A leather shoe or rump steak are both rich in protein. A metal nail or spinach, rich in iron. Which is more nutritious? A spectrum of multi-vitamins from the pharmacy or Granny’s Sunday roast of chicken, sweet potato, veggies and salad. Both are balanced in minerals and vitamins, but which is more nutritious?
In the pet food industry a healthy nutritious meal is determined by its balance. Not so long ago hundreds of our beloved companion animals were sickened and died as a result of the inclusion on melamine in pet food.
Melamine, a derivative from coal, shows a high protein content, but in reality is not only not nutritious but in fact dangerous. In this case the pet food was balanced. It had its vitamin and mineral component, it had its balance of fats, moisture and carbohydrates and it had the correct levels of protein. It appeased the governing authorities and yet it was later proven to be dangerous and of poor nutritional value.
Whole nourishment comes from whole natural and enzyme-active foods that are not refined, processed or laden with preservatives or chemicals. The highest quality nourishment can be obtained from organic foods grown on fertile soil and raised without harmful chemicals. Many food processing techniques utilize heat as a key parameter to produce pelleted pet food and canned pet food.
The effects of heat processing are therefore well documented:
- Protein structures in the food are altered.
- Enzymes are effected and depending on the type of enzyme, could be irreversibly denatured with loss of activity
- There is a loss of 50% of the B vitamins
- A 70% loss of vitamin c
- Mineral absorption is disrupted.
To rectify this imbalance the industry must add back synthetic vitamins, the most common being vitamin A, C and E. However, in natural whole foods, a vitamin is found as a complex and serves as a catalyst in relation to other minerals and nutrients. It is said, for example, that vitamin E can lose up to 99% of its potency if not in its natural complex form. To make matters worse vitamins in a synthetic form can suppress various symptoms of the body and can lead to biochemical imbalances.
This covers up symptoms essentially allowing disease to grow or progressively worsen. Simply stated, minerals, vitamins, protein and hormones cannot function without enzymes being present. Enzymes in turn, cannot function if the cells are too acidic and if they are exposed to heat, as with most processed pet food. This no wonder that many of our companion animals are malnourished and suffer from a wide spectrum of illness. From skin conditions to digestive problems, cancer, diabetes, arthritics conditions, renal complications, heart disease, dental disease and epilepsy.
Dr. TJ Dunn puts it all in perspective: ‘During my 30 years of veterinary practice I have often been upset by the poor condition I see some of my canine patients in, due to inferior quality diets that the owner honestly believes to be adequate. In good faith the dog owner assumes that since the dog food label proclaims ‘complete and balanced,’ ‘premium,’ ‘high protein,’ and so on, that their dog will automatically do great if that’s all it is fed.
Because of ambiguous or deceptive labeling of the dog food, the owner unknowingly will feed an inadequate diet. And it may be decades before the FDA requires more strict guidelines for dog food manufacturers to follow, so that misleading, ambiguous, and sometimes phony labeling practice no longer confuse or trick the purchaser. So I ask you again. Where are you off to for lunch? The pharmacy or granny.
By Paul Jacobson, Pet Food Nutritionist