Tag Archives: diet

Dog Food and the hidden MSG

31 Jul

Obesity. It doubles a dog’s chances of developing cancer, heart disease, diabetes and a laundry list of other health problems.  Fifty percent (50%) of US dogs are overweight, and MSG – just one form of free glutamate – is a huge culprit.  MSG can triple a dog’s insulin levels making even the most physically active animals fat. It’s also a suspected neurotoxin.  And it litters our pet food supply under at least 12 different names.

If you see any of these ingredients on the label, put the bag back:

  • Any type of hydrolyzed protein (e.g. hydrolyzed vegetable protein)
  • Any type of protein isolate (e.g. soy protein isolate)
  • Any type of textured protein (e.g. textured vegetable protein)
  • Natural flavors or natural flavorings (e.g. natural beef flavor, natural chicken flavor, natural bacon flavor, natural cheese flavor, natural smoke flavor, etc.)
  • Autolyzed yeast
  • Hydrolyzed yeast
  • Yeast extracts or yeast nutrient or yeast food
  • Soy extracts
  • Soy concentrate
  • Sodium caseinate or calcium caseinate
  • Disodium inosinate or disodium guanylate (which are flavor enhancers effective only in the presence of MSG)
  • MSG (Monosodium Glutamate)
  • Monopotassium Glutamate
  • Glutamate, Glutamic Acid, or free glutamate

Do you know what’s REALLY in your dogs’ food?

Here is a list of other ingredients that OFTEN contain MSG or create MSG in processing:

  • Maltodextrin
  • Cararageenan
  • Protease
  • Citric Acid
  • Corn Starch
  • Gelatin
  • Pectin
  • Anything Ultra-Pasturized
  • Powdered Milk
  • Boullion
  • Malt Extract
  • Spices
  • Anything protein fortified
  • Anything enzyme modified
  • It’s also possible that proteinate or chelate indicates the presence of MSG (e.g. zinc proteinate)

MSG is a salt of glutamic acid, a non-essential amino acid.  A salt is simply a chemical formed by the interaction of an acid and a base – in this case sodium.  “Non-essential” simply means that the body is perfectly capable of making the amino acid on its own and doesn’t need to get it from food.  MSG occurs naturally in soybeans, seaweed (also called “kombu sea vegetable”), sugar beets, and sea tangles.

MSG is just one of several forms of free glutamate used in foods.  All of the forms are bad for your pet.  Glutamate is used by manufacturers to intensify flavors in meats, baked goods, and other foods.  Free glutamate is created when proteins are broken down.  The broken-down proteins then bond with the sodium that’s in the food to create MSG.

Consider what the FDA says about hydrolyzed protein:

“hydrolyzed proteins, used by the food industry to enhance flavor, are simply proteins that have been chemically broken apart into amino acids. The chemical breakdown of proteins may result in the formation of free glutamate that joins with free sodium to form MSG. In this case, the presence of MSG does not need to be disclosed on labeling.[emphasis added]

Natural Flavors.  It’s the category most manufacturers use to mask MSG.  According to some reports, 80% of all “flavored” foodstuffs are MSG.
(Hungry for Change, full-length film.  http://vimeo.com/38632012)

It’s a misleading term and it should not be assumed that just because something is “natural” over “artificial” it’s somehow safer for us or our pets.  Anything that has been concocted by a physical process (e.g. solvent extraction, heating, enzyme action, distillation) from a plant or animal origin can be called a “natural flavor” regardless of the unavoidable but unintentional changes in the chemical structure that result. (A Consumer’s Dictionary of Food Additives, 7th edition. Ruth Winter, M.S.)

Take Hickory Smoke Compensate (HSC) for instance.  It’s a food flavoring popular in the US that has tumor initiating and promoting potential.  A medical university study induced cancerous lesions in rats with a diet consisting of 5% HSC.  The FDA has issued no warnings.

A word on proteinates and chelates.  We see proteinates and chelates on the labels for pet food very often as the source of trace minerals.  And they’re included in some very well respected brands.  We may see copper proteinate, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate or manganese proteinate on a label for instance.  Proteinate by definition is a compound of a protein.  Proteinated and chelated minerals are substances used in animal feed where the mineral has been combined with amino acids so as to improve absorption in the body.

The concern arises around the nature of those amino acids – specifically whether hydrolyzed protein was used as the source of that amino acid – thereby adding free glutamate or MSG into the mix.  If this is indeed the case, one could argue that the glutamate in mineral supplements is present in such minute quantities…  In any event, here’s one dog food company’s position on the matter:  http://www.natureslogic.com/faq/#faq3.   And no doubt, suppliers of animal feed supplements use MSG-catalyzing hydrolyzed proteins.  Here’s an example: http://www.chaitanyagroups.com/animal-feed-supplements.html.

 

Now on to the effects of MSG…

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that people who use MSG are more likely to be overweight than people who do not use it, even though they have the same amount of physical activity and calorie intake.

