fruit and vegetables are all accelerated in the same way. So there’s antibiotics in them too.

As there is in the grass, mown hay and feedstuff crops fed BACK to the same animals – more antibiotics micro-doses to quicken their systems and bulk them up faster.

Which means continuous micro-doses of antibiotics in all of our own food – meat and vegetables – the most successful growth booster of al time. Constantly ingested by our bodies with every meal we eat.

Fattening up like turkeys? That’s exactly what we are.

External influences changing our bodies without our knowledge – and certainly without our permission.

The blame game

So who should we sue for being fattened against our will?

The farmers? The antibiotics manufacturing companies?

Possibly, though they’re only doing their job.  Our personal concerns are not even on their radar.

They are to our health authorities though – and they’re hardly unaware of the problem.

Not a day goes by without somebody from Public Health England or DEFRA or the Food Standards Agency voicing alarm about antibiotic resistance.

Our miracle drugs aren’t performing as well as they did because superbug bacteria are becoming immune to them. They’re learning resistance through overuse and abuse of antibiotics across the board.

Over-prescribed by doctors and used in industrial quantities by agriculture. 240,000 tonnes a year worldwide – accelerating to nearly another 70% by 2030.

Which says, yes – our health authorities KNOW about antibiotics used as growth boosters. But their focus is on the medical implications of antibiotic resistance.

Cue much hand wringing and corporate crocodile tears.

Our health authorities also KNOW we have a fat problem. From their own statistics they alert us to a growing epidemic – that two thirds of British adults are already overweight or obese, as well as one third of children.

Insider information

They also KNOW the implications of obesity. The long, slow slide towards asthma, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Snowballing costs for the NHS accounting for 30 million deaths currently – versus just 700,000 for antibiotic resistance.

30 million deaths – half the population of the country – isn’t anybody minding the store?

And they know it’s a problem. Our Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies herself, warns that obesity is a threat as serious as terrorism.

Nice try, but not even close. According to the Global Terrorism Database, only 90 people died in terrorist attacks between 2000 and 2015.

Stack that up against the 30 million likely to die from obesity they are carrying right now.

Which gives us a lot of leeway, deciding who’s answerable.

Because though it never occurs to us, a lot of people know that antibiotics make us fat. And they can’t evade that responsibility, just like the tobacco industry can’t claim smoking is not a health risk.

Truth avoidance

The truth is that antibiotics make us fat.

Health authorities know, government knows, drug companies know and farmers know.

Just possibly supermarkets know and fast food chains as well. It’s the fashion now to claim foods are antibiotics-free.

As if.

One thing’s for certain though. We’re off the hook blaming ourselves for being fat.

We might be oversize, but this is a blame game we’re not playing.

Picture Copyright: thesupe87 / 123RF Stock Photo and studioloco / 123RF Stock Photo

Being fat is not natural – it’s because we constantly OD on antibiotics

Doughnut girl
Not natural to OD. Those cravings are not natural either – they’re put there by antibiotics

Believe all you like about sugar and junk foods. Our whole lives we OD on the most efficient fat booster ever invented.

It’s antibiotics that make us fat, guaranteed. And we keep taking them every day, with every mouthful, willy-nilly. OD is right.

Huh? Antibiotics?

You bet.

Because farmers found out a long time ago that antibiotics promote growth extra-fast, extra-big. So now they get shovelled into farm animals like there’s no tomorrow.

240,000 tonnes a year at last count.

Not as a medicine – though that helps in the intense but unsanitary factory farms where the animals live.

No, no – as a super-performing fatten-up additive to feedstuff. From an egg to a roasting chicken in 6 weeks. Or from newborn calf to an Aberdeen Angus steak in 14 months.

Our daily OD

And that’s the same stuff we’re eating, with every mouthful we take. Our daily OD.

How come?

Because there’s antibiotics in the meat that those animals provide. And in the manure they produce. 80% of what they eat is excreted as waste – to enrich the soil and provide fertiliser.

So there’s antibiotics in the grass those same animals eat too – and their feed crops. Plus everything else that grown with “natural” fertiliser too. Which means grain crops, vegetables, fruit, salady stuff. Even vegetarians chow down antibiotics. They OD too.

Jackpot for the farmers. A massive problem for the rest of us – literally.

Because it’s overuse of antibiotics in agriculture that’s accelerating lethal superbugs that our medical miracle drugs can’t cure.

And the other headache – antibiotic resistance

If you haven’t heard of antibiotic resistance, you will soon. Because next time you’re ill or have an accident, there’s a strong chance any antibiotics used to keep you alive won’t work. The superbugs are immune – and one after another, our top performing antibiotics are proving useless against them.

Which includes colistin – a drug that medics call an antibiotic of last resort – the one docs use when all else fails.

Colistin is not new. It first hit pharmacy shelves in 1959. And it wasn’t so amazing either – toxic to the kidneys. So it sat around for years, not much used. Which means bacteria had little chance to develop resistance to it.

An old drug, not much used – that made it effective when a whole new crop of antibiotic resistant bacteria pitched up. Take that, you varmint, bang! And people got well.

