Category Archives: Holistic Health

The Body’s Wisdom is Smarter than Nutritionists

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Nutritional reductionists believe that they can formulate complete and balanced diets for dogs and cats. They create pet foods from ingredients that the ancestors of our dogs and cats did not have access to. The conditions under which the animal body was finely tuned over millions of years can give us insight into what is needed for its optimal functioning. Nutrition is far too complicated for people to figure out how to bypass Mother Nature.

Most people do not realize that there is very little correlation between the amount of a nutrient consumed and the amount that actually reaches the cells of the body (its bioavailability). The proportion of a nutrient that is digested, absorbed, and delivered to various tissues, in part, depends on the body’s need for that nutrient at that moment in time.

For example, the proportion of beta-carotene ingested that is actually converted to its active form (vitamin A) can vary by 8 fold in the same individual. The proportion converted also decreases with increasing doses, keeping the absolute amounts that are absorbed about the same. Calcium bioavailability can vary by 2 fold and iron bioavailability can vary by 19 fold! We can never know exactly how much of a nutrient to feed since we cannot predict how much will be utilized.

Furthermore, there are complex interactions between the individual nutrients in food. For instance, calcium decreases iron bioavailability by as much as 400%, while beta-carotene increases iron bioavailability by as much as 300%. If we compare a high calcium, low beta-carotene diet with a low calcium, high beta-carotene diet we could see a 1200% difference in iron absorption. Such interactions are common between all of the hundreds of nutrients found in foods. To complicate things further, nutrients not only affect each others absorption but they also influence each others affect on various systems on the body.

For the reductionist nutritionist, nutrition is hopeless. Even the smartest veterinary nutritionist armed with the most powerful super-computer cannot figure it out. Luckily, the wisdom of the body can handle the nutrition puzzle with no problem – assuming the body is provided with the raw materials it evolved consuming.

The best way to ensure that a pet is getting optimal nutrition is to mimic its ancestral diet as closely as possible. That’s why I recommend balanced raw diets for pets.

Join Dr. Doug at Pittsburgh Event

DrDoug

Hi Everyone,

I will be speaking about pet nutrition and vaccines on Sunday, April 3rd from 2-4 PM at Ringers Pet Dog Training in Natrona Heights (Pittsburgh area).

http://www.ringerspetdogtraining.com/Upcoming-Classes—Events.html

Please register for this FREE lecture. Call 724-226-4822 or 724-226-9670 or email gsd10@yahoo.com. Sponsored by Answers Raw Pet Food

Learn everything you need to know to keep your pet healthy!

Your Vet’s Pet Food Misunderstanding

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As explained in last week’s blog, determinism is the belief that any subject can be best understood by understanding its parts. When determinism is applied to nutrition you get the kind of silly statements that veterinary nutritionists and pet food manufacturers make all the time. These experts will tell you that it is not the ingredients of a pet food that matter but rather it is the nutrients.

Of course, if you believe in the reductionist view that we understand food best by studying its parts, then it does not matter what ingredients provide the calories, protein, and other nutrients. This is the kind of nutrition information that gets spoon fed the veterinary students who become your local pet nutrition experts (your vet). And we all have swallowed it hook, line, and sinker. This belief is also what justifies the poor ingredients in the foods veterinarians often recommend.

Such ingredients as “Whole Grain Corn, Corn Gluten Meal, Whole Grain Wheat, and Brewers Rice” are among the first listed in one feline prescription diet. Now, grains and starches of any kind are not appropriate for pets – especially cats, which are known to be obligate carnivores.  And, the protein provided by grains is of poor quality (inappropriate amino acid profile and inadequate absorption).

The notion that nutrients rule is refuted in this research published in the journal, Nutrition Reviews. The title of this article says it all; Food, Not Nutrients, is the Fundamental Unit in Nutrition. Here is what the researchers have to say.

It seems a good assumption that the vast majority of components of plant and animal-based food is functional, that it has some kind of biological activity…there are thousands of other substances [besides vitamins and minerals] in the food matrix that must be considered as possibly leading to biological activity, possibly synergistically with each other, that in some sense could equally be deemed essential for life because they are not produced by nor do they augment human biological systems.”

Between the number of nutrients in food and the way the body selectively absorbs and utilizes them, nutrition is much more complicated than the veterinary nutritionists and pet food manufacturers lead us to believe. I will write more on that next week along with the solution to the nutrition problem.

Read your pet’s food ingredient label and let us know what questionable things you find.