The British Journal of Nutrition published a study which showed the ability to induce obesity in newborn mice via MSG to be nearly 100% reliable.   This news makes MSG intake for puppies especially concerning.

“Newborn mice were injected subcutaneously with 3 mg MSG/g bodyweight… 16% died before weaning. Of the survivors, 90% or more became markedly obese. Mean carcass lipid content was increased by about 120% in both sexes at 20-30 weeks old.”

 

In addition to obesity, MSG or glutamate is a suspected addictive neurotoxin that has been associated with chest pain, headaches, numbness, asthmatic reactions, brain damage (in rats, rabbits, chicks and monkeys), depression, irritability, and mood changes, reproductive dysfunction in males and females, nervous symptoms (decreased sensibility in neck, arms and back) and irregular heartbeat.  It’s also on the FDA’s list for further study for possible mutagenic teratogenic, subacute and reproductive effects.

MSG does not need to be in our pets’ food and shame on the manufacturers for putting it there in disguise as “natural flavors” and other things.  If the reasons above aren’t enough to strip this ingredient from our dogs’ food supply we should consider where it comes from.

China.  In all likelihood the glutamate dumped into the dog dish is coming from a country plagued with a toxic human food chain.  According to recent US census data, China is the third largest importer of this category of flavoring food additives (slightly behind India and Indonesia). (ttp://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/statistics/country/)

 

The flavorings market totals about $6-billion-a-year and leaches over 1,323 substances into our food supply just to make food more appealing.  The FDA by its own admission has inspected about 100 of the 190,000 foreign food plants.  At their current inspection rates, they would need 1900 years to inspect them all.[i] And those are just the ones producing food for human consumption.  There’s no one but us looking out for our pets.

Below is a short list of treats containing any of these Dirty Dozen likely aliases for free glutamate and MSG.  And if you see proteinate or chelate on an ingredients panel for pet food, it’s worth learning more from the manufacturer:

  • Beggin’ Strips
  • Beneful (Baked Delights and Snackin’ Slices)
  • Bil-Jac  (Training Biscuits, Gooberlicious)
  • Blue Buffalo (Blue Bits, Blue Bites, Blue Stix, Super Bars, Blue Bones, Wild Bites, Blue Wilderness Wild Bites)
  • Blue Dog Bakery (Doggie Paws, Softies, Super Stars, Live Well, bakery Bones, Perfect Trainers)
  • Buddy Biscuits (Soft and Chewy, Chewy Tricky Trainers)
  • Busy Bones
  • Canyon Creek Ranch
  • Carolina Prime
  • Cesar Treats
  • Dentastix (from Pedigree)
  • Gimborn Pro Treat Raw Naturals
  • Goodlife Recipe
  • Halo (Spot’s Chew)
  • Merrick (all flavors of the Sausage Dog Treats)
  • Milk Bones
  • Milo’s Kitchen
  • Mother Hubbard
  • Pedigree Good Bites
  • Pup-Peroni
  • Pur Luv (various treats like Healthy Support and fish recipe stix)
  • Purina Pro Plan (various treats including Roasted Slices)
  • Red Barn (Deli Stix, Naturals Natu-Rollies, Meat Filled Bones, peanut butter filled hooves, cheese and bacon filled hooves,  Fetchers Dog Bully Stick Chews)
  • Real Meat Jerky Treats (Jerky Bites, Bitz, Long Stix, Large Bitz)
  • Solid Gold (Beef Jerky, Turkey Jerky, Lamb Jerky, Tiny Tots)
  • Snausages
  • T-Bonz
  • Waggin Train
  • Wellness (Wellbites)
  • Zukes   (Mini Bakes, Z-Bones, Mini Naturals, Jerky Naturals, Natural Purrz)

 

 

 

 

Calculating a Dog Food Diet’s Protein, Fat, Carbs, and Fiber

12 Jun

It’s not always easy to figure out how much fat and other nutrients are really in the food you feed, whether it’s kibble, canned food, or a home-prepared raw or cooked diet. Here are some tips that can help.

Methods of Measurement
There are three different ways of measuring amounts of protein, fat, carbohydrates, and fiber in foods:

- Percentage of dry matter

- Percentage of calories (does not apply to fiber)

- Grams per 1,000 calories

Dry matter percentages are easiest to use for commercial foods. Grams per 1,000 calories or percentage of calories are simpler ways to measure nutrients in a homemade diet.

 

Commercial Foods
Pet food labels give you some, but not all, of the information you need in order to really know the nutritional composition of your dog’s diet.

- The percentages of protein, fat, and fiber shown on dog food labels are guaranteed minimums and maximums, NOT actual amounts. The real amount of fat in particular may be much higher than what is shown on the label of some canned and raw diets. If your dog needs a low-fat diet, look for products that are lower in calories than similar foods.

