Tag Archives: Lord McColl

Why loads of corporate wellness plans carry a bitter taste

Worried lady is she bitter?
Plenty to be bitter about – one day we’re all going to be fat, no matter how good the corporate wellness plans

Ever tasted antibiotics? Probably not, they’re bitter as all hell.

Which you’ll know soon enough if you bite through a capsule without meaning to.

Except, excuse us, what do antibiotics have to do with corporate wellness plans?

Only that they’re why most corporate wellness plans exist in the first place.

And with growing realisation that looking after employee health is a major business objective, corporate wellness plans are already the Next Big Thing.

The wellness bandwagon

Look no further than the new emphasis on physical activity in business workplaces. Big buck outfits put in swimming pools and running tracks, while smaller ones have gyms. Or if budgets can’t stretch to that, sponsored membership of the keep-fit centre down the road.

Skilled staff are assets to be wooed and cultivated long-term. So the new drive is an investment against long-term health conditions like the nation’s rapidly increasing obesity epidemic. Two thirds of British adults are already overweight or obese, marking them inevitably as future victims of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Which is why pretty well all front-line businesses are gung-ho for a “fitness against fatness” strategy.

There’s only one problem.

Yes, we’re all getting fatter, which is not good for our long-term health. And yes, most office jobs are sedentary and involve very little moving around. But while exercise and fitness is undoubtedly a good thing, it often has little or no effect on encouraging weight loss.

That’s because, as Lord McColl, emeritus professor of surgery at Guys Hospital and former shadow health minister told Parliament last year, “It is impossible to be obese unless one is eating too many calories.”

The bitter pill

Ergo, we’re fat because we’re eating too much.

And why, after thousands of years of our bodies most of the time naturally remaining slim and trim, are we suddenly eating more than we should?

It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but we all do it without knowing.

We’re all eating too much because of antibiotics.

Unless we’re farmers, few of us are aware that antibiotics are phenomenal growth boosters – used in great volumes across the board for food production to sustain our massive explosion in population growth over the past 65 years – from 2½ billion worldwide in 1952 to 7½ billion today.

We think of antibiotics as medicines, the miracle life-savers of our modern age. In reality this is a side effect, now secondary to their main function as growth boosters in agriculture. Believe it or not, 240,000 tonnes of antibiotics are shovelled into animal and plant production every year.

Like it or not, that means sustained sub-therapeutic doses of antibiotics are in everything we eat – meat or vegetable – particularly over the last 20 years with the introduction of factory farming.

Without any idea that it’s happening, our own bodies react in the same way to these continuous low doses. We eat more and more, beyond when our natural needs and requirements would normally tell us to stop.

Obesity epidemic

So like the animals, we fatten up fast – but with a difference. They are only going to survive 45 weeks, until they are ready for market. We keep on going, not just getting fat but getting fatter – almost accepted as the new norm. So everyday in fact, that there is now an international resort that caters expressly for the plus-sized.

Not good news for corporate wellness planners. Enough to make them bitter and twisted. Because no matter how elaborate the facilities they put in to encourage our fitness, with the exception of the health-obsessed, we’re all just going to get fatter.

The very long-term health conditions they’re trying to avoid are on their way – we’re literally eating ourselves into diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Nor is that the only thing to be bitter about.

With all the big bucks focus on corporate wellness, nobody seems to be thinking workplace health protection. A running track might be great for muscle tone, but it won’t stop a tummy bug like norovirus. Nor will antibiotics, come to that – though we strongarm the Doc for them.

Antibiotics: a living curse

Meanwhile our workplaces are crawling with germs that may never be removed, even with regular cleaning. On high-touch surfaces and in the air – a possibly deadly health hazard most corporate planners are never aware of – and a £319 billion dent in our national productivity.

Plenty to be bitter about – though workplace germs CAN be eliminated at the touch of a button.

The bigger problem is antibiotics. We can’t live with them, and we can’t live without them. They save lives, but antimicrobial resistance from overuse is rapidly making them useless. And they promote growth – bigger animals, quicker; larger plant crops, faster – without which there wouldn’t be enough food to feed us all.

Altogether, a train we cannot get off.

No good being bitter about it though – and at least we get amazing places to work in.

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. Achieves 6-log Sterility Assurance Level – 99.9999% of germs destroyed. The only EPA-registered dry mist fogging system – EPA No 84526-6. EU Biocide Article 95 Compliant.

