English Listening: The UK Is Getting Fat
Summary: English Listening
If you want to speak English fluently, you need to listen to native English speakers. The more you listen the more you train your brain which will automatically recognise English vocabulary, sentence structure, the sounds and patterns every day English conversations contain.
So today we have an interesting English listening lesson for you to listen to. The topic is about your health, so it should interest you. It talks about the UK NHS, the problems with people being overweight in the UK and how this has resulted in a diabetes epidemic in the UK. It’s not all bad news though, it also talks about some simple, cheap and easy ways to help fix the problem.
So as usual, you will get a full and free transcript of the audio to help you. With keywords and English vocabulary explained to you as you listen. Although much of the audio is an opinion, as always we try to provide facts and information you can look up yourself on the Internet.
We try to make the subject of the lesson interesting so you can listen to the audio several times without getting bored. You might agree or disagree with what we say in the audio, that’s not really the point, it’s about you listening to a native English speaker speaking English.
Don’t forget you have a lot more audio lessons, over 200, to choose from here: https://adeptenglish.com/about-us/podcasts/ so if you don’t want to listen about diabetes you can always find something else that you like.
Audio Transcript: English Listening: The UK Is Getting Fat
Hi there and welcome to this latest podcast from Adept English. As usual, I’m here to give English language learners some interesting listening material. I’ll explain any of the more difficult words as I go along – and you can always use the transcript on our website at adeptenglish.com for any words or phrases that you don’t understand. Listen to this podcast a few times, so that you become comfortable with it and you can understand the meaning without having to translate it into your language in your head. That’s the key to fluency, so this is really good practice. So today, I’m going to talk about an aspect of your health.
So we’re learning English but learning facts and hearing opinion about health at the same time. So some of this is my opinion – after doing some research, of course, but the statistics, the numbers, the figures that I give you are all correct. And maybe it’ll make you think about your health, all the time while you’re improving your English.
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Online research on health matters
One of the things that I really like about living in 2019, is that we all get to use the internet. For all the bad and negative things about the internet, there is, I think, much more positive. You can access information, you can educate yourself. You have to be careful what sources you use – check that the websites that you’re reading from, where you’re taking your information from are valid, genuine, scientific even. Of course, having the internet means that you can access things like Adept English as well, so that’s obviously a good thing!
One area which interests me specifically is health. Having the internet means that we’re much better placed to read valid research into our health than ever before. And this means that sometimes we ask questions, we think for ourselves more from an educated position on things like our own health. ‘An education position’ means you are ‘in the know’, you’re read up about it, you’ve done your own education, your own research. And sometimes we challenge commonly held beliefs about things. A ‘belief’, B-E-L-I-E-F is what you believe. Sometimes, it might be correct, what you believe and sometimes it might not be.
The Diabetes Epidemic in the UK
So if you look at health, there is so much advice, some of it conflicting. ‘Conflicting’ means some of the advice says one thing, and some of the advice says another thing. That’s conflicting, the opposite in fact. For example, we have in the UK an epidemic of diabetes. The word ‘epidemic’, that’s E-P-I-D-E-M-I-C. It means an illness, which is very widespread, a lot of people have it. And diabetes, that’s D-I-A-B-E-T-E-S – that’s the disease where your body cannot take sugar any more, it can’t tolerate sugar. And there’s such an epidemic that our health system in the UK, the National Health Service or the NHS as it’s known – spends a lot of money every year on diabetes. How much money? Well, the figure is £10 billion. Now a billion is a big number - it has nine zeros after it – so £1,000,000,000. That is a lot of money. So the NHS spends 10 billion pounds every year on diabetes.
Diabetes Type 1 and Type 2 and Associated Cost in UK
Now if you know anything about Diabetes, you probably know already there are two types. Type 1 diabetes is something that certain people develop and scientists aren’t sure why, they’re not sure of the cause. It might be genetic, possibly part of your DNA – or it could be a virus. But Type 1 diabetes doesn’t develop because of bad diet. If you’ve got Type 1 diabetes, you can’t help it. You’ve not done anything to cause it. However Type 2 diabetes – this is the type of diabetes that you develop from being overweight, from eating too much, or from having a bad diet. And this does develop because of your lifestyle, because of the choices that you make in how you live. So being overweight and eating too much and drinking too much alcohol are the main causes of Type 2 Diabetes.
So in the UK we’re spending £10 billion a year on diabetes. What proportion of diabetes is Type 1 and what proportion is Type 2 i.e. the one that’s preventable? Well, apparently only 10% of people with diabetes, that’s 1 in 10, have Type 1 and 90% of the people with diabetes are Type 2. So that means that 90% of people with diabetes are Type 2, that’s the preventable one. So that means a cost of £9 billion every year is spent on an illness which could be prevented. And that’s just the NHS, and that’s just one year in the UK. I imagine diabetes probably affects the population of every single country in the world, to a greater or a lesser degree.
