The Nutritionist Said What?

Katy eating

I am not a big fan of veterinary nutritionists and I have not been shy about my feelings. Here are a few of my reasons for criticizing board certified veterinary nutritionists.

  1. In my personal conversations with most veterinary nutritionists I have found that they do not share my passion for how proper nutrition can lead to true health.
  2. They are stuck in the outdated, “scientific” view of nutrition as being about the balance of synthetic nutrients.
  3. They place little importance on evolution as it relates to the kinds of diets pets were designed (by natural selection) to eat.
  4. Veterinary nutritionists do not seem to understand the importance of whole foods and the bio-nutrients they provide.
  5. My biggest beef with veterinary nutritionists is that although many of them clearly understand that processed foods are not complete and balanced, they are silent on the subject and are therefore complicit in the pet food industrial complex “100% complete and balanced” deception.

In spite of all my many disappointments with veterinary nutritionists, it is possible I have been too rash. Perhaps I have painted them with too broad a brush. I was recently blown away by a remark from a veterinary nutritionist as reported in an interview published in the New York Times.

The subject of the interview was Dr. Joseph Wakshlag, a professor of clinical nutrition and sports medicine at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine in Ithaca, N.Y. He recently authored a report about the effects of nutrition in active dogs that was published in a veterinary journal.

In answer to a question for canine athletes, Dr. Wakshlag stated, “Dogs burn fat as their primary endurance fuel, and carbohydrates are not very important for them.” Of course he is specifically speaking of what is important for an active dog. (I would say that carbohydrates are not important for any dog). But then again, in this interview Dr. Wakshlag’s definition of a canine athlete is a dog that runs for 30 minutes straight. Given that understanding, many of us have athletic dogs!

My favorite quote of this piece comes as a response to the 7th question, “Do you recommend raw-food diets, which have become popular for dogs?” The first words out of his mouth are, “The raw-food diets available at pet stores are fine…” It may not sound like much but that is a ringing endorsement coming from a nutritionist! WOW, raw food diets are fine! Maybe there is hope yet for the world of veterinary nutrition. Then again, I believe that Dr. Wakshlag is light years ahead of his peers.

Does your veterinarian endorse raw diets?