Being old made it cheap as well. So of course farmers grabbed hold of it as soon as they knew. Right now, today, there’s a ker-chunk, ker-chunk factory in China producing 10,000 TONS OF IT a year.

The 10,000 ton OD

10,000 TONS of our last ditch lifesaver! All going into pigs and chickens – to make bigger, fatter livestock – and bigger, fatter Chinese.

Because our metabolisms are basically no different to animals’. So inevitably we will get fat too, as our gut-bacteria is graunched out of proper balanced operation.

First those antibiotics will boost ghrelin, a bacteria-produced hormone that triggers appetite. Then they choke off leptin, another bacteria-produced hormone that suppresses appetite when we’ve had enough. Ready to OD on food as well as antibiotics.

With nothing to stop us going for second helpings, we climb in without realising. Double ham and eggs, double burger and chips, it happens before we know it.

And just like the animals, our bodies start ABSORBING more than they should – becoming more efficient at extracting nutrients from the food we eat. Except we don’t need that stuff – and we’ve eaten too much anyway.

And THAT’S where the spare tyre comes from – not what we eat, or how much we eat, but what we physically take in. Basically TOO MUCH.

OD antibiotics and OD food.

Not natural at all and a major headache for doctors worldwide. Because one of these days we will wake up and no MEDICAL antibiotics will work at all.

No more heart bypasses, hip operations, C-section childbirths, nothing. You could even die from infection caused by a paper cut. Back to the Dark Ages.

Plus of course, fat becomes obesity – and we’re on the road to diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Oops – which means antibiotics are killing us more than rescuing us.

Time to find alternatives. Herbal remedies if that works for you – or a whole different kind of science.  Our money’s on phages – but that’s a whole other story.

Let’s hope it happens soon. Two thirds of us Brits are now overweight or obese – and a third of our kids.

No more ODs – we’re fed up with being fat.

Picture Copyright: jayfish / 123RF Stock Photo

You really want to sue for fast food making you fat?

Gob-stopper
Sentenced to obesity – driven by antibiotics

Actually sue?

Just don’t bite off more than you can chew.

Because if any Tom, Dick or Nina walks in off the street and orders a burger, you don’t see them get fat do you? They don’t get fat tomorrow either, or the next day – so it’s not a residual thing.

Time to get real

One burger won’t make you fat. Twenty burgers might.

But it’s not the burger people forcing them on you is it? It’s you, ordering however many you’re lusting after.

Of your own free will. It’s you eating them too. Nobody’s holding a gun to your head.

So why are you fat?

You never used to be like this. Always ate responsibly, good balanced meals. Stayed off the fast food too. A burger maybe once a blue moon. So how come this sudden ballooning up to Size 18?

Yes, you are what you eat, but most of the time it’s salad. Cottage cheese maybe, dry bread crackers. Where’s the fatness in that? It’s not fair, your body’s not meant to be like this. Someone has to pay.

Hold that thought – your body’s not meant to be like this.

No it isn’t. But it’s not the burger people’s fault.

Nor is it yours.

Nor is it any of the two-thirds adult population of Britain who are reluctantly becoming overweight, hating every second of their unwanted, unjustified and entirely blameless obesity.

Blameless?

But aren’t those people fat because they eat too much? Pigging out on junk food all the time, no self control, careless people who let themselves go?

Not like you at all.

The unexpected truth

Actually, exactly like you. And yes, entirely blameless.

It’s perfectly true most of them eat too much. You may well find your own body dragging you that way soon enough. You eat like a bird now, but the terrible cravings will come and your system will demand it. Power up for a big effort ahead, rest ready for the big push.

Except the effort never comes and the lazing around becomes indulgent. Overnight you’re a couch potato.

NO!

No wonder you feel like suing. And maybe you should. Because SOMETHING has made you fat, you were never this way before. Somebody ought to pay.

Might be difficult to make it stick though. Because the SOMETHING that’s made you fat is antibiotics. Not the stuff you get from the Doc, though that could have triggered the start of it all.

Unseen growth promoters

We’re talking the stuff you unknowingly eat every day, contained within your ordinary meals – the background antibiotics present in nearly all farm-produced foods – regularly fed to livestock as a prophylactic to stop them getting ill, but really shovelled in because they’re proven growth promoters.

You’re getting fat from the same source that fattens up farm animals for market. From the manure they produce that’s used  to grow everything else – fruit, vegetables, grain crops, animal feed – laced through with growth-boosting antibiotics, without the farmer or anyone else knowing a thing about it.

The antibiotics mess with your gut bacteria, upsetting the fine balance that controls digestion, your immune system and yes, hunger control.

When you’re hungry, your bacteria produce ghrelin, a hormone that tells the brain it’s time to eat, the tank is empty. When you’re full they produce leptin, which says that’s enough, stop, the tank is full.

Hunger Glitch

 

Trouble is, with constant exposure to antibiotics, your system becomes resistant to leptin causing the brain to ignore the STOP signals. The ghrelin hunger signal is still loud and clear, causing you to crave food – high octane stuff that can fill you up, the sooner the better.

