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Does Meat Cause Obesity?

Now here’s an interesting idea. Is the cause of obesity simply due to the antibiotics that every meat producer puts in the food supply for their animals?

You might have thought that meat producers add antibiotics to their animal feed to prevent or cure disease. You would be wrong. They do it because it results in a significant weight gain for the animals and therefore more money for the producers. Yep, that’s straight from the FDA.

You might have heard about recent research into the microbiome. That’s the term for the trillions of bacteria in our guts. It is now becoming clear that the microbiome has a huge impact on our health. In particular it’s becoming clear that it has a significant impact on food absorption and whether or not we become obese.

So if antibiotics cause livestock to become significantly fatter, why would we think that those same antibiotics wouldn’t make us humans fatter too? After all, we know that after they animals are killed, the antibiotics residues remain in the meat, leading to a significant problem of antibiotic resistance in humans, an increasingly menacing health issue globally.

It’s starting to look like the antibiotics in our meat are killing off certain bacteria in our gut that regulate digestion. In particular it’s looking like these antibiotics kill off the bacteria that are less efficient at digesting food thus leaving bacteria that are very efficient at digestion. The result is that the bacteria left digest nutrients far more efficiently from a given amount of food so that we get more nutrition from less food. Or even more nutrients from a little– or a lot- more food.

That’s what happens in livestock too and why it gains weight when fed antibiotics. That is probably the reason why many obese people can’t lose weight even when they eat far less food. That’s because their microbiome is extracting much more nutrition from a given amount of food.

There is one answer but most people won’t like it. That is the use of fecal transplants to get the healthy microbiome from others put back into your own gut. It seems to work and there are new ways of doing it that eliminate the nasty bit of the procedure by processing the fecal matter so that it’s essentially just another fluid.

But the real answer is just to eliminate the antibiotics in the food supply for livestock, right?

Now of course, I am not saying that other factors aren’t important in obesity. It’s clear that everyone is eating far too much, eating the wrong types of foods and not exercising enough. And genetics also plays a pretty big part.

But the antibiotics factor looks like it’s big. Meat producers have been very quiet on this issue because they have become aware that the practice is contributing in no small way to the serious issue of super-bacteria and dangerous infections that can’t be cured through antibiotics. This includes nasty diseases such as tuberculosis.

But now we have the issue of obesity. If you knew for sure that meat was a big factor in obesity, would you continue to eat it, at least in the quantities we do now? Meat producers are desperately trying to protect their bottom line.

The answer nonetheless is for meat producers to quit using antibiotics unless it’s just for disease-prevention reasons. The meat producers are starting to get the message but we are a long ways from having antibiotic-free meat.

But for now this message seems to be; if you have a weight problem, make sure the meat you are eating is antibiotic-free, or just go vegan.











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