Study: Starch Digestion Adaptation in Dogs

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

  1. release the hounds

    release the hounds Active Member

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    mine are blended down as well. I rarely feed them though, maybe once every 2-3 weeks
     
  2. Southpaw

    Southpaw orange iguanas.

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    Like.

    I mean, I don't feed a starch-free diet anyway but this doesn't really change my opinion on how I'd prefer to feed them or what I think is best. And I guess I never really had the viewpoint that they CAN'T have these things - just that they don't NEED them.

    But what do I know, I'm not sure I even know what I just said. :p
     
  3. ~Jessie~

    ~Jessie~ Chihuahua Power!

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    Yeah, this.
     
  4. AdrianneIsabel

    AdrianneIsabel Glutton for Crazy

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    Sloan can't stomach barley. Clearly this is false. (I'm teasing)
     
  5. sassafras

    sassafras mushinois

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    But having some sort of science to back it up IS the whole point. Right now SO many things about nutrition are nothing more than opinion. Now there is actually some evidence that dogs have evolved this ability to digest starches.

    The idea of whether they "should" or not is still a matter of opinion, I think. And I'm certainly not saying WHEAT GLUTEN FOR EVERYONE!!!!11!! but at least it gives a factual basis for whether it's ok to include some grains/starches in a balanced diet... and even more exciting to me, validates the idea that there are real, measurable genetic differences here. Maybe some day we can say with more certainty what an individual dog "should" or "shouldn't" be eating.



    ETA: We already know there is tremendous individual variation in things like... drug receptors. That's why ibuprofen works great for one person and hardly works at all for another person, or why morphine makes one person sick and is an awesome pain reliever for another person. Having a measurable way to demonstrate that things like that are true for digestion... it's just exciting to me to see a possible future where the clamor of diet extremists is quieted by real evidence that digestion and suitable diet may be genetically different from one dog to another, so there is no "one true way" and plenty of room for a variety of ways to feed individual dogs.
     
  6. Shai

    Shai & the Muttly Crew

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    ^'Zactly

    Also...
    /me is a morphine-puker. Very sad. Finding this out post-surgery was even more sad.
     
  7. Beanie

    Beanie Clicker Cult Coordinator

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    Yes, scientifically speaking that is absolutely the case. Dogs did not evolve from wolves, they just share a common ancestor.
    So Mitochondrial Wolfdog evolved down into both wolf and dog - two separate evolution paths. Not the same as "evolved from wolves."


    I think what it changes is people who argue that dogs are exactly the same as wolves and therefore should eat the same as wolves. There's a genetic DIGESTIVE difference; here's proof that they just flat out are not the same. (Of course arguing genetics with some of these people still doesn't mean that they recognize the scientific difference.)

    A coyote will certainly eat corn and we know from scatology studies they can digest it (though how well is another argument.) Does that mean they SHOULD eat corn? That corn is somehow part of a "balanced" and healthy diet? Does that mean they wouldn't rather pick a tasty, tasty rabbit over corn? No, none of these are necessarily true, and I believe that holds true here as well.
    It's just a matter of a genetic difference between dogs and wolves. I think it makes sense, as is pointed out in the article: a critter who can better digest grain would thrive in a rapidly agriculturalizing, grain-producing society over a critter who can't digest grain. (And once again to the coyote comparison - they're certainly doing well around us, so well they're moving IN to towns in places...) Survival of the fittest and all that. So obviously that critter would thrive and produce offspring and eventually evolve into modern day dog. It's been argued for a long time that people used to just feed their dogs whatever they had as leftovers - which was not necessarily meat - so this is all in line.

    It's fascinating to me genetically/biologically, not so much from a dietary standpoint.
     
  8. StillandSilent

    StillandSilent New Member

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    Corn makes my coyote fart. Clearly it is the ebil! :rolleyes:

    I have seen him stripping kernals right off the ear, though, so he must like the taste. Incidentally, this is how I know that it makes him fart.
     
  9. SaraB

    SaraB New Member

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    This.

