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The Starch Reality

19/12/2013

Gluten free pet food isn’t necessarily starch free

Starchy foods have been used as a ‘cheap filler’ by humans for centuries, especially in times of food shortage when bread would be used as a top up to dinners short on meat or vegetables. It is for the exact same reason that grains were added to pet food, after manufacturers ran out of cheap meat (war horses). Whilst humans have now realised that starchy foods, may be digestible but are highly addictive and not good for us, it is much worse for our carnivorous pets.
Humans produce amylase, the enzyme needed to digest starch, in our saliva. Therefore any starchy foods start to be digested immediately. Dogs only produce a very small amount of starch from the pancreas, which only reaches the food after it has passed through the stomach. They therefore can only digest small quanities, the rest has be to digested by microbes in the digestive tract. These microbes have negative side effects, one of the more noticable of which is the fact that they pass gas, which can lead to bloating as well as the animals’ need to pass wind.
Many canine and feline diets now proclaim to be ‘grain free’, this is great as large amounts of grains (sometimes up to 50% of the product) are not natural or good for these animals, in fact they have been shown to have a negative effect on both the digestive and the immune systems. However, often the grains have been replaced with other ‘cheap fillers’ such as rice or potato, both highly starchy foods, thus the ‘grain free’ label, does not necessary mean that it is better for digestion.
It worries me greatly when I hear that people are following advice provided by ‘experts’ that includes adding grains, pasta, rice and/or potatoes to a canine/feline diet, especially when these animals have absolutely no nutritional requirement for these simple carbohydrates.
Please help spread the word, educate your pet owning friends, show them this blog, buy them a copy of the book, get them to book a consultation, whichever way you do it, boost their pets’ health by getting these products out of their regular diet.

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