Fast food junkies

Which is where the addiction to fast food comes from. Not junk food at all, the body knows it’s the fastest way to to get high powered energy. But eat all that stuff when there’s no real demand and that power has got to go somewhere.

You bulk up, not meaning to, and hate yourself doing it – “junk food” is your way of showing it contempt. But to a starving child a Big Mac is a nutritious bonanza, the quickest way back to healthy living again.

OK, so who are you going to sue? You bought food in good faith, thinking it was healthy, unaware it was loaded with antibiotics. Maybe you should sue the supermarkets.

Except wait a minute, they can’t afford people like you raising health issues – and they probably don’t know either. They bought from suppliers in good faith that their produce was healthy. Look how quickly they whip things off the shelves if there’s the slightest alarm – products recalled for impurities, contamination, deterioration, insecure packaging. They should sue their suppliers.

It’s always the poor farmer that gets it in the neck isn’t it? Yes, he uses antibiotics – and has to account for them meticulously with every animal he sells. Has to keep records that prove antibiotics were withdrawn from diet for a safe period before sale. He uses them in good faith that they’re safe. He should sue the manufacturers.

How far do you take this? The manufacturer sells antibiotics in good faith that they will be used properly and responsibly – world demand is currently anywhere between 63,000 tonnes and 240,000 tonnes. There are hungry people to feed, how can they be culpable? It’s the politicians who are responsible, sue them.

Yeah, right. Sue politicians. Like when is that ever going to work? Best you can do is vote them out – then get down to the gym and switch to salad. Yeah, you’re fat and it’s not your fault, but it’s unlikely you’ll nail anyone for criminal negligence.

At least you know sweat will work – no pain, no gain. And you won’t be fat any more.

Good luck, we’re on the treadmill next to you.

Picture Copyright: poznyakov / 123RF Stock Photo

Sugar tax, yay! Now let’s watch obesity accelerate

Overweight and pigging out
Think fat people WANT to be fat?
Hey Jamie, wait till you’re a Size 18 too.

Congratulations Jamie, congratulations all, sugar tax is going to happen.

All those nasty drinks that everyone hates so much are going to go up in price, people will a stop buying, everyone will get thinner, yay!

As if.

Just like cigarettes

Exactly like they did when a packet of fags cost 7/6 in old money – £10 and more now, more than 25 times times the price. Because smoking is BAD, yeah? So look at the keep-fit celebs secretly puffing away to maintain that super-trim bod. Are we back to the dark days of using cigarettes to reduce weight?

Yeah, but sugar tax works. Look at Mexico. The sugar tax there cut sales by 12%.

Like wow.

Cut SALES by 12%, NOT obesity. Seriously clever.

The highest rate of overweight people in the world and an estimated 10 million with diabetes. Sugary drinks BAD. But nobody ever asks WHY so many people are drinking the stuff.

Muddied waters

Know much about Mexico? A hot country, right? A lot of it desert, or semi-desert. Dry, dry, dry – the definition of arid. Tropical temperatures. Not a place to get thirsty. Keep yourself properly hydrated, or die.

Ah yes, and how about the water? Until a few years ago, to be avoided like the plague. Full of noxious organisms and bugs – instant illness. As the Kingston Trio sang in Coplas back in 1958 – tell your parents not to muddy the water around us, they may have to drink it soon.

OK, so they chlorinated it – heavily. So if the pipes aren’t too rusty, maybe you can drink it – if you can stand the taste. Oh, and the local bottled water tends to be ropey too.

Hmm, so a lot of Mexicans reckon it’s safer to drink Coke. The Coca Cola Company has a lot to lose – and it’s easier trust a big Americano company with something when you take the cap off yourself.

So you’re Mexican, you drink Coke and you’re fat. Never touch the water. But you’re not writhing on the ground with stomach cramps – and better believe it, try a hot taco with enchilada sauce you’ll know that Mexicans have cast-iron stomachs.

And they’re obese anyway, including those who don’t drink Coke. But they’re not stupid either, they know the sugar connection. So aside from the big thirst of a dry country, WHY do their bodies crave sugar to such levels?

Why does ANYONE’S body crave food that it knows is not right and in such excess?

Wrong body language

Something’s wrong, right? Because we might not be Mexicans, but our bodies aren’t stupid either. Most of the time the benign and absolutely vital bacteria in our gut tell us what we need and our bodies react according – the brain is hardly even consulted.

Yet obese people crave super sweet drinks and high energy foods like they’re preparing for a major physical challenge in Arctic conditions, even though there’s no sign of one. The body is getting mixed signals, why?

Those vital gut bacteria produce two crucial hormones, ghrelin and leptin – the on/off control for the body’s appetite. In obese people, the ghrelin switch is jammed ON and the leptin switch for OFF is not recognised because something has glitched the bacteria.

So what glitches bacteria? Not sugar, that’s for sure. The bacteria digest it with no trouble, but absorb way more than they ever should without ever signalling STOP, SATISFIED. They’ve become leptin resistant.