Hey, give yourself a break – it’s not your fault you’re fat

Plus size businesswoman
Too much of a good thing – and through none of your own doing

First off, you’re not alone. Around two thirds of us are fat too – sharing the same problem, suffering the same angst. Already overweight or clinically obese.

We never used to be like that. Twenty years ago, most people our age were comfortably Size 12. Size wasn’t an issue – and we ATE THE SAME THINGS WE DO NOW. In the same amounts.

So what’s changed?

We’re stressed, every hour of the day, trying everything to lose the pounds. Which works for some – but who wants to live on rabbit food, or spend every day in the gym?

And who says we’re all couch potatoes – pigging out on chips and Coke in front of the TV?

Wrongly accused

We don’t chug sugary drinks, or guts burgers ten at a time. We’re ordinary people, trying to lead ordinary lives and something cruel is ballooning us against our will.

Yes, it’s a fat epidemic – but nobody’s twigged the cause.

Doctors tut-tut about BMI. Politicians and celebrities rabbit on about sugar tax. Meanwhile nobody has a clue. Because if they had, we would know about it, so all we’re doing is getting fatter.

Well maybe ONE person has it figured. In a speech to the House of Lords back in June, Lord McColl, emeritus professor of surgery at Guys Hospital, said, “It is impossible to be obese unless one is eating too many calories.”

Wise words. But hmmm – that doesn’t jell with those of us eating like birds in desperation stakes. Sure, we’ll lose weight if we stop eating altogether. And then? A one-way ticket to oblivion.

Eat too many calories, maybe. But ABSORB too many calories, definitely. Extract too much out of the food we eat, and so we pile on the pounds.

But how is this possible?

Unwanted additive we don’t even know is there

Look no further than your favourite supermarket.

All those shelves are loaded with food in quantities far greater than 20 years ago. Well sure, there’s more of us. More mouths to feed – the pressure is on to keep those gaping warehouses topped up.

Which puts the pressure on food producers to grow more crops and rear more livestock. Picture-book country farms have now become massive factory farms, getting everything to market in as quick a time as possible.

Uh huh, you’re right. Not possible without something to speed up the process. To boost growth in a way that makes everything fatter, quicker. From egg to roasting chicken in 6 weeks. From new-born calf to Aberdeen Angus steak in 14 months.

That’s the amazing and unexpected bonus of antibiotics.

See what a factory farm looks like and antibiotics are essential anyway. Overcrowded, often unsanitary, those miracle drugs are necessary to keep animals alive.

Result. Antibiotics are shovelled into animal feed around the world at the rate of 240,000 tonnes a year. And the tons of manure they make become fertiliser for every kind of vegetable, seed and fruit crop. So that residual antibiotics are present in every kind of food you can think of.

Growth boosters in our diet

With every mouthful, you’re ingesting small amounts of the same amazing growth boosters used to accelerate food production across the board. Like the animals bulk up, so do you. The fat drug makes you squeeze more nutrients out of the food you eat, you just can’t help yourself.

Without your knowing or doing anything, fatness has sneaked up on you to burst you at the seams.

It’s not fair, it’s not right and it’s endangering your health. Because pushed over into obesity, there’s nasties like diabetes, heart disease and cancer waiting for you. Our life-saving miracle drugs have become killers.

What can you do?

Not a lot. We all have to eat – but pretty well everything we buy in the supermarket will have traces of antibiotics, continuing our unwanted “treatment”.

One way is to go organic. But while food produced by organic farmers might tick all the boxes, there’s no guarantee that “natural” manure used to nurture their products are free from antibiotics.

Most cows excrete 80% of the food they ingest, Nature’s way sustaining life down to the smallest microcosm. That means 80% of their dose winds up in the soil.

To be taken up by plants or leach down into the water table – so that even the stuff in your tap includes traces of antibiotics.

Will power versus drugs

Uh huh. So grow your own at home. Without fertiliser, without anything. Using only rainwater.

Or just bite the bullet and deliberately try to eat less. We’ll always be hungry, but at least our minds will be razor sharp. We might be fat, but we’re not fatheads.

Let’s save that category for the long list of experts, do-gooders, authorities, celebrities and health freaks who know about the problem but do nothing about it.

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0ur obesity train-smash: why are we in denial?

Shocked mother
Better believe it – childhood obesity starts at the doctor’s

Denial, misunderstanding, rejection – we’re certainly in something.

Because why are we messing around with advertising bans and sugar tax when the real cause of our childhood obesity epidemic is staring us in the face?

Medics know it, government knows it, everybody in just about every kind of authority knows it.

