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The Gluten/Starch Misinformation 

01/09/2016

Gluten free pet food is not necessarily Starch free

There appears to be much confusion among pet owners on this subject; a great deal of the blame must be placed squarely at the feet of pet food manufacturers.

Many pet owners are aware of the issues with grains, found in most dried food products. In that those grains could well be GMOs (genetically modified organisms), meaning they contain pesticides designed to rupture the stomach and intestines of their consumers, and legally require no label that they are included; but also the presence of mycotoxins (toxic mould).

Therefore many pet food manufacturers have started producing ‘gluten free’ products, where instead of grains they use rice or potato.

This is where pet owners have been led down the garden path!

As well as the issues of GMOs and Mycotoxins, grains are high in starch.

Our carnivorous pets not only have no requirement for starch, but they cannot digest it.

Potato and rice contain more starch than grains!

In order to digest starch, humans produce an enzyme called Amylase, we produce most of this in our saliva initiating the digestive process as soon as it is in our mouths. Dogs do not produce amylase in their saliva, in fact canine saliva is mostly water and its function is to lubricate swallowing. Digestion in dogs does not begin until food enters the stomach.

Whilst dogs do produce a very small amount of amylase,  this comes from the pancreas and is released into to duodenum and is destined to deal with the small amount of starch a dog would have taken in from the stomach and viscera of its natural prey. Any starch surplus to being able to be digested by this small amount of amylase can only be digested by bacteria in the gut, the waste product from which is mostly gas. This non-natively produced gas passes one of two ways: out or up, the later being a risk for bloat.

Starch also has a negative effect on the digestion of proteins, both in the stomach, by raising stomach acid pH, which has a knock on effect on inactivating other enzymes and also in the rest of the digestive tract.

So you see ‘gluten free’ is a misnomer and pet owners should be looking at feeding a mostly ‘starch free’ diet.

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