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Research Profile - Eric Berg

“Lean red mean can contribute to a low glycemic diet and provide essential proteins, and thus contribute to a healthy diet. The focus of my research is the role of meat in a healthy low-glycemic diet as a potential means to combat obesity-related disorders.” 

Name:  Eric Berg
195 Hultz Hall
North Dakota State University
Animal Sciences Department Professor

To view full research profile in pdf

The Researcher

Eric Berg grew up on a commercial cattle operation just outside of Kindred, ND.  He received his BS degrees from NDSU in Animal Science and Ag Education and his MS degree from NDSU in Animal Science. He got his PhD degree from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, where he studied value-based marketing in the swine industry.  He met his wife Erika, while at Purdue University.  He subsequently worked on a postdoctoral fellowship at Texas A&M University (TAMU), and then was hired as a faculty member at the University of Missouri – Columbia, where he spent eight years on the faculty with a research and teaching appointment, evaluating the use of nutraceutical (sports supplements) as a supplement to swine and beef diets to enhance meat palatability, shelf life, and overall quality.  He returned to NDSU in November of 2006 and currently has a 70% research and 30% teaching appointment in the Animal Sciences Department and is also the Associate Department head. 

The Research

Dr. Berg is currently researching the role of meat in the human diet as a means to optimize health and wellbeing.  He is using female pigs as a biomedical model for human females.  The National Institute of Health notes that pigs are the best model for studying how food influences physiology, as pigs and humans have the same physiological response to food - both are simple stomached omnivores. High glycemic diets that contribute to blood sugar problems are often based on consumption of highly refined carbohydrates.   Dr. Berg has studied caloric intake, accumulation of fat, and cholesterol levels in pigs fed corn/soy based diets vs ground beef diets. 

Despite consuming more total feed/food and more calories, the ground beef fed gilts gained less body weight and deposited less subcutaneous fat over the 84 days on test.

Why it Matters

Animal and human diets must contain essential fatty acids and essential amino acids; both of which are in a highly bioavailable form in red meat.   Lean High quality red mean can contribute to a low glycemic diet and provide essential proteins, and thus contribute to a healthy diet.  Increasing consumer knowledge and awareness of the benefits will help the North Dakota livestock industry and human health.

Student Engagement

Dr. Berg teaches four classes in the Animal Sciences Department, including Introduction to Animal Science, Livestock Muscle Physiology, Research and Issues in Animal Agriculture, and Little International.  He is one of the advisors to the NDSU Saddle and Sirloin Club, an NDSU student organization that promotes leadership and organizational skills for all students who have a dedicated interest in animal agriculture (http://ndsusaddleandsirloin.com/).  This club sponsors many events throughout the year, including the Little International Livestock Show on the NDSU campus. 

Contact Information:

Dr. Eric Berg
195 Hultz Hall
North Dakota State University
(701) 231-6271
Eric.p.berg@ndsu.edu

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