It’s not junk food and sugary drinks that’s doing this – though they don’t exactly help.

The real truth is, our kids get fat from being dosed with the most effective and successful growth stimulant  on Earth.

Antibiotics.

The ultimate inconvenient truth

Government certainly knows this, which is maybe why this week’s much trumpeted Obesity Strategy launch is the non-event that it is. Somewhere the penny’s dropped that even the harshest regulatory action will achieve nothing.

Recognition is in the Special Review by Jim O’Neill, Chairman of the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance. This worthy initiative is of course targeted towards fighting superbugs and the increasing failure of antibiotics to protect us like the miracles they used to be.

And buried on Page 8 is the assessment that 240,000 tonnes of antibiotics worldwide are are pumped into agriculture each year.

Why?

Like we said, antibiotics are the most effective and successful growth stimulant  on Earth. Which is how come world food production has been able to rocket from supporting the 2½ billion people we were 50 years ago, to the 7½ billion we are now – all off the same amount of land.

Yeah, and of course, this is all supposed to be regulated because agriculture represents the biggest opportunity for superbugs to develop antibiotic resistance. When you reproduce like bacteria do every twenty minutes or less – and there’s 240,000 tonnes coming at you every year – you get plenty of chance to practice!

Which means strictly speaking, antibiotics in agriculture are only supposed to be used for animals that are sick. Except when you see how overcrowded and on top of each other they are in modern factory farms, they’re ALL going to get sick without medicine.

So in they go. Antibiotics, shovel, shovel – rammed into livestock by every serious high-volume food producer round the world. Extended through the manure these animals produce into every plant crop under cultivation. Even folded back to them through the feedstuff they eat, so their daily dose is a triple whammy.

We all OD and don’t know it

Result – every single one of us gets a low dose of antibiotics every time we eat something, because antibiotics now saturate the entire food chain. You get ’em even if you’re vegetarian.

Every meal, every mouthful – another hit from the most effective and successful growth stimulant  on Earth. And the gurus are still pondering why two-thirds of our adult population are either overweight or obese!

As Lord McColl observed in an address to the House of Lords on obesity, not one of these health experts has yet climbed onto a treadmill or gymnasium bicycle to prove that exercise does actually burn off weight  – otherwise they’d know it doesn’t.

Fact: we’re fat because we consume too many calories, period.

And we do that because our bodies no longer tell us to stop eating when we’ve had enough.

Plus like the poor cows being fattened up for market, our bodies assimilate more nutrients than we’re meant to. We’re extracting more energy out of the same amount of food – so we get fat even if we diet to eat less.

Not a nice future for our kids, hey?

Worse for kids

Except hang on, they’ve got their own train-smash to look forward to. Their own calamity introduction to antibiotics.

Because chances are high they’ll have to visit the Doc for some childhood illness or other – and chances are equally high they’ll be prescribed antibiotics. Worried Doc, concerned Mums – almost inevitable really. Which means it’s likely by the time they’re two, that they’ll have been exposed to antibiotics an average of 2.3 times.

Uh huh. So here’s their starter for 10.

In clobbering the illness, the antibiotics will also accelerate the ghrelin hormone that activates hunger, suppress the leptin hormone which turns it off, and stimulate the gut bacteria into absorbing more food value, extracting double or triple from the same amount of intake.

Reality check, folks. Eating less and exercising more is not going to fix it. Doctors already recognise that children given antibiotics by the time they’re two are likely to be obese by five.

And this is before they’ve had their first burger, their first pizza, their first Coke – or their first deep-fried Mars bar.

Reality check two, we weren’t fat either, fifty years ago – but they still had Coke back then, and McDonalds – sort of. Our own home-grown version, still with us today, was Wimpy.

Watch it!

Which means better look out, Jamie Oliver. Your new son could become obese, even though you supervise his food intake like a hawk. Makes your sugar tax  look a bit wonky now, doesn’t it?

The doom-and-gloom gurus had better watch out too.

Yeah, deaths from antibiotics resistance are going to climb – but they’re not much more than we lose in road deaths anyway.

But deaths from obesity – our first prize dividend from 50 years of antibiotics overuse and abuse –  they’re going to be astronomic. An epic epidemic not seen since the influenza pandemic of 1918, which killed 25 million people in six months.

Because obesity is just the start of a slow motion decline into much worse. Diabetes, heart disease, cancer, asthma – and all kinds of others caused by slow failure of the body. Slow, extremely unpleasant – maybe even leading to amputation of one or more limbs.

