WHAT IS PALEOPET?
DR. COGHLAN IS THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR WHO BROKE THE NEWS ABOUT STARCH IN PET FOOD IN 2009. THE FIRST EDITION PRINT IS CURRENTLY SOLD OUT HOWEVER THE NEW AND UPDATED SECOND EDITION IS DUE MAY 2016.
Paleopet is simply the realization that both dogs and cats are NOT evolved to consume highly glycemic diets. What most pet owners do not realize is that the main ingredient in all dry pet food is STARCH. The number one ingredient may very well be meat such as chicken or lamb, etc. The ingredients that follow after the second or third are always are grains, legumes and potatoes no matter the brand. Meat is never the number one ingredient in dry pet food because it is impossible to make it dry and crunchy without at least 40% starch.
Here is a quote from the bible of veterinary pet nutrition, Small Animal Clinical Nutrition 5th Edition 2010, page 173: “The principal function of carbohydrates in the process of manufacturing dry pet foods is to provide structural integrity to kibbles. The starch works like a ‘cement’ that holds kibbles together, preventing crumbling throughout the manufacturing process. It is unusual for a dry pet food to be formulated with less than 40% carbohydrate ingredients because of the minimum requirement for extrusion.”. Please know that absolutely no attention is made to the glycemic index of these starch ingredients. The Glycemic index is a measure of how much glucose or blood sugar is released upon digestion of a particular carbohydrate. In 1980 the main dry food carbohydrate source was corn and soy. According to the Harvard Glycemic Index, water is 0, Coca Cola is 63, table sugar is 90 and pure glucose is 100. Corn, the type used to make dry pet food, is 30 and soy 15. The combined glycemic index for all dry pet food produced between 1960 and 1980 averaged about 24. The ration of corn was 60% and soy 40%. Corn and soy perfectly complemented each other because they filled any protein deficiencies between each other. The glycemic index of corn and soy kibble was between 25 and 35.
Problems began when both corn and soy prices began to hit the 800 cents a bushel price range after 1980. At that point, rice was introduced especially in lamb and rice preparations. Rice, usually brewers rice consisting of broken and filtered rice grains was 80 cents a bushel. This was the beginning of an ongoing health crises for pets in the united states. Shortly after the inclusion of rice and then potatoes (both sweet and white) veterinarians began to notice more health issues such as yeast infections, diabetes, dental disease, and thyroid disease just to mention a few. New products such as Otomax and Triotic were released and gained huge market share as they were primarily effective against ear yeast infections. Veterinarians such as myself began to include thyroid function in routine blood tests as it was suddenly much more common in both dogs and cats. Dogs would have low thyroid, cats high. Currently, many veterinarians prescribe more thyroid medication, anti fungal, and insulin than they do pain medicine!
The answer to this epidemic has to do with Chinese food syndrome – where humans get hungry a short while after eating Americanized Chinese food. Empty carbs. White rice has an astoundingly high glycemic index! Recall that Coca Cola is 63, and they are removing it from public schools per new Federal health guidelines. Rice is 89…table sugar is 90…
Potatoes are worse. A sweet potato is 70, a baked russet potato 111. Why are we feeding dogs and cats ingredients that exceed the sugar glycemic effects of Coca Cola if we do not allow our children to do so? Dogs and cats have not evolved to consume sugar as energy. They evolved using fat and protein as energy. Dogs are more evolved than cats to handle highly glycemic starch carbohydrate ingredients, cats not so much. Put gasoline in a diesel engine and you will begin to understand why so many dogs and cats are breaking down lately!
A human diabetic is advised to avoid rice, bread, pasta and potatoes when first diagnosed. Paleopet recommends the same for pets BEFORE they get diabetes.
Archaeologists call the Paleolithic Period or Old Stone Age. The Paleolithic Epoch mostly coincides with what geologists call The Pleistocene Epoch which lasted from about 2,500,000 to 11,700 years ago. It is the period of time when repeated glacial cycles carved vast plains divided by crystal clear rivers and streams. This is the period of time where humans, the dog and the cat evolved as they are found today. It is pastoral evolution. Lush green grass flourished within massive bowls of fertile soil. Plant eating animals evolved and thrived in this post-glacial bounty. Herbivores mastered an efficient digestive tract where a partnership with probiotic bacteria could provide nutrients and energy from what would otherwise be indigestible plant material. The Woolly Mammoth eventually became the most grand of all, the shrew the smallest but most numerous.
For humans, Paleo is a hunter-gatherer diet. For dogs and cats, Paleo is a whole-prey diet.
