Study: Starch Digestion Adaptation in Dogs

Discussion in 'Dogs - General Dog Chat' started by Shai, Jan 23, 2013.

  1. Shai

    Shai & the Muttly Crew

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    Thought a lot of folks here would find this interesting.

    http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2013/01/dog-domestication-tied-to-starch.html?ref=hp

     
  2. Julee

    Julee UNSTOPPABLE

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    Interesting! Thank you for posting :)
     
  3. Flyinsbt

    Flyinsbt New Member

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    Cool! I always suspected that would be true, so it's neat to hear that the science supports it.
     
  4. SaraB

    SaraB New Member

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    Very interesting! Looks like I should be adding more starches to my girls' diets.
     
  5. sassafras

    sassafras mushinois

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    Thank god someone is producing research in this area.
     
  6. JacksonsMom

    JacksonsMom Active Member

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    Very very interesting. :)

    I've been saying for a while that the whole 'dogs should eat exactly like a wolf' was a bit far fetched. We've changed dogs sooo much through the course of time, and while obviously vastly similar, I'd expect to see some dietary needs change throughout the course of humans breeding them.
     
  7. speedydogs

    speedydogs Allons-y!

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    Very cool! I've always suspected this to be true as well, so it's great to see some research on the subject.
     
  8. sassafras

    sassafras mushinois

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    Yes, I've always felt that with all the other things we've changed about dogs, there must have been some physiologic changes as well.

    What is exciting to me is not so much the evidence that a particular food can be digested, but that it appears that real genetic differences exist in the ability to digest certain things. So rather than saying "oh ALL dogs can eat this way or that way" it seems to open a door to feeding the dog in front of you based on what THAT dog tells you rather than based on some theory of what foods Dogs with a capital D "SHOULD" do well on - without excluding any food or group of foods just because. I've seen this is my own dogs for sure - Squash does best heavy on protein/meat, Pip does best with grain inclusive, and Maisy seems to do well on anything.
     
  9. Aleron

    Aleron New Member

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    Interesting!

    I think since dogs are opportunistic scavengers/hunters by nature there is a wide range of diets they can thrive on in general. Some breeds or individuals seem to have issues with some ingredients but overall, I think dogs are pretty adaptable in what diets will work for them.
     
  10. Shai

    Shai & the Muttly Crew

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    Exactly -- I completely agree! I realize it probably comes as little surprise to many that some dogs do best with grains added in their diet, but it's exciting (to me at least!) to have quantifiable proof that not only have dogs as a group evolved to better digest starch but that within domestic dogs there is a huge variation in that ability -- it's the entirely of that "Dogs had four to 30 copies of the gene for amylase...[w]olves have only two copies..." that opens some interesting doors... :).
     
  11. Beanie

    Beanie Clicker Cult Coordinator

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    Wow. Usually studies of this kind have been done as scatology studies examining what things ARE eaten rather than looking at genetic studies of what CAN be eaten. The genetic side of it is oddly fascinating to me.
     
  12. GoingNowhere

    GoingNowhere Active Member

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    fascinating! It took me awhile to scout out the full text article, but after going through my university, I managed to find it and it's an interesting read (PM if you'd like). It only became available online today.

    Thanks for sharing - I went ahead and shared it with my genetics professor who I thought might get a kick out of it.
     
  13. Pops2

    Pops2 New Member

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    Just because they CAN digest a lot more starch doesn't mean they SHOULD. Just like you & I can digest high fructose corn syrup, but there are definite downsides to doing so.
    It only confirms my conviction that dogs did not evolve from wolves.
     
  14. Red.Apricot

    Red.Apricot Active Member

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    What do you think they evolved from? Is there evidence for a different origin?
     
  15. Pops2

    Pops2 New Member

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    IF you believe in evolution, there is pretty good evidence they evolved from a common ancestor rather than directly from wolves.
     
  16. Red.Apricot

    Red.Apricot Active Member

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    Well it would obviously be impossible for them to have evolved from modern wolves (like, the ones alive on the planet now). I don't think anyone thinks otherwise?

    But the common ancestor of wolves and dogs is very recent and would have been much much more like modern wolves than it would have been like modern dogs. ETA: so much like modern/on the planet today wolves that, were they transported here in a time machine, they would in all likelihood have been called wolves.

    Are you saying that you don't think evolution happens, and so the whole comparison is a bunch of hogwash?
     
  17. Linds

    Linds Twin 2

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    Very cool!

    I've always been a vegetable inclusive raw feeder so it's nice to have a little bit of science back up what I've always kinda thought about them being true scavengers.

    It always amazed me how when I would talk to a raw feeder and say I fed veggies I would get the look. Now I feel validated :rofl1:
     
  18. release the hounds

    release the hounds Active Member

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    The only look I think of when feeding veggies in RAW is the look of the poop, it always changes color depending on the veggies :)
     
  19. PWCorgi

    PWCorgi Priscilla Winifred Corgi

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    Can't say I've ever had that issue. My dog's diet is about 5% veggies and if they're broken down correctly they aren't going to show in the poop. If I feed him a whole carrot, yeah he craps orange, but the veggies that have been cut down through a processor seem to digest just fine.
     
  20. Lyzelle

    Lyzelle Active Member

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    In a way, I'm not surprised, but in another I'm not really sure what this is supposed to change anyway. Humans have no species-specific diet, but there are a lot of things we *can* digest that aren't necessarily good for us, such as grains and starches. In no way does this mean dogs should have a diet high in starch or carbs, but it's the same as it has always been. Feed your dog according to it's own personal needs. Some dogs, some breeds, are slightly different than others when it comes to nutrition. Siberian Huskies typically do better on fish, for example. That was their diet for a couple thousand years, so it's natural that their bodies would have optimized in order to get the most out of that diet. And some cons, too, such as being more sensitive to a diet lacking copper and zinc, since the diet they became acclimated to was so high in it. Really no different from some humans who can tolerate cow milk(unnatural to humans), but most can't. How some people handle carbs or grains better than others.

    So, in the big picture, I really don't think it has changed anything at all. Amylase is still a protein that turns starch into sugar, and then maltase breaks it down into a more simple sugar. Sugar carries little to no nutritional benefit at all, and these proteins aren't extracting any nutritional benefit from it. No minerals, no vitamins. If anything, sugar is converted to fat, and the dog's body would simply then burn the usable stand-by body fat in lean times, while still starving on a molecular level from the lack of nutrients. Common enough for a scavenger.

    In no way would I see "oh, they can digest this, so they must NEED IT". I mean, scavengers can also digest rotting, vile meat. Do you think there's any nutritional value or need to feed your dog rotting meat? Probably not. They can have it, but it's not like it's any better for them to have it over fresh meat.

    So I guess I really don't see how anything has changed at all, except maybe proving it, I guess.
     

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