Yeah, thanks antibiotics. You’ve saved hundreds, but you’re killing millions. It’s time to dump you before we’re all dead.

No antibiotics?

Time to tighten up on hygiene. Push cleanliness and germ prevention higher than they’ve ever been before.

Because now there’s no safety net.

Post-antibiotic fail-safe

Forget to wash your hands? The escherichia coli you pick up could rot your body and kill you.

Clean hands anyway? The norovirus on your desk could lead to fatal dehydration and that’s the end of you.

Which means soap and water for all of us – as often as we  can think of it. And eliminating germs wherever we can around us – regular mist-ups with hydrogen peroxide that oxidise all viruses and bacteria to nothing.

There is a plus though.

And yeah, it’s denial. Of antibiotics.

No more antibiotics and we’ll no longer keep getting fat. No more false hopes, no more diets, no more gastric bands, no more mindless exercise.

No, no, no.

Do you hear us Westminster? Do you hear us Public Health England?

Get this right and our kids are going to be the best-looking human beings ever.

And the healthiest.

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A spoonful of sugar tax: to help the antibiotic growth boosters go down

Mad woman portrait
Sugar tax? Are we crazy? Obesity is a crisis, why are we all in denial?

Clever one, this. A tax on sugary drinks to stop kids getting fat.

Meanwhile 240,000 tonnes of antibiotics – specially tried and tested for the way they fatten up animals – is getting through unmonitored and unchecked in every meal kids eat.  In their meat, in their vegetables, in their milk, in their baby feed.

And that’s on top of the antibiotics most modern kids get in their early years – overkill medicines for childhood illnesses, also proven to boost infant obesity. Give them antibiotics by two and they’ll be fat by four.

Up a bit lower

Looks like our government obesity strategy really knows what it’s doing with a sugar tax. A tax on the one substance which – surprise, surprise – the human body cannot do without.

Mind you, confusion is understandable.  First we’re supposed to eat this, then we’re told it’s bad for us. We have to avoid eating that, and then suddenly it’s good for us.

Truth is, with diets and food types – nobody really knows what they’re talking about.

Here’s Jamie Oliver, rabbiting on that sugar is the bad guy – when along comes Glasgow University with a report that FAT, not sugar, is where our health campaigns are misguided – the real villain of the piece.

And right on top of that, we’re told to eat fat to get thin – no less an outfit than the National Obesity Forum telling us that low-fat diets trigger disastrous consequences.

Say what..?

Who to believe?

The only sense in recent months seems to come from Lord McColl, who pointed out in a speech to the House of Lords recently that “it is impossible to be obese unless one is eating too many calories.”

So guess what? In Lord McColl’s opinion, low-fat diets and exercise don’t mean a dickey-bird for losing weight.  And as emeritus professor of surgery at Guys Hospital, he probably has a better perspective than most.

Yeah, OK.

So why are we eating too many calories, especially our kids?

Because the one nasty fact that everyone chooses to ignore is that just about every single food source available through our supermarkets is laced through with antibiotics.

Yeah, antibiotics. Officially for health reasons – to keep those mega-size industrial factory farms running smooth with intensive livestock herds, crowded into massive production units.

Farm-fresh fatness

In reality as the big money-maker growth booster for agriculture worldwide – shovelled in with every feed and absorbed by every plant crop from antibiotics-laden manure.

Fact: antibiotics make animals fat.

So fact: antibiotics make us fat too.

Make us WANT more food, make us EXTRACT more nutrients when we get it. Turning us into super-efficient eating machines.

Nothing to do with sugar, that’s for sure.

But is anyone looking at taxing antibiotics production?

Are they, hell.

Because would you believe, our top health honchos want drug companies to be paid an INCENTIVE  for developing new antibiotics. Because again – surprise, surprise – overuse in agriculture (240,000 tonnes, remember) is causing bacteria to develop resistance, so the drugs don’t work any more.

Where’s the antibiotics REPLACEMENT?

What is it, denial?

Antibiotics are a busted flush, yet medicine still chases after them. We don’t need new ones, we need new thinking completely.

And sugar tax?

Nothing about the elephant in the room. Our kids are getting fat, so tax Coca-Cola. They’re big, they can afford it.

Will somebody please wake up before we’re all ten ton porkers?

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30 million deaths every year – our next pandemic is already here

Large and lonely
It’s not fair – getting fat without eating more – and it’s going to be the death of you

30 million deaths – almost half the population of Britain. With a waiting list of 1.4 billion. That’s a pandemic alright.