Cats will consume a small rodent or bird whole, in its entirety. A cat’s teeth and jaws are evolved to swallow, not chew. They do not have the flat-crowned chewing molars of a dog or a human. Henry David Thoreau described a domesticated cat as being quite natural and comfortable living full-time in the woods beside Walden Pond. Cats are frequently seen with the tail of a mouse hanging from their mouths after having swallowed it whole, head first. Most any domestic shorthair has the ability to go feral if inclined or necessary. Consider also that a feral cat dining only on natural prey will never get kidney failure, thyroid disease, liver disease, diabetes, dental tartar, nor bladder crystals. The previous conditions are solely the result of carbohydrate disease – where metabolic energy is derived from starch rather than the evolved protein and raw fat diet. In nature there are only a select few specialized and rare mammals that rely only on starch and sugars as energy for metabolism. Even the nectar feeding hummingbird must consume small insects in order to thrive.
The same fat and protein derived energy evolution holds true for a dog. Coyotes and wolves consume the fat-rich belly of their prey first, sometimes avoiding the lean protein remainder altogether.
Compare the nutrition of a whole mouse to a cup of dry cat food in descending order:
Mouse ingredients: 20 to 50% Fiber, Raw protein, Raw fat, Raw organ meats, Raw bones, Intestinal contents (raw enzymes, vegetables, whole seeds, herbs and probiotic baceria), Blood, Nails, Teeth.
Cat chow ingredients: 40 to 70% Starch, cooked meats, rendered fats, 2 to 3% fiber, various natural and synthetic vitamins and minerals.
Some important differences are decoded here. Cat chow uses starch carbohydrates to replace raw fat as an energy source. Raw fat is extremely perishable. It can not be stored in a bag or a can. Therefor, non-frozen pet food must contain an alternate energy source of which starch is the only reasonable storage-able option. Grains, potatoes, legumes and tapioca are all commonly used as outright fat-energy substitutes. To myself, as a veterinarian whom treats the effects of starch in pet food on a daily basis, feeding sugar carbohydrates to a dog or cat is comparable to putting gasoline in a diesel engine. Something is bound to go wrong, and it usually does.
Fiber content in commercial pet food is absurdly low. Drink a glass of apple juice and your blood sugar will abruptly rise and fall like a model rocket. Eat an apple with the same amount of juice and the result is a much more gentle blood glucose span. Fiber is essential not only to help regulate an over-exaggerated blood glucose response, but also for mechanical digestive activity and to provide a home for essential probiotic bacteria.
Meat proteins are cooked or rendered in commercial canned or kibble so natural protein structure and enzymes are destroyed. Probiotic (beneficial partner) bacteria are a component of most every wild canine or feline diet. There are no viable probiotic bacteria in commercial pet food due to preservation regulations. Read the label carefully and realize that “extracts of probiotic bacteria” do not mean that live and essential probiotic bacteria are present.
Paleopet Stage 1 for cats is quite simply how to choose a commercial pet food that approximates a basic evolved meal and what to add to it to make it more complete. Paleopet Stage 2 is how to make an inexpensive and safe raw diet.
Dogs and cats evolved over millions of years to extract energy from only raw fat and protein. Paleopet is the realization that commercial pet foods use starch (sugar) as a source of metabolic energy only because it can be stored in a convenient dry form. Fat and raw protein can only be stored by freezing (not freeze-drying).
In 1941, 95% of the dogs in America ate canned horsemeat which was mostly meat with a smaller percentage of whole grains with vitamins and minerals added. Nowadays 95% of dogs eat dry dog food which is mostly starch. Dogs have only been consuming dry dog food for 60 or 70 years. The original dry dog foods were composed of the less glycemic corn and soy formulations as this combination seemed appropriate by extensive research as the most nutritionally complete. However, corn and soy are now far too expensive for pet food. What you have heard about corn as being a filler or that it causes allergies and is of poor quality is false.
Starch does not have to taste sweet to be extremely glycemic. When a plant stores energy in a seed or root it is made to be as compact as possible. It does not taste sweet because it is so tightly packed and dense. Humans (and dogs) have salivary amylase where amylase is the enzyme responsible for breaking the tightly packed starch molecules into sugar. Take a bite of white bread or rice and chew it without swallowing for 100 seconds. It will begin to turn sweet and then extremely sweet. This is the common high school demonstration to show how starch is broken down into sugar in the digestive tract. All dogs and cats have amylase, but where did dogs and cats ever consume starch in the wild?