Conflicting Advice on Diabetes
And yet, if you do just a small amount of research online, you can quickly see that the latest research says Type 2 diabetes can be reversed. At least, it can until the later stages of the disease. So you can reverse diabetes by losing weight, changing what you eat. But what’s really important – it’s not just reducing your calories. It’s actually reducing your carbohydrate intake. So your ‘intake’, I-N-T-A-K-E, your ‘intake’ means what you take in, meaning what you eat. And ‘carbohydrate’, so C-A-R-B-O, and then ‘-hydrate’, H-Y-D-R-A-T-E. Carbohydrate means the type of food that we all like to eat - so bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, noodles. And of course, anything with sugar in it, anything that’s sweet is carbohydrate. Even certain types of fruit are high in carbohydrate – so bananas, mangoes and pineapple are all something which we should restrict – don’t eat too much of them, even though it’s fruit! This is all known, this is known stuff. But if you go to see your doctor in the UK, the advice that the doctor gives you - isn’t this. You’re told instead ‘Eat a balanced diet’ and ‘Avoid too much fat’. So again, if you spend time researching, you’ll see that this advice is somewhat out of date. The latest scientific evidence suggests that fat doesn’t cause the problem. Fat, F-A-T is what’s present in meat and butter and olive oil. Carbohydrate is much more of a problem, where Diabetes is concerned than fat. And sugar in particular, and the sugar content in your food. The NHS website is still telling people that one third, that’s 33% of their diet should be carbohydrate.
It’s also well-known that fasting is good for you – so the verb ‘to fast’ means to go without food. And I’ve talked about fasting in previous podcasts. Fasting is very good for your health. If you do your research online, you’ll see there’s a lot of evidence for fasting, for it being a healthy thing to do. Human beings are meant to go for periods of time without food! And yet there are very few doctors in the UK who would give you this advice. The NHS website seems to positively discourage fasting. That means it tries to suggest that you shouldn’t do it.
Type 2 diabetes over time becomes a really horrible health problem. You can even lose a foot or a leg. It’s not a minor illness. And yet people with Type 2 diabetes are being given the wrong advice. It’s not working and the problem is just getting bigger and bigger.
Part played by Food Manufacturers?
Food manufacturers, so companies, businesses which make food are also making the problem worse. They’re adding more and more sugar to our foods. So there is lots of sugar in products where you might not expect it. And people don’t realise. Take for example, a jar of tomato sauce, the type that you might eat with pasta. So I don’t mean ketchup. I mean tomato sauce, made with fresh tomatoes, to pour over your pasta. Surely that’s quite healthy, it’s made out of tomatoes, isn’t it? But actually if you look at how much sugar is in it – there’s a problem. A typical jar of tomato sauce for pasta in the UK it has 18g of sugar per half jar. So you might think that you’re being good, eating tomato sauce. You’re not eating cake or biscuits. But actually, if you sat down with a bowl of pasta and pasta sauce like this one, in the sauce alone, you’re eating a product which is nearly 10% sugar.
That’s loads of carbohydrate and that’s before you’ve started on the pasta! So food manufacturers are part of the problem and part of the cause of the diabetes epidemic. Most people, who’re trying to watch their weight and following that NHS advice about 33% carbohydrate might think ‘This is a healthy meal’ - but it really isn’t with that tomato sauce. We’re tricked into eating more sugar than we realise. Of course, it’s better to make your own sauce from tomatoes. But with our working hours increasing all the time, how many people have time to make their own tomato sauce on a weekday evening? Maybe they would if they knew how much sugar was in the jars though!
Role of Pharmaceutical Companies
People with Type 2 Diabetes are also being given medication as a solution. Medication means tablets, pills, drugs, if you like. Of the £10 billion that the NHS spends every year on diabetes, pharmaceutica l medication costs around £1 billion of this. So again, that’s a one with nine zeroes at the end. There’s growing evidence that changes to your diet, changes to what you eat are much more effective in reversing or controlling (Type2) diabetes. They can actually...changes in your diet can actually eliminate it altogether. Whereas the drugs only control the symptoms – they don’t cure it, they don’t make you better. And some of them come with horrible side effects. A ‘side effect’ means the effect of a drug which is unintended, which happen alongside the positive action of the drug. Medication – so drugs for diabetes make the pharmaceutical companies richer by £1 billion every year, just in the UK alone. It does make you wonder whether this is money well spent.
You decide for yourself
So even if you’re not overweight – and it’s possible to have diabetes without being overweight - just do some research for yourself. Look at how much sugar is in your food, especially food that you buy ‘ready-made’ - that means it’s prepared for you. And do some research on the changes you could make to your diet that keep diabetes and lots of other illness of this kind away. I’ve included some links in the transcript, which you might find interesting. And of course, the transcript is available on our website at adeptenglish.com.
If you like learning English like this, while listening to interesting material, then don’t forget our courses that you can buy on our website and also that we have a new service. All the podcasts, all the previous podcasts, are available for free individually. But if you would like to do a ‘block download’ of fifty podcasts, to your phone or to your tablet, so that you’ve always got some English language learning material to listen to, wherever you are, then our service will be a real benefit to you. There is a small fee for the convenience, but you’re able to download a lot of hours of listening time, a lot of hours of podcasts, all in one go. So visit our website at adeptenglish.com to have a look at that as well.
Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.
PS: Measure twice, cut once
Idiom: "Measure twice, cut once”; means be careful and check things before you commit to a course of action.
My advice is “Do your OWN research“. You should always research the information you hear (here at Adept English or anywhere for that matter) on your own. You might find what we say interesting but be careful, speak to people before you change anything, be sure you are doing the right thing.
I know someone in the UK who was about to be prescribed medication for diabetes type 2. They fasted, lost weight and changed their diet instead of taking medication.
4 years after speaking with their NHS doctor, they have taken no medication for diabetes. This person lost 4 stone, they fast, they don’t eat carbohydrates; they are managing their diabetes risk by managing what they eat.
However, just because this worked for one person, doesn't mean it’s right for everyone. I would say that it’s definitely worth looking into.