Eat Like A Pig

The answers to human diet dilemmas might come from pigs, which are an excellent substitute for humans when studying nutrition. Pigs and humans have similar gastrointestinal systems, body composition, and nutritional requirements.

Dr. Eric Berg is a professor of animal sciences at North Dakota State University, and is using pigs to study American diets. He says the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N. put together a report looking at protein quality in human diets. It found what swine producers already know – the focus isn’t crude protein, producers look at balancing the rations for amino acids.

"That corn, that grain by itself isn’t going to have a complete amino acid profile so you bring beans in with it, you bring lentils or you bring pulses in with it. That combination gives you the essential amino acids," he says. "So this group said that iron deficiency and essential amino acid deficiency are what’s causing the majority of health and obesity problems around the world."

In Berg’s study, one set of pigs were fed a typical human diet high in sugar. The results were telling.

"They never gained any muscle on what the average American eats," says Berg. "Fat depth, they gained a lot of fat. By the end of the three-month study, they were down below 35% muscle on what the chunky average American eats."

Some pigs lost their hair, developed acne and brittle bones. Berg says they had to stop the study after three-months because the stuff we eat was considered an inhumane diet.

Learn more about why Berg is telling us to eat like pigs

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