The majority of present day dry pet food is over 50% starch and contains less than 3% fiber. All grains and potatoes provide large amounts of protein as well. The problem is that these carbohydrates are deficient in raw nutrients and vitamins such as essential fatty acids, living probiotic bacteria and vitamins such as PQQ. PQQ or pyrroloquinoline quinone is an essential nutrient for all animals, much as humans need vitamin C. The problem is that it is easily destroyed by processing such as cooking and drying. There are no minimum requirements for PQQ in pet food! Grass happens to be a very rich source of this nutrient. Now you know why normal dogs and cats eat grass whenever a tender sprout is available.
Paleopet is an awareness that dry pet food is far too glycemic, is deficient in fiber, is lacking essential nutrients and contains zero viable probiotic bacteria. It is no wonder then why dogs and cats are forced to eat grass in order to thrive..
The pyramids were built about 3000 years ago. These great edifices serve to pronounce to the world that a permanent house-based society was the new norm, ending millions of years of nomadic hunter-gatherer/shepherd evolution. This was the beginning of a remarkably insidious decline of human health. The modern lifestyle was enabled by the invention of mass production of the super food – grain. With an abundance of grain the human population exploded in numbers, all living in the same area. Survival of the fittest was replaced by survival of the most resistant to disease and malnutrition. What were once considered rare conditions among nomads were now common maladies. New diseases, such as one where ants would be attracted to the urine of an emaciated patient, were first documented in ancient medical papyrus many hundreds of years after the Epic of Gilgaresh was written. Diabetes, was also called “the thirst” and had no cure. Dental disease, various cancers, certain skin rashes and infections, migraines, chronic gas, painful diarrhea and other intestinal diseases were all originally described by the first non-nomadic, grain-based societies.
Commercial pet food became most popular after WWII. Dog food and cat food have been made for less than 100 years and is still not nor ever will be “complete and balanced”. Dogs and cats eat grass for a reason – they must do so in order to obtain vital nutrients. The Paleopet guide will show you that the major ingredient of most every pet food is the cause of the majority of skin, ear and allergic problems veterinarians see. There are all manner of deficiency syndromes that have been documented over the last 30 years as the result of pet food manufacturers simply “getting it wrong”.
COMMERCIAL PET FOOD IS BASED ON THE WRONG ASSUMPTION BY SCIENTISTS OF MAMMALIAN CARBOHYDRATE METABOLISM.
The PALEOPET HANDBOOK will provide everything you need to know about how to feed your dog and cat what they EVOLVED to eat. It will make it so easy a paleolithic caveperson can do it! Even more important, your dog and cat will actually enjoy it. They will beg for it at dinner time. Their bodies will begin to change and the “broken metabolism” caused by the starchy dried chemically enhanced kibble and the rendered goo that you feed from a bag or can.
PALEOPET IS, WITHOUT QUESTION, 100% NUTRITIONALLY COMPLETE.
There are two methods to feed the Paleopet diet.
Stage 1 is adding essential and protective common and inexpensive grocery store ingredients to what is currently being fed. Fiber is essential for dogs and cats and most all commercial foods are astoundingly deficient in this most important dietary necessity. In nature, 20% fiber is the norm, commercial pet foods are most always less than 3% !
Probiotic (good) bacteria provide essential nutrients and protect against bad (pathogenic) bacteria. These living organisms are critical for intestinal immune system functions. Herbivorous prey are loaded with probiotic bacteria and the probiotic-rich stomach and liver are the first things consumed by a mammalian predator. There are NO probiotic bacteria in commercial pet food.
Stage 2 is raw with partially cooked vegetables. It explains how to feed raw meat safely and how to prevent Salmonella and meat parasites. Dogs and cats love certain vegetables, it is the reason so many of them eat grass. Most of my patients go stage 2 because they get convinced after stage 1, simply by adding common ingredients to what is already being fed. You can always go back to the dry or canned for when you leave a pet with someone else – or you can make it ahead of time and store it in baggies.
There is another huge benefit as well: Cost. Making your own diet from products available at most any grocery store will save 30 to 50% or more on your pet food bill!
Fact: Premium dog food is now more expensive per pound than freshly ground beef from your butcher.
Albertsons is selling 73% ground beef for $1.67 a pound. Ground chicken is on sale for $1.29 a pound. Premium dog food is $60 for a 30LB bag – that’s $2.00 per pound… If you mix vegetables with this ground beef or chicken, it will drop the price by another 20% or 30%! So for a little over a dollar a pound you can make your own pet food in less time than it takes to brew a cup of coffee.
This is not a BARF diet book! Paleopet is an anti-inflammatory diet that describes how to feed raw safely or to add healthy common ingredients to the current diet. Raw is best and can be made safe to feed but if a dry food is continued, learn how to add ingredients to make it less damaging.