No, not sugar. Between Jamie and Westminster, they got it all wrong. Because the one thing DESIGNED to kill and damage bacteria that ALL of us are regularly dosed with is antibiotics.

Guaranteed obesity

Antibiotics? All of us?

Oh yeah. Antibiotics before two years old, overweight by five. And average teenagers today have been through at least twenty courses of medicinal antibiotics by the time they reach majority.

But that’s not even the half of it. Kids, teenagers, adults, we ALL ingest residual antibiotics from the food we eat. And guess what? Two thirds of us are overweight.

Because farmers have been using antibiotics to BOOST GROWTH of plant and livestock crops for the last 50 years, ramping up particularly in the last two decades with advances in factory farms and intense production methods.

Boost growth. That means MAKE FATTER.

From egg to full-grown roasting chicken in 6 weeks. From calf to Aberdeen Angus sirloin steak in 16 months instead of four years. And worldwide, farmers are currently using antibiotics at the rate of 65,000 tonnes a year to make this happen. They’re guaranteed to work for billions and billions of animals, why not us?

65,000 tonnes a year to make us fatter – because they’re in the food we eat – unchecked, unregulated and unhealthy. A bigger trigger than sugar could ever be. Pumping us up, even though many of us DON’T have a sweet tooth.

Like how many fat people do you know who eat almost nothing, exercise like crazy, but still stay fat anyway?

So yeah, a sugar tax to fight obesity. Brilliant. Cart before the horse and all that rubbish.

Come on, Jamie, get with the programme.

Because we’re all going to look pretty stupid when the tax comes in and our obesity epidemic lurches from bad to worse.

Picture Copyright: poznyakov / 123RF Stock Photo

Sorry Jamie, your Sugar Tax is complete nonsense

Dr NO
It’s not sugar, Jamie – you’re missing the point. We’ve got to stop antibiotics

You’ve got to respect Jamie Oliver.

A lot of talent, a lot of passion – and serious commitment to getting our kids onto a healthy diet.

You’ve got to admire his determination in pushing for a Sugar Tax too.

Something to fight for

Yes, our kids DO have too much sugar and pig out on junk food. Yes it is critical. And yes we need to do something about it.

But not a Sugar Tax – mainly because it won’t achieve anything.

You see, Jamie’s concern is that more and more kids are becoming obese – and that the wrong diet is bulking them up further – with all kinds of health problems threatening them in the near future.

Not wrong.

But here’s an analogy. A bath is filling up with water, it is going to overflow. But putting a tax on water is not going to stop it.

In our best Michael Caine accent, YOU HAVE TO TURN THE BLOODY TAP OFF!

Address the cause, not the condition. Ask the question why those kids are on such risky diets – and how come they got there in the first place. Because a lot of things about this issue don’t add up.

Check the numbers

For a start, UK’s actual consumption of sugar, salt, fat and calories has been DROPPING for decades – sugar down 16% since 1992 and calories per head down 21% since 1974.

But despite these plunging totals, average adult body weight INCREASED by 2 kg, simultaneous with a drop in sugar per head of 7.4% and calories of 4.1%. And that’s according to a report sourced from the Office of National Statistics, DEFRA, the British Heart Foundation and others.

Wha…? You want to tax these people when sugar levels are going DOWN!

As a result, the same report – THE FAT LIE by Christopher Snowden – puts the bulking up of our kids and increase in obesity across the board down to a decline in physical activity at home and the workplace – NOT everybody gutsing out on sugar and fatty foods.

A whole slew of research medics are up in arms about that. LIES! they say. Misreporting, say the more reserved of them. People are careless with the truth when asked about their obesity, they deliberately say they eat less than they do.

Now hold on a minute. People are very embarrassed by their fatness. It’s very visible – and they can’t get away from it. It is hurtful to talk about and there are many, many of them in despair because they actually eat like a bird yet still get fat. Somehow their bodies are absorbing more, extracting a higher volume of energy out of their intake.

Only natural

That’s not how it’s supposed to be, is it? The human body is a brilliant creation and in its natural state does not make mistakes. We are not normally fat, nor do we naturally become fat.

In nature everything is balanced, so if we’re less active, we eat less food – the system evens out. Even hunting animals which gorge themselves after a kill don’t get fat. They know prey is scarce and that life is peaks and valleys – feast, famine, feast, famine. You never see an overweight tiger.

Which means something is definitely wrong which has nothing to do with sugar at all.

Why does the body deliberately go for quick-hit power-charge foods – burgers, pizza and energy-boosting drinks – and then go in into stand-by mode to conserve its strength by lying down or sprawling in front of the games console, physically doing nothing?

Somehow the system is on panic alert. It is saying Emergency, Emergency, Full Power At the Ready, Now! Now! Now!

Phantom hunger.

System glitch – fake hunger

But there is no emergency. The bath is overflowing – but the tap is still full throttle. Somewhere there’s a system glitch. Because suddenly going athletic won’t fix things either. Run 5 miles a day every day and the weight might drop off. But ease back on the exercise and it comes right back on again – ask the girls in tears who don’t fit their wedding dress.

