When Is a Pig Not a Pig?
THE answer is, When cholecystokinin says, Enough! If that’s too big a mouthful, try CCK. It’s a hormone pigs produce when they eat. When their belly is full, CCK signals their brain, ‘Back off, dinner’s over.’ Cows, sheep, and other farm animals will eat till they collapse, but not the much-maligned porkers! Pig farmers view it as an obstacle to fattening their charges, and their pocketbooks.
And they are doing something about it, as reported in The Wall Street Journal: “In an Agriculture Department study, scientists discovered that they can block the hormone by injecting pigs with a vaccine that renders their appetites insatiable, in effect producing some real swine. In less than three months, the injected animals consumed an average of 22 more pounds [10 kg] of corn and soybean meal, and put on 11 [5 kg] more pounds of pork, than their untreated pen pals did.”
“All creatures,” we are told, “make CCK in varying amounts.” Humans have it, and work is proceeding to see if it can be augmented to curb out-of-control appetites. Binge eaters, the report says, “show sharply depressed levels of CCK and satiety.” But it adds that this “lowered CCK may be an effect of disturbed eating behavior rather than its cause.” In humans, it is thought that two regions in the hypothalamus gland, the satiety and the feeding centers, regulate eating. But the proper function of these regulatory centers can be damaged by a prolonged period of overeating. The answer for this is Galatians 5:22, 23: “The fruitage of the spirit is . . . self-control.”