Study: Starch Digestion Adaptation in Dogs

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

  1. sassafras

    sassafras mushinois

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    Really, those are the only two hypotheses you're getting out of this thread or that you can think of?

    I think most people have been more along the lines of, "Dogs can digest grains better than wolves, it's ok/not harmful to include them as part of a healthy diet."
     
  2. rudysgal

    rudysgal New Member

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    I know I'm new here, but this topic has always been of great interest to me, and I agree completely with pretty much everything you said. I believe that it really bares repeating ... Though similar, dogs are not wolves. I think the argument that we have to feed dogs exactly like an animal that doesn't generally survive past the age of 7 isn't a good one. But like you said, I have nottttthing against raw and have fed it myself!
     
  3. Psyfalcon

    Psyfalcon Fishies!

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    Well, I don't like that one, so I wasn't asking for fake money to study it ;)

    Is it harmful to feed grains to a wolf? Not unless they're allergic, or the bulk is enough that they're not eating enough meat to fuel them. I tend to (still) think its the same way with dogs. As long as its not an allergen, at worst, its a waste of money- going through untouched (there may be benefits to fiber though, either non-digested plants or feathers and fur.

    It is possible that digesting starches for sugar is good- when there is no meat, but it raises side effects (either energy swings, or diabetes type things) that are better than starving, but still worse than eating an only meat diet.

    Lots of work to be done!

    I'll have to look at it, I wonder how many genes bear or human has for breaking down starches.
     
  4. release the hounds

    release the hounds Active Member

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    Really???? Do you think there might be just a bit more to the average life span for a wild wolf than just their diet?
     
  5. Lyzelle

    Lyzelle New Member

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    This. That's a pretty ridiculous argument. Disease, starvation, injury, traps/shot, larger predators....and we're just going to say it's obvious we should feed dogs grains because wolves don't eat them and they die within 5 years.

    Yeah. Okay. :rolleyes:
     
  6. JacksonsMom

    JacksonsMom Active Member

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    But are potatoes, tapioca, lentils, and beans any better than barley, rice or oatmeal? I don't really see how they're particularly any more 'useful'. Believe me, I used to be very pro-grain-free (and I'm still not against it, at all) but the whole thing about grains being a waste, or whatever, I feel like they are just as equal as the starches used in grain free dog foods. Some dogs will obviously do better on one vs. the other, or some won't. But I don't think grain free is superior for most canines.
     
  7. JacksonsMom

    JacksonsMom Active Member

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    Of course there is! I don't think anyone is saying "OMG DOGS NEED GRAINS!!!" But I just don't think potatoes, etc, is in any way superior to them.

    But overall, I think the article is more talking about was that since dogs could digest starch better than wolves, it made them better scavengers, and that's why they became domesticated?? Right?? Or am I reading it wrong?

    I just think it's very interesting is all, and a step forward towards real science regarding a canines diet.
     
  8. Lyzelle

    Lyzelle New Member

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    Most of it has to do with the glycemic index of those grains as well, not to mention how they are processed and how badly most are chemically altered these days. It is a bit of a waste of money, considering what they are getting out of it.

    As far as the glycemic index goes, here's an idea.

    Lentils 5GL per 150g serving
    White potato 33GL per 150g serving
    Sweet Potato 22GL per 150g serving

    As opposed to:
    Oatmeal 13GL per 250g serving
    Barley 12GL per 150g serving
    White Rice 43GL per 150g serving
    Brown Rice 16GL per 150g per serving

    Potatoes have less of a GI than white rice. Lentils have less of a GI than Brown rice. Oatmeal and Barley are the runners up for the lowest GI, but most dogs can't have them anyway because of the many gut issues that are associated with them.

    So there is certainly a trend there. If you are going for "I want to feed my dog starch because of the sugar content" sure, go for White Potatoes and White Rice. But if you actually want to be realistic about it, it would be far cheaper, and less of a waste of money and time to just feed them straight white sugar.

    Either way, both groups (grains vs starches) are in kibble mostly as binders and to hold everything together. It cheapens the dog food process by giving more calories and/or lbs per dollar.

    Is it wrong? Of course not. And obviously, as this study also shows, they can digest it and get some sugar out of it to a degree. But I don't think it's really all that useful to them, other than to stave off starvation in lean times.
     
  9. Linds

    Linds Twin 2

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    Just for the record I feed vegetables for the added/varied vitamins, fiber and nutrients I believe it adds to my dogs diet.

    I could just be reading wrong but it seems like they are getting reduced to just sugar. I took that study to mean to me that because they can easier digest it they can possibly derive greater benefits from it. Or at least opens the door to lead to that.
     
  10. Lyzelle

    Lyzelle New Member

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    Amylase and Maltase breakdown starch into sugar, yes. And that was all they apparently found during this study.

