Posted : 1/8/2009 7:22:08 PM
Great Dane Lady... new article on grains
THE FOLLOWING WAS POSTED ON ONE OF MY GOLDEN RETRIEVER FORUMS. I COULD NOT FIND IT POSTED HERE ANYWHERE, SO AM POSTING IT FOR ANY INTERESTED.
I found this very informative. It's a new article on her site re: grains / grain free food.
|Things to Ponder About Grain Free Diets |
I get many emails asking my opinion of the new grain-free diets on the market. These are new foods and actually a spin-off of the BARF- biologically appropriate raw foods movement.
The growing holistic pet food industry has much competition these days, so they are looking for ways to reinvent the wheel and here you have it, the new grain free diets!
After all, if the public wants grain free diets, certainly they know what is best for their pets - right? Wrong -- just because the public wants it, is not a good enough reason to manufacture it. Just because it is a grain free diet, does not mean it is appropriate for your dog's situation.
Thanks to knee-jerk reactions and the propagation of nutritional myths on the internet, grains in petfoods have a bad reputation. Grains are carbohydrates and carbohydrates are not necessarily bad. Just because it is a grain free diet does not mean there are no carbohydrates in the grain free food. Instead they substitute potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams and tapioca, as other carb sources yet tapioca is a questionable ingredient for pets. More feed trials are needed on these foods.
So when people think they are using a grain-free diet, it still has carbohydrates in it and in many cases potato carbohydrates are worse for allergies, systemic yeast infections, diabetic and cancer diets - worse than quality whole ground grains used in the proper proportion.
My point here is this, like most things in life, this grainless diet topic is not a black/white issue. There are many things we need to consider before using a grain free diet for our pet's current health situation. Now the good thing about the grain free diets is that they are generally made by very good holistic companies like Nutura's EVO, Wellness-Core. Wysong's Archetype, Dr Harvey's Veg-To-Bowl among others. Here is a list in my Raw Diet Options.
Most grain free diets have not been around long enough to see how they will do in 3-4 generations. And feed trials, if actually done, are very limited. That is, other than Dr. Wysong's diets because he is a pioneer in the field of nutrition and his products have longevity and feed trial research done on them. He is one of my heroes and I appreciate all he has done to educating us about pet and human nutrition. (wysong.net).
I do not recommend grain free diets for growth in any breed and especially for large and giant breeds. Actually, I do not recommend a grain free diet be fed as the "total diet" to any healthy breed. I even have reservations about them used totally as a cancer diet due to the high calcium levels. They are really meant for very specific uses and often for short term use - each animal's situation would have to be throught through before I could ever recommend a total grainless diet to my puppy buyers.
I think grainless food is fine to use as a 5%-10% component to the adult diet using a super premium or holsitic food as the 90-95% basis of your program. For puppies I would only use a spoonful mixed with a high quality kibble such as the Wellpet line (Eagle and Wellness foods).
Once the puppy is past the growth stages then it is ok to increase the amount fed of a grainless diet. This is why I like the Honest Kitchen products so much, they are easier to regulate feeding, you can sprinkle a little on the puppies food and add a little water and stir - voila - you have the best of both worlds. A quality kibble with optimal nutrients, the raw component and fruits and veggies. What more could you ask in this busy world - ease and not compromising your pet's health.
It is very hard to regulate growth patterns on raw or grain fee diets in order to avoid developmental orthopedic diseases such as; HOD, Knuckling Over/Bowing (Carpel Flexural Deformity) OCD, and Pano.
What The Great Dane Lady Uses:
I do have a raw component to all of my programs and that is accomplished through the use of The Honest Kitchen dehydrated raw/fruit/veggie mix, I recommend top dressing my Eagle Super Premium or Holistic Eagle line or Wellness Super Mix line.
I would also approve of a 10% component of Wellness Core along with the Wellness Super Mix line for adult dogs. For puppies only a small spoonful is needed until they are through the difficult growth stages past 8 months.
Blackwatch Puppy Feed Program for Large/Giant breeds
Wellness Dog Food Company States It Best:
DID YOU KNOW?
The majority of the grain-free diets available today contain extreme, super-concentrated nutrient levels far beyond that of everyday super-premium dog food:
• 75% more protein
• 87% more calcium
• 57% more fat
• 53% more phosphorus (editorial comment - this means more ash)
• 16% more calories
*ALL percentages calculated on a dry matter basis
These nutrient levels (calories, fat, protein) have been historically recommended only during sustained levels of high stress, high energy and peak nutritional demand including:
• Hunting, racing, showing, competition
• Accelerated recovery from surgery or illness
• Breeding, lactation and weaning
The high levels of Calcium and Phosphorus are generally not recommended for any special condition or circumstance.
editorial comment: Keep in mind that Wellness Core is actually one of the more moderate grainless diets on the market and even they know to make this info clear to the public.
So Are Grains Good or Bad?
There is some notion out there in cyberspace that grains are bad, when in fact grains are only bad when they were used as the basis for commercial foods, in other words grain is listed first on the label --- now that's bad. In super premium and holistic lines, grains are used as carbohydrate components, not as protein and not as filler, and that is good thing. Plus the quality of grains use in holistic and super premium lines is grade#1 Human Grade or Organic. This means low gluten components in the grains.
Grains are bad when they are:
1) fractionated (not ground whole)
2) when they are not human grade or organic
3) when they are the basis for commercial dog foods (grain listed first instead of meat protein based).
The biggest grain bashing problem was started by a west coast dog food company years ago, and it had to do with corn and allergies. The fact is Human Grade #1 corn is one of the best natural sources of coat and skin conditioners like Omega 6, and it is low in gluten. It has an overall digestibility is 90% and carbohydrate digestibility is 99%.
