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  • Neil: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I'm Neil.

  • Alice: and I'm Alice. Neil, what are you eating?

  • Neil: Peanuts.

  • Alice: Hmm. Did you know that one of the producers, here, has an allergy to peanuts?

  • Neil: No, I didn't – but they're not in the studio with us, so it doesn't matter, does it?

  • Alice: It only takes a tiny piece of peanut to cause a big allergic reaction in some people.

  • An allergy by the way, is a condition that makes you feel ill after eating, touching

  • or breathing in a particular substance.

  • Neil: And food allergies are the subject of today's show.

  • Alice: Alright, put your peanuts down, Neil and answer today's quiz question.

  • What substance is used to treat a severe allergic reaction? Is it...

  • a) penicillin? b) adrenalin?

  • Or c) aspirin?

  • Neil: OK, well, I'm going to go for a) penicillin.

  • Alice: Well, we'll find out if that's the right answer later on.

  • Now let's listen to Dr Marianne Williams talking about why being too clean may not be a good thing.

  • She is a dietician here in the UK.

  • Dr Marianne Williams: For roughly the first month of life the immune system is switched

  • off in essence and everything they [babies] get exposed to in that first month in life

  • dogs, cats, aunts, uncles, grannies, grandpas, family, dirteverything

  • that is where they build up all the bacteria that are then going to colonize their gut in the future.

  • Now, if you're born into a very sterile environment,

  • as is increasingly the case in the western world, everything's kept terribly clean,

  • and one of the theories is that we just are not getting enough exposure

  • to a variety of bacteria at that very very early stage in that first month of life.

  • Alice: Dr Marianne Williams. The immune system is our body's defence against infection.

  • And it's switched offor not workingfor the first month of a baby's life.

  • Neil: And through exposure to lots of things in our environmentthat's family, pets,

  • dirt and so onyoung babies meet different bacteria for the first time which colonise

  • or live and grow intheir guts.

  • Alice: Yes, but in a sterile environment babies don't get exposed toor don't meet

  • a wide enough variety of bacteria.

  • Sterile means completely clean and free of bacteria.

  • And there's a theory that being too clean and bacteria-free

  • now we have soap, antibiotics and better sanitation

  • has lead to an increase in allergies.

  • Neil: So dirty play for babies is goodmud, pets, picking stuff up off the floor and eating it.

  • Alice: Did you use to eat food off the floor when you were little, Neil?

  • Neil: Used to? I still do. I enjoy food from the floor!

  • Alice: Well, Neil, what can I say? We're both lucky to be allergy-free.

  • I have a friend who has an allergy to gluten

  • a protein found in wheat and some other grains

  • and she has to be very careful about what she eats so she doesn't get ill.

  • Neil: The supermarkets are quite helpful, though, aren't they,

  • with products 'free from this' and 'free from that'?

  • Alice: This is helpful, yes. But the food industry is now marketing their products to

  • attract consumers who don't have a provenor testedallergy.

  • Neil: Why would you buy free-from foods if you don't have a food allergy?

  • Alice: Well, people have started to believe that certain foods

  • like gluten or dairy are bad for us,

  • though there isn't any medical evidence to support this.

  • Let's hear about how rickets

  • a disease caused by a lack of Vitamin D in the diet

  • is affecting some children in the UK.

  • This is BBC reporter Mike Williams.

  • Mike Williams: Rickets is common in the developing world but this is London in the 21st century.

  • These children aren't malnourished because they're too poor to eat well ... it's the opposite.

  • Their often middle-class parents are spending money to give them foods with ingredients taken out.

  • It's as if some of us have become unnecessarily frightened of our food.

  • Neil: Rickets usually affects malnourished childrenfrom poor countrieschildren who

  • don't have enough to eatand it makes their bones weak.

  • But here in London some parents are buying their children expensive free-from foods

  • for example to avoid dairy

  • and are sometimes making them very ill.

  • Alice: It sounds crazy, doesn't it?

  • Neil: Yeah... it's nuts! Get it? Nuts.

  • Alice: Very good.

  • Neil: Yes. Nuts - that means crazy. Now I think it's time for the answer to today's quiz question.

  • Alice: OK, then. So earlier in the show I asked:

  • What substance is used to treat a severe allergic reaction?

  • Is it... a) penicillin? b) adrenalin? Or c) aspirin?

  • Neil: I said a) penicillin.

  • Alice: And you were wrong, Neil! The correct answer is b) adrenalin.

  • An injection of adrenalin can be used to treat anaphylaxis

  • or severe allergic reactions ... to insect stings,

  • foods, drugs, and other allergens.

  • Antibiotics such as penicillin treat bacterial infections

  • and aspirin is a painkiller you might take for a headache.

  • Neil: OK, can you tell us the words we heard today again please, Alice?

  • Alice: Sure. They are:

  • allergy

  • immune system

  • switched off

  • colonise

  • get exposed to

  • sterile

  • gluten

  • proven

  • rickets

  • malnourished

  • nuts

  • anaphylaxis

  • Neil: Well, that's the end of today's 6 Minute English. Don't be afraid to join us again soon.

  • Alice: You know where to find us, don't you? Go to bbclearningenglish.com where you'll

  • find grammar points, vocabulary and more editions of 6 Minute English.

  • Both: Bye.

Neil: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I'm Neil.

Subtitles and vocabulary

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B2 UK TOEIC alice allergy penicillin bacteria williams

BBC 6 Minute English January 21, 2016 - Are we afraid of food?

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    Adam Huang posted on 2016/02/14
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