Yes, hidden fat-makers – in pretty well everything we eat.
Good, improving salads. Health-giving fruit. Ordinary everyday meat and two veg.
Not just the fast food pizzas and burgers.
Hidden because we never even know they’re there. Ask your own doctor and you’ll get a blank look. Antibiotics are only on prescription. Fat chance.
Unfortunately, fat chance is right.
You see, there’s antibiotics in our food from the stuff that makes it grow. Just about any kind of fruit or veg in your supermarket is grown with fertiliser. Even organic food is grown from soil made fertile by rotating crops and using compost, manure and clover.
All natural stuff, right?
Well, yes. Except that just about all natural manure used by farmers comes from herds or flocks of animals that are regularly fed antibiotics. For their health and well-being is the official line – but it’s mostly because it makes them bulk up and grow faster.
And sure, on a modern high intensity factory farm, health is a huge issue. So many animals so close together, they’re impossible to keep clean – large numbers can get ill very quickly. And of course any kind of sickness goes through them like wildfire.
So the rule is, dose ‘em up and keep ‘em dosed.
Big bucks fatter
Meantime these same antibiotics they regularly get in their feedstuff is fattening them up and accelerating their growth. From egg to supermarket chicken roaster in five weeks. From calf to meat counter rump steak in one year instead of four.
Money, money, money.
Alongside the inevitable result that all the manure they produce is laced with antibiotics. The same stuff that fertilises the grass they eat, or the silage – and which used by other farmers to grow grain crops, vegetables and fruit trees.
By law, antibiotics added to feedstuffs are supposed to be withdrawn before getting ready for market, so there are no drugs in any animal’s system when they’re sold.
Zero ADDED, yes.
But those cows and sheep and pigs and chickens are still noshing food grown with antibiotics in the manure. Which is how come you’ll find chlortetracycline in onions and cabbages. Sulfamethazine in lettuce and potatoes.
There’s antibiotics in there anyway. Because plant crops ALSO get regular antibiotics – streptomycin for grain crops, oxytetracycline for fruit – to take care of blight and harmful bacteria.
Plus – you guessed it – to boost growth.
So like it or not – organic or regular – just about everything we eat is dosing us with antibiotics every day – JUST LIKE THE ANIMALS.
They get fat, we get fat
And just like the animals, we’re getting fat too – on account of how we’re animals, just like they are. Some of us kinda chubby, some of us definitely muffin-tops, and some of us with a serious avoirdupois problem. Twenty, thirty years ago, not an issue – today, with nearly 60% of us overweight or obese, it’s an epidemic.
Which means, sooner or later, it’s gonna get you too.
A few uncomfortable facts:
- We all get a jump start because antibiotics are prescribed to us medically. Give antibiotics to children under two – and by the time they’re five, they’re 15% overweight.
- Like magic bullets, antibiotics get prescribed for just about everything – from serious to trivial. By the time a teenager reaches sixteen, at least ten courses of antibiotics are likely to have been through their system.
- Antibiotics kill bacteria – good ones and bad ones. Down in your gut, they’re like an atom bomb exploding through your natural gut bacteria. Your gut recovers, but it’s out of balance – and it never comes back to 100% the way it should be again.
- Gut bacteria out of balance boost the fat cells in your body – the good kind and the bad kind. The good kind you can exercise off at the gym. The bad kind are there for keeps.
- Being out of balance boosts ghrelin too – the “hunger hormone” that increases appetite. Think those cravings for gallons of Coke and boxes of doughnuts are the natural you? Your own gut is hyping your brain to pig out on them – the real you has no say.
Different strokes for different folks
If you’re not fat already, you might have a different metabolism – some people are always thin. Much more likely, your balance hasn’t been too badly affected yet – and your daily preferred food choice hasn’t pushed you over the edge.
Come down with a recurring condition that requires antibiotics and it could be another story – amoxicillin for sinusitis, say – repeated every few months because it won’t go away. Hello size 18.
What to do about it?
Watch what you eat, obviously. Indulgence foods and sugary stuff do you no favours.
As Dr Martin Blaser proved in his research with laboratory mice. One test group was given antibiotics and got fat. Another group was given fatty foods and got fat. A third group was given antibiotics AND fatty food and got VERY FAT.
But avoiding antibiotics in your food is not easy, unless you stop eating altogether – hardly a long-term solution.
One way is to grow your own veg – without fertiliser of course. The other is to eat fish, but not the farmed jobs – net-cage salmon are fed quinolones. Stick to the deep sea types – cod, haddock – without the chips though!
Then get off antibiotics – and stay off. Don’t insist on high octane power when you don’t need it – and only agree to antibiotics treatment if there’s no other way.
Which means don’t get ill. If you’re not ill, you don’t need medicine.
Which means avoiding germs. Keeping yourself safe and not looking for trouble.
Hype up your hygiene
Which means hyping up your hygiene. Washing your hands, before and after pretty well everything you do. Because your hands touch everything, including your food – and the sensitive areas round your eyes and mouth – germs favourite way into your body.
You can sterilise your surroundings too, so viruses and bacteria don’t get a look in. Mist up your workplace with a Hypersteriliser and germs are gone.
Don’t grief though if your clothes start feeling tight and you look a bit fuller in the face – it’s happening to all of us. An epidemic like the medics say, but not all your fault.
They won’t like it, but this one’s up to the farmers.
Picture Copyright: nicoletaionescu / 123RF Stock Photo