    On a separate note, I've always been the believer that a well-varied diet is best when creating a diet yourself (ie raw feeders). I don't have vitamins to add, I don't measure everything out, but I rely on the same principle I rely on when I feed myself. Variety is key. So when I choose protein sources, organs or add-ins for my dog's diet I go for the largest variety I can to ensure that I'm providing as balanced of a diet as possible. All this study shows me is that by having the ability to digest these things, that they are actually getting something from them. All this does is confirm that I have another venue to add even more variety to my dog's diet whether it turns out to be just sugars or some vitamins they are lacking.

    So yes, I am going to be one of those people that adds more veggies/starches whatever into their dog's diet based on this article. It won't hurt them so why not?
     
  10. Psyfalcon

    Psyfalcon Fishies!

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    28 times 0 is still 0. 28 times terrible might still be terrible. You can see the difference between say, raw, and a corn first dog food on the other end.

    Still, it is pretty interesting that dogs changed that fast. Functionally, I'd consider the wolves they split from fairly modern. Morphology is pretty close, at least within the variation in the species now.
     
  11. Lyzelle

    Lyzelle New Member

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    It doesn't give any basis or fact for a balanced diet at all. The only insight it gives is a genetic standpoint. Starch is metabolized into sugar, which has no nutritional value at all. So no, Sara, they actually aren't getting something from it other than maybe some way to gain weight and have small, quick bursts of energy and then crash. I would think for you, and your agility dogs, that would be a nightmare unless it was right before or right after a hard workout.

    Yeah, this article gives proof on a genetic level. It gives NO basis or proof on how we should feed a nutritional or balanced diet. Zero.
     
  12. SaraB

    SaraB New Member

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    Hmmm.... My dogs actually do a lot more than just run agility. We go hiking, they run in the backyard, they play, they train. Tons of opportunities to burn off sugars if that's really all they are getting from it.

    From what I have learned about trying to get weight off of dogs is that you can use vegetables as a filler that doesn't add a lot of fat/sugar to their diet. So essentially you feed green beans or whatever to make your dog feel fuller without adding a ton of calories.
     
  13. sassafras

    sassafras mushinois

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    LOL you'd die without sugar (or at least glucose). Your Krebs cycle relies on it.

    Additionally, there is more to grains than carbs. Many grains have a surprising amount of protein. And even if it is purely an energy source, so what?

    No one will EVER know what the "optimum" diet for dogs or any other animal is. No creature evolved eating an optimum diet, they all adapted to be able to use one or more of the foodstuffs available to them. Everything evolved to be able to eat a diet that would allow them to grow fast enough and strong enough to reproduce before they died. Bodies are not designed to grow old, they're designed to live long enough to breed. So the argument of "sure, they can digest grains but it's not optimum" is sort of pointless IMO. Optimum for what? What gets me through to reproduction (my "natural" diet) may not be what is best to get me through to old age.
     
  14. JessLough

    JessLough Love My Mutt

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    This. Sure, you can *say* it's that simple, but it's really not.
     
  15. AdrianneIsabel

    AdrianneIsabel Glutton for Crazy

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    Meat has sugar, minimally, but enough to take note.
     
  16. Red.Apricot

    Red.Apricot Active Member

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    This, totally.
     
  17. GoingNowhere

    GoingNowhere Active Member

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    :hail: "Optimum" is a flexible word.
     
  18. JacksonsMom

    JacksonsMom Active Member

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    Yeah, this!
     
  19. Lyzelle

    Lyzelle New Member

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    As Adrienne said, meat also has sugar.

    And I never mentioned an optimum diet, but that the dog adapted to getting the most out of it's environment. The dog became the optimum consumer, not vice versa. This article changes nothing about what we already know about the diets of dogs. It proved that they are scavengers, and adapted to eating sub-par foods to survive. Nothing less. Dogs are still individuals who react differently to different foods, as I said in my first post.

    But personally, I won't be feeding my dogs a diet consisting of foods they would eat to purely survive (starches, rotting meat, garbage) over what I know would be healthier for them.
     
  20. AdrianneIsabel

    AdrianneIsabel Glutton for Crazy

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    As always feed what works for your dogs. My Malinois do substantially worse with grains, my pit bulls do better on raw but alright on grain free kibble. As for starch i will not be buying any starchy kibbles nor adding them to my dogs diet but I see nothing wrong with those who feel safer to do so now.

    I rarely believe a first edition study (boy, have those gone wrong before) but I am happy to see a step in the right direction.
     

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