There is a glitch too – and doctors already know what it is. Leptin resistance.

Leptin is a hormone produced by the bacteria in our gut – our personal teeming colony of vital microbes that digest our food and regulate our immune system, along with thousands of other necessary tasks. It’s the tap to turn things off, the biological switch that tells our bodies we’ve eaten enough, it’s time to stop.

All of us have leptin, but for some people their bodies somehow override its instruction. They are still driven by their ghrelin, another hormone that is the appetite ON switch. POWER UP, WE’VE GOT THINGS TO DO.

OK, so what causes leptin resistance? Doctors are still going round the houses on that one, with no conclusive answers.

Right in front of us – the invisible villain

But there is one cause staring us in the face that nobody’s taking notice of. The elephant in the room. Ask any farmer what makes modern farms so incredibly able to produce so much full-volume food so quickly and you will get a cracked smile.

The miracle growth booster they all use is antibiotics – first discovered in the 1950s and now pumped into animals and crops round the world at the rate of 65,000 tonnes a year. From egg to full-grown roasting chicken in 6 weeks. From calf to Aberdeen Angus sirloin steak in 1 year instead of four.

Growth booster, huh?

Isn’t that what’s happening to us? Residual antibiotics in the food we eat gets into our gut – and we balloon up, just like Farmer Brown’s cows and chickens. And more antibiotics in the manure they produce gets into all the plant crops we eat as well. We’re on the same fatteners that the animals are.

And guess what? We’re animals too.

Uh huh. Now for our obesity system glitch. Antibiotics do one thing. They kill bacteria. A life-saver if you’re sick and have an infection, but not so good for normal healthy bodies. Because antibiotics are not selective about what they kill – they just go in, shotgun blast, and take out everything around them.

Actually, not shotgun blast, more like hydrogen bomb. Devastating among the 100 trillion bacteria in our gut that work to keep our system going. Whole families get wiped out, others go on the fritz, no longer able to perform their vital tasks. Like responding to leptin SWITCH OFF signals.

Not sugar, antibiotics

There’s the tap Jamie, that’s why the bath is overflowing. Nothing to do with sugar at all. It’s antibiotics we’re not even aware of – unknown, unregulated, unmonitored and unhealthy. Our own miracle lifesavers turned into fatteners that are slowly getting to all of us – two thirds of adults today, tomorrow even super-zealous weed-thin vegans.

And that’s why the Sugar Tax makes no sense in tackling obesity. It feels right, but it doesn’t even begin to address the CAUSE. If we’re going to tax anything it should be antibiotics – however did we let them get away from strict medical supervision anyway?

But even tax isn’t enough. We need to stop exposure to antibiotics altogether – both from medical emergencies and daily top-ups from the food we eat. And we need to do it NOW. Dose a toddler just once with antibiotics before the age of two – and by five they’re already visibly overweight.

All of which means we genuinely ARE going to go hungry.

Because back in the 50s before antibiotics, there were 2½ billion of us world-wide and factory farms were unheard of. Today we’re pushing 7½ billion people, yet land under farming is still the same size. Three times more people to feed, only possible by growth boosting from antibiotics.

If we go back to all-natural farming – no antibiotics, no hormones, no pesticides, no nothing – 5 billion of us are going to go without food.

Now THERE’S a problem Jamie. You’re the cook, how on earth are we going to get round that? Go to one of your restaurants right now. Order a burger – from personal experience it’s healthy, wholesome and amazing. Not junk food.

After that looks like belt-tightening.

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Busted hunger switches? No wonder we’re all fat!

Happy Heavy
More food, more food, yay! With the OFF switch broken, we want the quickest most high-powered energy charge we can get

Never knew we had hunger switches?

Well we do. Two hormones produced by the bacteria we have in our gut.

The ON switch is ghrelin, which kicks in when we’re getting close to empty and tells the brain to go look for food.

The OFF switch is leptin, which tells us when we’ve had enough, stop eating, the tank is full. And there’s more well-researched stuff about leptin in the link from from Health Ambition editor Helen Sanders in the link below.

Proper balance

As long as these two are working OK, our bodies will be as they ought to be – agile, fit and slim – naturally choosing the right foods, eating just enough, enjoying exercise, feeling good.

Look around though, and a lot of us are having trouble with that OFF switch. Nearly two thirds of us are overweight or obese – and the rest of us are heading that way. Somehow our leptin levels are either too low, or it’s just not doing its stuff.

That triggers the brain’s self-preservation reflex, sending out signals to boost our energy sources. We feel them as hunger pangs and cravings – we’re starving, we’re starving – deliberately urging us to scavenge for and gobble up high-fat, high-sugar foods – the quickest and easiest energy charge to get us going again.

Couch potato time

At the same time the body gives us shut down messages – revert to stand-by, conserve energy, minimise all exercise – squashing any urge to go to the gym, or get up off the sofa and run. So it’s not just laziness, lying there parked off – your body is physically telling you not to.

Meanwhile, we’re sitting there porking out with two 2-litre bottles of Coke plus cod and double chips, watching the latest sugar porn on the Great British Bake Off.