    So the theory that they still aren't getting many vitamins or nutrients out of it stands. Fiber might still, just because of the bulk of the foods, but they don't seem to have found any other proteins or enzymes that suggest dogs are getting any real nutrition out of starches.
     
  11. Linds

    Linds Twin 2

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    Which is why I said opens the door. It's still just my thought process but this study leads me to be more convinced that because they showed an ability to better break down starch that they might be more adapted to utilize the vitamins and nutrients found in them. It also leads me to hope more studies will continue to be done because as things stand right now most "theories" are internet conjecture to my knowledge.

    ETA: I guess I complicated it more by adding talking about something other than starch and not keeping it directly related to this study. I just was getting annoyed listening again to the derision targeted at feeding vegetables in a raw diet. So, ignore me.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2013
  12. Romy

    Romy Taxiderpy

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    I have nothing against grains in dog food, but will not feed grain inclusive kibble.

    The grains in kibble are, ugh. Okay, the two predominant ones are corn and rice. Rice is pretty okay. I've noticed that it tends to pass through my dogs when used in kibble, but they digest it just fine if I cook it myself and feed them a straight bowl of rice. I think that has to do with the temperature/cooking time of the grains they use or something. Either way, it's not working for them.

    Corn. Hooookay now. 90-ish% of the corn grown in North America is GMO. The corn used in pet food comes from GMO varieties not approved for human consumption. Also, many of these corn varieties are engineered to withstand being sprayed with Roundup. So not only are they getting some unknown GMO weirdness, they're getting a good dose of herbicide that is proven to cause birth defects and other issues.

    So, my dogs get grain free (potato based) kibble. They do eat grains though, in the same form people eat them. If they start getting too lean I add a bowl of oatmeal to their nightly meal and they do very well with it. Sometimes they eat pasta, or sandwich crusts, etc. Sometimes I even feed them corn, since I soak and grind organic field corn for me and the kids to eat.
     
  13. Romy

    Romy Taxiderpy

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  14. Psyfalcon

    Psyfalcon Fishies!

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    Potatoes are grown with big pesticide loads. Not roundup, you don't need herbicides when you're hilling anyway, but pesticides for the various bugs that really like to eat potatoes and fungicides for the blights.
     
  15. Southpaw

    Southpaw orange iguanas.

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    For the record, I'm not really a fan of ANY of that being in my dogs' food. Yeah, a potato laden food is just as horrifying to me as a grain-heavy food.
     
  16. Romy

    Romy Taxiderpy

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    True. There's also the defoliant, not sure if they still use it or not. Ideally if I was rich I'd feed a home cooked diet of fresh grass feed meats and fish supplemented with some home cooked grains, but that's not in the near future. The big difference I see is that my dogs can digest the potato vs. the undercooked rice or whatever the problem is there.

    I think Eagle Pack cooks their meat and grain kibble ingredients separately, IIRC. That way they're able to cook the grains at a high enough temperature to make them more digestible. Not sure if they're even in business still, since I haven't seen their food in years. They also use corn, but they use stuff fit for human consumption.
     
  17. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

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    Honestly I may be the only one around here that just thinks we 'dog people' sit around and overcomplicate the whole feeding business. Pretty much everything we 'know' is speculation and based upon anecdotes. There is not much hard science behind it in either direction. Hopefully this is a good step in the right direction.

    Dogs evolved alongside us, surviving off our scraps. I have no doubt they can handle most of our food and survive off of it. Now what is 'ideal' is up for more debate.
     
  18. JacksonsMom

    JacksonsMom Active Member

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    Very true. If I had never discovered dog forums, Jackson would most likely be eating some kind of Purina, or something easily accessible at the grocery store. And honestly? I can't say he'd be doing any worse than he is now. I don't believe it to be ideal, and knowing what I know now, I'm somewhat of a dog food nerd. Ok, I am. I know way too much about it, lol, and the companies behind them, etc, so it's hard to ignore once you know it. And I enjoy discussing it. But like I said, there's just too many factors to really place the blame on food.
     
  19. Linds

    Linds Twin 2

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    Exactly this. Though I do think my dogs are better off on raw than they would be on the Pedigree we used to feed, if only because they aren't gross to the touch and sleep in my bed. Wait, that's better for me :p

    Honestly, I just really don't understand the anger, meanness and hate that people show when talking about it. I mean, REALLY?! You care that much about the food I feed MY dogs? REALLY??

    And especially when it gets into "Oh, you feed that insert high quality diet? Wow. I guess you don't know about this and this and this and want your dog to die. You should really be feeding this insert high quality diet."

    But, I do like discussing it and will probably continue to do so.
     
  20. PWCorgi

    PWCorgi Priscilla Winifred Corgi

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    While I don't think I am an ingredient label snob, I will TOTALLY admit to being a sourcing/company snob. :eek:
     

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