All driven by the one thing we know about, but prefer not to think about – our rapidly expending waistlines.

Unwanted obesity

Bigger tummies, fatter figures, unstoppable obesity.

We never used to be like this, but we are now.

In the UK, fully two thirds of us are already clinically overweight or obese – 1.4 billion worldwide. Already on the downhill slope to serious health complications – heart disease, cancer, diabetes, asthma. Known killers with a combined death rate of 30 million a year worldwide – and rapidly accelerating.

How did this happen? We’re not stupid, we’re not irresponsible.

Damn it, we’re not even confirmed gluttons, for goodness sake. Sure, some fat people eat like there’s no tomorrow – but most of us are miserable with our weight and eat like birds.

It’s as if we’re cursed.

Oh yes, indeed – there’s a curse alright. For far too many of us, obesity is a long and lasting illness ending in a death sentence.

We can play around with diets, we can delude ourselves with exercise – and for a lucky and very determined few, maybe that will work.

For the rest of us, there is no escape. Like it or not, at some time in the future we’ll be going to hospital more and more often – closer and closer to our one-way ticket with destiny.

The curse of antibiotics

Most unpalatable of all is the truth of how we got here.

“It is impossible to be obese unless one is eating too many calories,” said Lord McColl, emeritus professor of surgery at Guys Hospital, in an address to the House of Lords last week.

Yeah right, we’re dying of hunger and ridiculed as fatties, what the hell’s going on?

The real curse is antibiotics.

Miracle lifesavers in the medical field, miracle money-makers in agriculture.

Because antibiotics are champion growth promoters bar none. Added to livestock feed in small doses every day, they boost growth like crazy, accelerate development up to four times faster.  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 the same thing is happening to us.

We eat them, so small traces of antibiotics get through in our diet with every meal we eat. Either directly from their meat, or indirectly from the manure they produce – laced through with antibiotics that fertilise every kind of vegetable and fruit crop.

Just like the animals, the antibiotics make our bodies resistant to the hormone that tells us when we’ve had enough to eat – leptin resistance – we keep eating unconsciously. As Lord McColl says, ” Obesity is a hormonal disorder leading to abnormal energy partitioning, which cannot be solely fixed by increasing exercise.”

Growth promoters – the fat makers

Unfortunately, that’s not all that antibiotics do. As champion growth promoters, they make us more efficient at absorbing the nutrients we do consume. Even if we’re not eating more, we’re EXTRACTING more – squeezing out more calories than normal people are capable of.

Not difficult when you think how digestive systems work. As part of Nature’s wonderful cycle that interrelates everything to everything else, most livestock only digest 80-90% of what they eat, the rest is excreted as waste. That’s where the manure comes from that fertilises almost all commercial plant life – and where we get our daily dose of antibiotics from, pooed out with other nutrients.

But antibiotics cause animals to grab a whole chunk more nosh value than just 10%. Squeezing more calories out, they beef up bigger and faster – and we do exactly the same. Instead of passing through 80%, we might pass through 60% or even 50%. Without our knowing it, we’re absorbing the equivalent of two meals instead of one, every time we eat.

No wonder we’re the size of a house without any effort!

And all the rest

Which is how come we’re obese – and how come we’ve developed all those other disorders that have crept up on us since bacteria-killing antibiotics started messing with the delicate balance of our own internal gut bacteria. Allergies, immune system deficiencies – phantom disorders that feel very real, making our bodies react to conditions that just aren’t there.

Is there anything that can be done about it?

Not a lot.

We all have to eat – but round the world, our food production process is a gigantic machine almost impossible to stop.

We could try to eat less – deliberately try to bring our calorie count down. Going serious cold turkey, like giving up smoking. Very, very hard if you’ve never tried. But we NEED those nutrients to keep our systems ticking over. Starving ourselves is dicey and unlikely to be healthy.

Or we can change our food source. Get off the antibiotics and hope that by removing our daily fix, we can reverse some of the damage they’ve done. Which means organic foods, growing our own at home without fertilisers – and eating fish that’s only deep sea fresh, none of the farmed stuff.

Ways of winning

Which leaves exercise. We’re small eaters already, shamed by our bodies – so with antibiotics off the menu together with some sensible workouts, maybe expending energy will be a little less like pushing water uphill.

There is hope. Reducing even a teaspoon of fat from around our pancreas can have the effect of reversing type 2 diabetes.

One down, fewer to go.

With luck you’ll lose more of the right kind of weight before any of the other big hitters kick in.

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