Here is more information on the Corn Myth as it relates to allergies.
In 2005 one of the most respected holistic dog food companies decided to pull the corn from their foods only because they had pressure from consumers to do so. This decision to remove the corn was not based in any kind of research, but just because they bowed to public pressure. They removed the corn and now had a "grain-less" holistic food which is what the public clammored for in a pet food.
After test feeding the diet over a long period of time they witnessed several changes in the dogs energy levels, coat and body weight. All were negative effects. The dogs had significant weight loss, it took much more food to maintain the dogs weight, coats became brittle and the dog's energy levels plummeted, real working dogs were lacked endurance. After seeing this results over many months of feed trial research, the decided to put the Grade 1# whole corn back into their holistic diet - as a carbohydrate source, and after thousands of bags were sold not one allergy was reported.
I have found in dealing with dogs that are diabetic or have cancer, that when we totally remove the grain from the diet, their energy level plummets. So using a very high quality, high protein/fat diet with some component of whole grain is actual a good thing. Remember if it is ground whole, that means the fiber is intact - if there is natural fiber present, then the grain does not convert to sugar in a flash, it burns slow and steady and sustains energy levels and appetites.
Dr. Harvey addresses this issue in his article: Grain to Provide Storage Glycogen
As Dr. Harvey states "Every athlete knows that taking in pasta or grain loading prior to an athletic event, provides the necessary storage glycogen for the athlete to have sufficient glucose for muscle performance for the duration activity. This glucose is necessary for all muscle function."
He goes on to talk about the value of whole grains, precooked and/or freeze dried grains in a diet. The key is the diet should NOT be grain based, but instead should be based in protein from quality meat sources.
Dr. Harvey says "Some dogs do well on a completely grain-free diet, and for them I made Veg-to-Bowl , a grain-free mix of wonderful dehydrated and freeze-dried veggies. This mixture blended with meat and oils makes a wonderful grain-free meal. "
He then expresses the same opinion that I have in that "some dogs do better with grains, in fact, in my experience; many, many dogs improve dramatically when using our Canine Health (which has a whole grain component) with raw or cooked meat".
Dr. Harvey's company is not the only company to have found this out in feed trials. PHD - Perfect Healthy Diet has also put whole grain back into the dry food because the dogs in feed trials did not maintain stamina when working, and lost weight quickly, having difficulty in maintaining their ideal weight.
GRADE QUALITY and AMOUNT and KIND of grain is the key - remember whole intact grains have all the fiber in tact, so it is not a fast sugar burn as is refined carbohydrates.
Dr. Harvey goes on to point out, "Nature made all muscle and brain function (99%) using glucose and oxygen. Carbohydrates, such as grains, are stored in the liver as glycogen, this is then released as glucose in the blood as the body requires it".
He goes on to say "I see that dogs do incredibly well and thrive on 6-10% grain in their diet. Dogs are able to utilize the glucose from grains, as athletes do when they are performing"
Dr. Harvey has developed two organic pre-mixes Canine Health, Feline Health and Veg-to-Bowl,(no grain) to offer the easiest, safest and most convenient way to feed a complete raw diet. Just add water, meat and oil to either of our pre-mixes and you have a complete raw meal for your dog or cat. He also has available Power Patties - Freeze Dried Tripe. For more information on this diet go to: http://www.drharveys.com/
Dr. Lisa Neuman has a very good article on feeding raw/fruit/veggie - grainless diets.
You need to read about this research if you are going to choose going straight grain-free diets.
Lastly, here is some information about grains as they relate to the diabetic dog. This is taken from the Feed Program for Diabetes.
THE GRAIN CONTROVERSY
The issue of grain consumption in pet foods has more to do with the QUALITY and QUANTITY used in a food. For example, the use of corn in a food has gotten much bad press for being an allergen, when in fact it is the "feed grade" corn that is the problem and comparing it to human grade #1 corn; it is nutritionally as different as night and day. (The Corn Myth).
I am certainly not promoting any grain or corn based food as being the best choice in a diet, but a holistic dog food (not cat) with a human grade, whole grain #1 corn component in it, provides energy levels unmatched by any other grain or protein source and needed for real performance animals. Not all grains are bad, and likewise a grain free diet is NOT necessarily the best way to feed a pet either.
Grain-based dog foods (grain is listed first on the bag) are difficult for the dog to digest and some say that dogs do not make the amylase enzyme needed to break down carbohydrates, but that is not true. What is true, is - because dogs do not get a raw component to their diets or do not get dietary enzyme supplementation, they are unable to make adequate amounts of all digestive enzymes for proper digestion!!
If there is no raw component, dietary enzymes supplementation or digestive enzyme supplementation provided to the dog's diet, the body can not make/produce the enzymes necessary to break down and digest the carbohydrates, protein, fats and fiber in a diet.
Dogs and cats have trouble making enough digestive enzymes - all 4 types of digestive enzymes, when they do not have the adequate nutrients supplied in the daily diet, in some form of a "raw, unprocessed, living component".
When there is no raw present, there are no dietary enzymes present and therefore total enzymatic activity that breaks down the food depends wholly on the pancreas to make these enzymes. That is a tremendous burden on the pancreas when it is "born" with a limited number to begin with. Think of the pancreas as a checking account with a set amount of money in it. When it is spent, it is spent - and when it is spent, that is when you develop diabetes.
In the Diabetic Support Kit #22 , I have combined supplements that have been shown in the most recent research to be beneficial in establishing less spiking in glucose levels and more consistency in the dog's diabetic condition. There have been some pets that have had reversing of the disease after a time on the program, and on a quality holistic meat based food, but it is important to make sure a diabetic pet remains on the contents of the kit for life.
The most success I have seen is in cats, where grain-free raw diets are the most successful when it comes to reversing disease.