For more accurate information, contact the company that makes the food you’re interested in and ask them for a nutritional analysis showing the actual amount of protein, fat, fiber, ash, and moisture, as well as the number of calories in the food. Editor’s note: Some pet food makers (particularly small companies) may not have a complete nutritional analysis of their products. In our opinion, this reflects a lack of adequate research and investment in the product. When feeding a special needs dog, we’d look to a company who has this current information on hand.

- The percentage of carbohydrates is not included on most labels or nutritional analyses. To calculate the percentage of carbohydrates in a commercial diet, subtract the percentages of protein, fat, moisture, crude fiber (an indigestible part of carbohydrates), and ash from 100. This percentage may be shown as “nitgrogen-free extract (NFE)” on a nutritional analysis.

- Total dietary fiber is likely much higher than the crude fiber shown on the label. If dietary (soluble plus insoluble) fiber is not shown on a complete nutritional analysis, there is no way to calculate it.

Fresh Foods
When feeding a home-prepared diet comprised of fresh food ingredients, it can be a bit more challenging to calculate some of the nutrient values that you’d like to know when feeding a diabetic dog.

-To calculate the caloric content of the food, look up the ingredients or enter a recipe on NutritionData.com. The number of calories from protein, fat, and carbohydrates, along with the total calories, are given in the “calorie information” section, and the calorie percentages are shown in the “caloric ratio pyramid.”

-To calculate the grams of protein, fat, etc., per 1,000 calories, divide grams of any nutrient by total number of calories, then multiply by 1,000 to get grams per 1,000 kcal. For example, raw skinless chicken breast contains 6.5 grams of protein, 0.3 grams of fat, and 30.8 calories per ounce:

6.5 ÷ 30.8 x 1,000 = 211 grams of protein per 1,000 kcal

0.3 ÷ 30.8 x 1,000 = 9.7 grams of fat per 1,000 kcal (GFK)

=“as fed” versus “dry matter”
The percentages of protein, fat, etc., shown on a pet food label are expressed “as fed” – meaning, as the food is delivered in its package. Some percentage of the food is comprised of moisture (water), which of course contains no protein, fat, fiber, or other nutrients. Kibble generally contains about 10 percent moisture; wet foods (canned, frozen, or fresh)  contain as much as 80 percent or more moisture.

So, think about it: When a label says that a food contains
(for example) 4 percent fat, in order to really understand how much fat you are about to feed your dog, you also have to know how much moisture is in the food. What you really want to know is how much fat (in this example) is in the food part of the food  – the “dry matter.” Any serious discussion of nutrition, or comparison of dry and wet diets, then, requires the conversion of the nutrient values from “as fed” to  “dry matter.” Don’t worry; it sounds technical, but it’s easy to do.

-To calculate dry matter (DM) percentages, first determine the amount of dry matter by subtracting the percentage of moisture from 100. Then divide the “as fed” percentage by the amount of dry matter to get the dry matter percentage. For example, if a canned food has 75 percent moisture and 4 percent fat:

100 – 75 = 25 percent dry matter

4 ÷ 25 = 16 percent fat on a dry matter basis

DIY: Liver and Potato Grain Free Dog Treats

11 Apr

Liver and Potato Grain Free Dog Treats

Making your own grain free dog treats is simple. Just because your dog is sensitive to grains, doesn’t mean you can’t make the treats he needs. You can always make substitutions to existing dog treat recipes, but with this yummy liver and potato recipe, who needs to!

Grain free dog treats are not just for dogs with dog food allergies. And even though liver dog treats are often associated with dog training, you can make this recipe any time, and for almost any dog.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. liver
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder (not garlic salt)
  • 1 1/4 cup potato flakes
  • beef or chicken broth

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F
  2. Cut liver in to 1″ pieces. The size does not need to be accurate since you will be pureeing it. However, the smaller size helps aid the process.
  3. Place ingredients, liver through potato flakes, into a food processor.
  4. Pulse ingredients.
  5. Be ready to add the broth as needed to make the mixture spreadable into the pan. The consistency will be very thick.
  6. Pour into a greased 13 x 9 pan.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes.
  8. Let cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.
  9. Use a knife to loosen, then invert pan and empty onto a wire rack.
  10. Let it cool completely before cutting.

Storage: Since these dog treats use liver, they will not last as long as other treats. I would recommend no longer than 3 days in a dog treat jar, 2 to 3 weeks in the refrigerator and 2 months in the freezer.

Tips & Techniques

  • You can easily use beef or chicken liver for this recipe. To intensify the meat flavor, be sure to use the same meat flavored broth as the type of liver you choose.
  • Potato flakes are just dehydrated potato, or better known as instant potatoes. What you should keep in mind is that your dog does not need the additional flavors, salt and artificial preservatives that some instant mashed potatoes contain. So, we recommend sticking to just potato flakes that you can find with the other grains and flours. Your best bet is a specialty grocery store or health food store.
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