Your Cat Excerpt
‘If a food is marketed as “complete and balanced for the life of a pet” with the AAFCO statement on the label assuring the completeness, pet food purchasers have no reason to doubt the safety of that food. This assurance is unfounded, however. Because of the strong profit-motive of the pet food companies to rush products to market, and the lack of governmental regulation controlling this rush to market, pet owners are themselves providing the experimental animals for testing the actual truth of adequacy claims. It is hard to imagine a more unfair, and unsafe, situation. Having pet food purchasers test the foods on their own pets is only half the problem, however.’
Carbohydrates: The Culprit in the Feline Obesity Epidemic
‘Ask any pet food company scientist why they formulate such high levels of highly processed carbohydrate into their costliest dry cat food, and they will insist that, while the cat has no known requirement for carbohydrate, there is no known harm in using carbohydrate ingredients in cat food. They will further argue that those very ingredients allow production of the most convenient form of cat food, dry kibble.
Researchers into the causes and management of feline type 2 diabetes, including work originated by me and later verified by colleagues at one of these large companies, suggests strongly that the blood sugar level of the cat is rapidly influenced by the energy nutrients in its diet. Sugar from highly processed cereal grains in the dry diet floods the blood that carries nutrients from the GI tract to the liver, causing an alarm to go out to the pancreas. One of the most important jobs of this small organ near the cat’s stomach is to keep the blood sugar level in the cat from rising to harmful levels. The pancreas responds by producing and secreting insulin, a hormone that drives blood sugar into the cells of the body, thereby lowering the tide of sugar to normal levels.
In the wild state, the obligatory carnivore seldom if ever encounters this state of high-sugar emergency. The foods the feral cat consumes contain 5 percent or less carbohydrate, and all of that 5 percent would be complex carbohydrates like grasses and seeds from the gastrointestinal tract of small prey animal. Never, in its widest travels, would the cat have an opportunity to eat processed-cereal junk food of the type and quantity represented by a steady diet of dry cat food. The cat’ s pancreas is not prepared to cope with this daily blood sugar crisis (the consequences of this unnatural pressure on the pancreas, the related pressures on the cat’s liver, are discussed in detail in chapter 21).
The normal cat pancreas tries to control this unnatural state by putting high levels of insulin into constant circulation. This high insulin level causes the accumulation of fat in the body as energy nutrients are driven into the cells, even in the absence of a need for all that energy. As high insulin levels succeed in lowering the blood sugar, the animal may even experience a relative hypoglycemia, or lower-than-normal blood sugar, which will trigger hunger and the additional consumption of high-sugar dry food. A vicious cycle starts. Many humans can experience this roller-coaster of high and low blood glucose when they eat highly processed carbohydrate diets as well.’