Saturday, May 30, 2009

Pet food ingredient Grain: Controversy vs. chemistry Part 5: Can Oats Lower Your Dog’s Cholesterol?

As yet another installment of the “Pet food ingredient Grain” series today let’s see what the founder and owner of dehydrated raw food mix manufacturer Sojourner Farms, Ward Johnson has to say on this topic.

"Grains sure have it rough in the pet food industry. Lately they've been gaining a reputation for being cheap fillers that cause allergies and have no nutritional benefit. And the rumor is absolutely true. Wait!! Allow me to explain. Conventional pet foods have been using cheap grains as fillers that have been cooked and processed to death. These grain by-products are worthless and can even cause health problems due to their low quality and over processed state. … don’t use bottom-of-the-barrel grains or by-products. … only use high-quality, human grade, whole grains that are chock full of bioavailable nutrients and DON'T cause allergies or other health problems. And yet, some people still think that dogs should not eat grains, even those in our recipes! We’re always surprised to hear that. We’ve always seen amazing results with our Pre-mIxes for Dogs, which contain wholesome oats in addition to rye and barley. Based on information derived from a recent trial study on oats, it seems science, not to mention our time-tested results, are on our side as well.This study, published by Pet Food Industry, compared the cholesterol levels of dogs whose diets were comprised of 0%, 5%, 10% and 20% grains over a period of eight weeks. The results revealed that the group who received oats as 20% of their diet had a 14.7% drop in cholesterol levels as compared to the control group who received no oats. The study concluded that a diet of 20% dietary oats could be beneficial to dogs with hypercholesterolemia, or high cholesterol, which can occur in several diseases such as kidney disease, hypothyroidism, diabetes mellitus, cholestasis, and hyperadrenocorticoidism.How do oats reduce cholesterol in the body? Oats are loaded with a soluble fiber called beta-glucan. Beta-glucans are incredibly viscous and help to thicken the membranes of the intestines when broken down. This thickening prevents the absorption of bile acids, which are made up of cholesterol. If the body has no bile acids to use in digestion, it must take up the cholesterol in the blood to replenish the bile acid, therefore reducing the amount of cholesterol in the bloodstream. Over time, enough of the cholesterol in the blood is removed to show a significant reduction or maintain healthy levels.But the benefits of oats do not end there. Low cholesterol in the bloodstream means reduced risk of heart disease. The high fiber in oats may also contribute to colon health and act as an aid to combat constipation. In addition to the benefits of a whole lot of fiber, these tasty grains also boast high protein levels and good sources of magnesium, iron, zinc as well as several B vitamins. In humans, oats have also been linked to controlling blood sugar levels, which could also benefit dogs with diabetes. Not to mention that oats are packed with selenium, a powerful antioxidant that has been linked to heart health, DNA repair and colon cancer prevention.We use the same locally grown, non GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms), top of the barrel grains that just might end up in a loaf of bread from your favorite bakery. We are incredibly proud of the ingredients we use in our products and the benefits they provide. For over twenty years, we’ve seen consistently awesome results from our healthy multi grain recipe. Whether or not your dog has high cholesterol or any of the ailments listed above, incorporating whole grains into his diet is a smart choice to make for overall health. …

Quinoa and barley and rye, oh my!

Whole grains are a crucial part to any diet, including that of your beloved pet. We’ve already told you all the wonderful things that oats have to offer, but what about the other grains we use in our mixes? Keep reading…Rye is a cereal grain that has been cultivated since the Middle Ages in Central and Eastern Europe. Rye is high in fiber and vitamin E, an antioxidant that supports the immune system. It's also a great source of certain B Vitamins: Riboflavin (B2), Folic Acid (B9), and Pantothentic Acid (B5), which help maintain muscles, skin, and brain function

Barley dates back to prehistoric times and has been a very valuable grain for many different cultures and societies. It is known to fight against various diseases including heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. This grain contains more fiber than most other grains, and is a good source of Thiamin (B1), Riboflavin (B2), and Lysine (an essential amino acid needed for growth).

Quinoa (pronounced “Keen-Wa”) is a valuable grain that has been a staple of the Incas and other natives of the Andes for over 5,000 years. It is a complete protein that boasts more Lysine, Iron, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Calcium, and Fat than other grains. In fact, it is such a beneficial grain that it is being considered as a possible crop in NASA’s Controlled Ecological Life Support System for long term spaceflights!”

Sure some of you may say now, That’s all fine but Ward is opinionated and promoting his own products here”. Well, I saw that coming and took it a little further: Ward is not all by himself with his opionion. Here is what others had to say on the subject matter:

Dr. Randy Wysong, DVM in his
“Truth about Pet Foods” states on “Grains”: “Sprouted grains are raw and whole, make excellent additions to your pet’s diet and are eagerly accepted when combined with other foods. … Cooked grains should be a much smaller portion of your pet’s diet. Raw, organically grown rolled oats or raw barley flakes, soaked in raw milk over night result in a treat many pets will relish. Popcorn can be fed popped and soaked as above, as well. Cooked porridges of oats, brown rice, millet, amaranth or quinoa can also be used occasionally. Small amounts of leftover table scraps such as cereals, sandwiches and home made breads and rolls are beneficial additions to your dog’s or cat’s diet, provided they are prepared carefully and with whole grain natural ingredients.”

“Whole grains are a very cost effective and environmentally sensitive way to provide the mainstay of your pet’s diet.” – Richard Pitcairn, DVM in “Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Cats and Dogs

As you know from reading previous articles in this series the general take is that dogs and even more so cats should not be fed grains. Reason being is that they are carnivores or meat eaters.

I think when discussing the topic we need to differentiate between highly processed grains, as they typically are used in most, definitely mass marketed and produced dry foods. The problem comes with the nature of the beast: Commercial manufactured and highly processed food = Dry food. Without serious altering of ingredients there would be no dry food. Another problem is that many manufacturers, especially the ones making foods for mass marketing purposes quite often use grains as a primary ingredient and protein source, which has definitely to be considered as being unacceptable for our domesticated animals.

Previously published comments of this series:
Pet food ingredient Grain: Controversy vs. chemistry Part 1
Pet food ingredient Grain: Controversy vs. chemistry Part 2
Pet food ingredient Grain: Controversy vs. chemistry Part 3 Whole Grains: The Healing Truth
Pet food ingredient Grain: Controversy vs. chemistry Part 4 The Gluten Free Debate
Not everybody jumping onto the Grain Free train

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