Not good if you want to shift the pounds off. Like going bungee-jumping when your whole being is screaming NO-O-O-O-O! Diet all you like, unless you’re iron-willed like SAS veterans, your weight-loss efforts don’t really stand a chance. Even a gastric band won’t fix the cravings – as soon as it’s off, we need a KFC bucket.

Oops, leptin resistance

HealthAmbition Link
GET THE LOW-DOWN ON LEPTIN

So what’s wrong with the leptin switch? Why are we all gorging ourselves crazy, with our hunger reflexes jammed full-on?

Actually, do a leptin level check, and most of us will turn out normal. The leptin’s there to do its job, our systems just aren’t responding. Somehow, they’ve become leptin resistant.

Step forward histone deacetylase 5, otherwise known as HDAC5. One day it might become as familiar to us as DNA.

According to researchers at the Helmholtz Zentrum München, Technische Universität München and the German Centre for Diabetes Research, HDAC5 is an enzyme that corrects the brain so it reads leptin levels correctly.

Whoo-hoo! Switch off the hunger pangs, back to being thin again.

Well, maybe not quite yet. Researchers have isolated the enzyme – and they’ve tried it out on mice. Works a treat, they lose fat mass and body weight. They’re just several years shy of proving it to work on humans.

Uh huh.

So if HDAC5 is showing the way to the answer, what’s the cause? Maybe if we plug that hole, we can make the problem will go away anyway.

Fat hope.

The real gut gangster

Because the one cause of putting our gut bacteria on the fritz that all of us share is collective damage from antibiotics. And whichever way you cut it, every one of us is a mainlining antibiotics junkie.

Yeah, we all take antibiotics for sickness of one kind or another – at least one course a year for most of us – more if we’re hypochondriacs. But few of us ever realise we’re actually gulping down antibiotics all the time – for 50 years they’ve been agriculture’s No 1 growth booster for animals and plants. The animals eat them, they get fat, we eat the animals, we get fat too. Ditto for plants.

Which means every mouthful we take includes yet another dose of some miracle-drug deliberately used to fatten produce up. We’re fat because we’re constantly chowing down fatteners.

Sort of.

Another one bites the dust

Actually we’re fat because antibiotics work by killing bacteria. And every hit that winds up in our gut takes out another few thousand. Not good, even though we each have over 100 trillion down there in our digestive system – we need them for all kinds of things, including regulate our immune system.

But dump antibiotics in there and it’s like a hydrogen bomb. And the fall out? Lots of dead bacteria, a whole host of upsets our bodies have to cope with. Imagine someone going mad in the cockpit of a Boeing, flipping all the switches.

Yup, that’s how the leptin gets glitched, just like it does for Farmer Brown’s finest beef cows and chickens. Our appetites are on turbo and we dream of double sugar in the Great British Bake Off.

There’s lots of other things that glitch too – our daily dose of MORE antibiotics sees to that. Which means that we’re less healthy than we were – less able to resist infection, our immune systems under-powered and under strain. Every meal, another top-up.

Antibiotics – angels from hell

Which means, if we get sick, we ought to try to avoid antibiotics to get better – restrict them to intravenous, or a once-off emergency only – beyond that no way, they’ve already done enough damage.

Take that tactic and we must avoid getting sick in the first place. And the only way to do that is up our hygiene levels – wash our hands before and after everything, be meticulous about keeping things clean, wherever possible sterilising the area around us.

At least that’s easy. Hit the button on a Hypersteriliser and a fine mist of ionised hydrogen peroxide oxidises all viruses and bacteria in any room space – dead and gone, sterilised to nothing in around forty minutes. Totally safe.

Other than that, switch to organic food (no antibiotics) – and start exercising, whatever the body says.

We might be fat, but we don’t have to stay that way.

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It’s not your fault you’re fat, antibiotics are to blame

Fedup with workout
OK, so we’re all bulgier than we should be – don’t knock yourself out, it’s beyond your control

Right, not food you eat – the antibiotics you swallow.

Even though you might not taking them right now.

Because actually, you are – you just don’t know it.

We all are – every day.

Junkies, and we don’t know it

Because they’re in the food we eat. Put there to bulk up the meat we choose and the veg we prefer. In our bread, butter, milk and water too. Eggs too, of course.

Strictly speaking, we guess that does mean you’re getting fat from the food you eat. But not from the nutrition it gives – from the messing around it does to your digestive system, so you extract MORE food value than you’re meant too – over-riding your control of when to stop.

Truth is, that’s why antibiotics are a major part of food production – and have been for decades. They make ANIMALS bigger, better, faster – added to the food they eat. Now it’s happening to us, with the same result. They eat spiked feedstuff, we eat them, we get antibiotics too. Little bit by little bit, every single day.

Licence to print money

Which means – as you can imagine – on the farm, antibiotics are a goldmine. Without them, farmers would have to have acres of otherwise useless grazing space, animals spread out across fields and fields, growing up slowly in the fresh air and sunshine.

All very nice, but not good for business. Even charging double because it’s “organic”.

