Nutrient Differences between Raw and Cooked Foods
If you provide your pet food (not feed), which is the healthier way to serve it…raw or cooked? The answer: it depends.
For pet owners that want to provide their pet with the best nutrition – whether they are supplementing a commercial pet food or making their own pet food at home – which is the healthiest way to serve that food? It is raw or is it cooked?
The USDA provides consumers a great tool – the USDA Nutrient Database. Click on ‘Start Your Search Here‘ and you’ll find hundreds of thousands of food items listed, providing the reader with detailed nutrient content. As example, below is the nutritional information provided for Grass-fed beef, strip steak…
Anyone can learn how much protein, fat, calcium, magnesium, vitamin K, vitamin C, and on and on that is typical for 100 grams (or you can set your own portion size) of almost any food. The USDA database provides cooked and raw nutrient information too – as well as some canned options. As example, below is just a few of the nutrients for cooked, raw, and canned chicken…
You can see that some nutrients decrease when cooked, some increase.
Now let’s look at beef (this is factory farmed feed-fed beef)…
With chicken the ‘total fat’ increased dramatically when cooked, with beef it stays the same.
How about vegetables? Broccoli…
With broccoli, Vitamin C content drops more than half when the broccoli is cooked, but Vitamin A increases almost half when the broccoli is cooked.
With kale, calcium content drops in half when cooked but Vitamin A raises by about 1/3 when cooked.
So…the nutrient content of foods does change when cooked – BUT, it depends on the food and the specific nutrient as to what that change is. Sometimes cooking increases a nutrient, sometimes it decreases. But every consumer has – at their fingertips – the ability to look that information up. To make an informed decision as to cook the food or leave it raw.
With vegetables for your pet – if you feed them raw, they need to be ground finely. Dogs cannot digest and utilize whole raw vegetables. Place the raw vegetables/fruits in a food processor (wash thoroughly), grind – and then add to your pet’s food.
The nutritional content between organic fruits/vegetables and standard fruits/vegetables is overall very similar. The difference however is the other things that your pet is eating with standard fruits/vegetables such as pesticides. Similar nutrient content cannot be said for (example) grass-fed beef and factory farmed feed-fed beef (and feed that contains rendered wasted including chicken poop)…
The USDA Nutrient Database tells us that factory farmed feed-fed beef contains 6 times the fat as grass-fed beef.
With meat for your pet – as best you can afford, provide them with ‘as Mother Nature intended’ fed meat (grass fed beef, pasture raised chicken & turkey, etc.).
Even if you add 1/3 of their diet with organic fruits and vegetables (dogs) and Mother Nature intended fed beef or chicken – the nutrition those ingredients provide your pet are well worth the expense. Raw or cooked is up to you.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
What’s in Your Pet’s Food?
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The 2016 List
Susan’s List of trusted pet foods. Click Here
Have you read Buyer Beware? Click Here
Cooking for pets made easy, Dinner PAWsible
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