No, no, no – much better to herd all the animals indoors, out of the weather, closer together so they’re easier to breed and feed. A bit messy with so many of them all jammed in close together, not exactly healthy, pretty stressful too.

But never mind, antibiotics compensate for the high density conditions. None of them get sick because they’re on medicine already. And the amazing side effect is they get bigger and bigger and bigger – an overnight miracle. From egg to full-grown roasting chicken in 6 weeks. From calf to Aberdeen Angus sirloin steak in 1 year instead of four.

Yeah, so forget whatever your Doc might be using them for – antibiotics on the farm are the modern way of doing business, the failsafe that keeps factory farms going. Round the world they get used on an industrial scale – in China alone, 162,000 tonnes a year according to this report –  half the world’s intake.

Which means the actual figure is twice that – 324,000 tonnes.

Still think you’re not on antibiotics?

Yeah, well everybody’s got to eat. And with a world population of 7.5 billion, that means a dose of around 450 milligrams for every man, woman and child on the planet – four times the strength your Doc would probably put you on, if you had an ailment.

Lifesavers that kill

And have you any idea what antibiotics do to your innards?

Basically, they only do one thing – kill bacteria. Which is good if you have an infection or disease, they kill the bacteria that’s causing it, you get better.

Hold up there, that’s not the full story.

Antibiotics kill bacteria, right? That means pretty well ALL bacteria they come in contact with, unless it’s a type that’s built up a resistance.

And guess what? Down in your gut, there are hundreds of trillions of bacteria – all vital to enabling digestion, producing proteins, regulating your immune system, and a zillion other things. One antibiotics pill releasing in that lot and it’s mass murder – whole tribes wiped out, crucial clans damaged or impaired, the whole balance gone for a ball of chalk.

But your body needs those guys to be healthy and resilient – as many and diverse as possible to meet all the challenges to expect in your lifetime. Except they’re not healthy and resilient, are they? They’re busted and broken, whole squadrons missing – including the ones that control appetite, producing ghrelin to start eating and leptin to stop.

A busted flush

Yeah, to put it mildly, you’re stuffed out of sight – nutrition intake system jammed on full throttle. Unless you’re fully aware of what your body keeps asking, you find yourself eating with no idea why you’re so hungry.

Worse, your body grabs more out of the food as it passes through your system. Eating more and pooing less – all that stuff’s got to go somewhere, so that’s the start of your spare tyre. Next stop, bingo wings, thunder thighs, muffin top and all the trimmings. And you thought it was all you.

Of course not all of us are as fat as we might be. We all have different metabolisms, our colonies of gut bacteria vary as individually as fingerprints, and our immune systems all have different exposure to disease and illnesses as we grow up. And to antibiotics.

One thing’s for sure. The younger we get hit, the more chance we have of being obese. Not just the background drip, drip we all experience – but a full-on medical course a doctor might prescribe. Full throttle already, now we go to warp speed.

Fat from childhood

Get antibiotics before we’re two, and chances are high we’ll be overweight by five. And if you’re like most of us here in the UK, by the time you’re twenty, you’ll have been through TWENTY courses of antibiotics – every one of them grabbing at your gut and ripping things out. Chug three Cokes at a session and you don’t even know you’re doing it.

Plus you’re more vulnerable too. Not surprising with half your immune control system shot to hell.

Which means if you want to live to a ripe old age, better take care of yourself more than you might have been. Despite the antibiotics – or rather, because of them – infections are now easier to catch. More easily picked up from germs on your skin, from the air, or from objects around you.

Want proof? How many times have you come down with colds or flu – can’t shake them off? Or headaches, norovirus or other tummy bugs – over and over again? Like this never happened to your Mum and Dad.

Personal protection

OK, so wash your hands every chance you get. Wash the dirt off – and the germs – invisible nano-dirt you can’t see, but just waiting to climb inside you and make you ill.

Sterilise the space around you as well. A good mist up with a Hypersteriliser will keep your workplace free from all viruses and bacteria for a good twenty-four hours or more. It won’t kill infections if you’ve already got them – but it will stop new ones happening.

Of course, getting that weight off is a pain. Your mind has to over-rule your gut feel – and there are no short cuts.

But now at least you know what you’re up against. You’re not fighting you, you’re fighting antibiotics.

It wasn’t your fault you got fat in the first place – but it’s going to be all-you that makes you thinner.

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Hey, sugar-taxers! Obesity starts with antibiotics

The Fat Pill
Running to fat starts with antibiotics – sugar just keeps it going

So we need a sugar tax, huh?

To stop our kids getting obese.

Hell, to stop ourselves getting obese, because two thirds of us are.

Good idea, if sugar is the cause.

Uh huh, but before we go galloping off, here’s a few questions.

Because just maybe there’s a bigger threat out there than sugar. Active and alive – with a proven ability to bulk up bodies fast – to twice their weight and more in half the time.

Obesity perspective check

Are we naturally fat? No.

Are we meant to be fat? No.

Were we always fat? No.

Were we fat in the 1950’s? No.

Were we fat in the 1990’s? No.

Didn’t we have Snickers and Mars bars in the 1990s? Yes.

Didn’t we have Coke and Pepsi and Lucozade in the 1990s? Yes.

But we weren’t fat in the 1990s? No.

Sure? Yes.

And we’ve ballooned up since then? Yes.

But don’t all those things have sugar in them? Yes.

So why does sugar make us fat now, but not in the 1990s? Er…

Let’s just back up a bit

We’re not naturally fat, are we? And we don’t naturally puff out from sugar, even though a lot of us have a sweet tooth, do we? Sure, there’s exceptions – those unfortunate people whose bodies have a disorder that makes them fat. But most of us are quite normal – fat has never been an issue, until now.

So what’s changed? Is there some kind of super-sugar that is making us fat?

How come only in the last twenty years? And how come it’s snowballing?

Whatever it is must be a pretty powerful growth booster.

Damn right.

How do you like accelerating from an ordinary chicken’s egg to a 1.5 kg supermarket roasting chicken in six weeks? Or a calf maturing to a full-size Aberdeen Angus beef steer in one year instead of the usual four?

Easy-peasy too. Add virginiamycin to poultry feedstuff  and bambermycin to beef cattle’s.

Yup, you’ve got it – antibiotics both of them, the kind that farmers have used increasingly for the last twenty years. Triple whammy growth boosters de luxe.

There’s a whole slew of antibiotics that get used in agriculture – from boosting animal growth, to keeping up health levels in intensive factory farms, to enhancing plant growth and preventing blight. 65,000 tonnes of them every year – increasing to over 110,000 tonnes in the NEXT twenty years.

Which means there’s a whole slew of antibiotics in everything we eat – never mentioned or even thought of alongside additives, preservatives and all the other usual things we’re worried about. They’re even in organic foods too.

Because it’s not just stuff that gets fed DIRECTLY to livestock or plants. It’s RESIDUAL antibiotics spread across the whole spectrum of food types – via manure from accelerated cattle used to fertilise crops or enrich grazing lands.

It even finds its way into groundwater and river systems, so that pretty well everything we eat or drink has antibiotics in it – proven high performance growth boosters right across our entire food chain.

Slightly more significant than sugar at causing obesity. And way more serious.

All in the balance

Because a normal healthy body naturally maintains its correct sugar levels. Gut bacteria absorb what they need and excrete the rest – along with all the nutrients surplus to requirements. Only the right amount gets extracted, the rest becomes waste just like other animals.

Which is why manure is so fertile – and human manure is the most fertile of all. An icky thought for Western minds, but known and used by Chinese farmers for centuries.

Let the system get out of balance though and all kinds of disorders set in – obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease – life-threatening all of them.

Out of balance, out of control

And it’s antibiotics that upset the balance.

You see antibiotics work by doing one thing – killing bacteria. And the whole body balance is achieved by gut bacteria – over 100 trillion microbes that are maybe the most important part of us altogether – the active living life force that keeps us going.

OK, so the Doc prescribes an antibiotic for a condition you have – say amoxicillin for your sinusitis. You swallow the capsule, it goes down to your gut – with an effect like an exploding hydrogen bomb.

Sure it clobbers the streptococcus pneumoniae, haemophilus influenzae, and moraxella catarrhalis that are probably causing the problem. It targets several billion others besides – beneficial bacteria normally resident, that regulate all kinds of body functions. Yeah the infection’s dead – but injured and out of balance, things start to go wrong with the survivors.

Some tribes of bacteria are lost altogether, so you might lose an immunity or pick up an allergy. Others are damaged and behave erratically – possibly the reason why antibiotics are so successful at triggering weight gain. Bacteria that control appetite produce two types of hormone – ghrelin to stimulate and leptin to diminish.

Don't Eat Sign
The body’s appetite control –
leptin for STOP and ghrelin for GO, GO, GO!

When the ghrelin keeps producing, hunger does not switch off. Eat, eat, eat, cravings develop. More, more, more, a compulsive addiction. And it’s not just the eating. The body greedily grabs more nutrients from the food it gets, more than it should – out of balance, the system bulks up.

It also goes for the foods that accelerate the process – sugary fatteners, high-powered junk food – OK in moderation but supercharged in bulk. Deep fried Mars bars, here we come.

Worst of all, these days many of us get a jump start – antibiotics administered before we’re even two. Start early like that, for whooping cough or pneumonia, and guaranteed infants will be overweight by the time they reach five.

Uh huh, and the damage done by antibiotics cannot be reversed. If a particular class of bacteria is destroyed, it’s gone for good – no more protection, no more specialist ability. Others which are depleted may breed themselves back – but you will never be the same again.

And all the while – drip, drip, drip – the daily assault goes on. Every sip, every mouthful – making us weaker, less resilient, more prone to infections – fatter.

Make no error, sugar abuse is bad and we need to fix it. But the cause is worse and an illness in itself – an uncontrollable addiction.

If you tax heroin, would it stop junkies?

So what are we doing taxing sugar?

Come on guys, we got to stop taking antibiotics.

Yes, they’re lifesavers – but they’re killing us too.

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