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  1. Sunny

    Sorry to sound not upset but if AAFCO actually approves anything I am not sure I want it in my Pet’s food after what they have approved. Pea fiber is used as a binder just as potatoes have been used for many years. rather if we like it or not there has t be a binder in dry food or otherwise it would crumble and become dust. The one thing I would caution is where is it on the ingredient list. If it is in the top 5 then it is being used as a filler. If it is lower in the list then it is being used as a binder.

  2. Vickie

    What if it is just “peas”? Brodie eats canned food that has whole peas in them.

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      Peas are a legally defined ingredient – no problem.

  3. Lori S.

    Another excellent article. I wondered why all of a sudden pea protein, pea fiber, and peas were suddenly everywhere in pet food. I figured that either someone had an excess they could sell cheaply or they were just cheap to grow. Interesting to contemplate that maybe the protein and fiber are being chosen specifically because they are outside of AAFCO approval – if they are in a gray area of the law and approval system, they can be used in any way the pet food company desires (and any claims for their wholesomeness can be made, verified or not). I found that my dogs develop digestive problems with pea products and that they offer few benefits over high quality grains for that reason.

  4. Dawn

    Pea protein means they take the water out of the pea so it just pea which is the protein and vitamins and no watee

  5. Pacific Sun

    I had to read the article a couple of times. Realizing that it’s not really about the ingredient itself. The point is, that ANY ingredient in PF should go through the regulatory process, in order to be officially defined and accepted. It’s a matter of “compliance” which (once again) PF manufacturers seem to be overlooking. Pea Protein probably isn’t the worst ingredient to be considered, but if PF companies get away with doing this short-cut, then who knows what other ingredients are next? In fact, an uncomfortable precedent could be unintentionally set.

  6. Allison

    I personally think that this pea fibre is being used as a filler in many grain-free foods to trick consumers. Also watch out for tapioca or potato. Grain-free food did not work for my dog with allergies as even though it’s grain-free it’s still full of carbohydrates when potato, tapioca or peas are used instead…which helps yeast grow causing ear and skin infections. On a raw mainly meat diet my labs allergies have almost completely gone away!

  7. Jay Smith

    SOOO important is the distinction that Susan draws that we absolutely MUST have the definition that manufacturers are using to identify ingredients.

    In human food, pure pea protein powder is used in a variety of ways and gets rave reviews from vegans and those individuals (humans) that have problems assimilating meat-based proteins.

    It’s also used as an additive for yogurts, cheeses, etc.

    And, pet food manufacturers already use our PRESUMPTIONS about what ingredient names mean – as carryover from human food experiences – to perpetuate a quality food perception where there may really be none. Example: Chicken, which to humans means, well, chicken. As in “Hey! Pick up some chicken tonight on your way home.” If what arrived home included mostly gizzards, livers, hearts, combs, cartilage, and backs, we’d be pretty upset.

    Manufacturers disguise this reality pretty successfully by grinding the daylights out of everything “chicken” they sell. But, you still get the chicken “pictures” that you picture when you say “Hey! Pick up some chicken.”

    So, we already know about this reliance on presumption being important to manufacturers. So, we DON’T know that pea protein means the same in the pet food world as it does in the human world. And, as Susan aptly points out: THAT’S A PROBLEM.

    Agglutinating lectins are really less of a concern. They’re really, really, really pervasive throughout the vegetable world. Here’s a short list of the babies we’d have to throw out if we throw out the lectin bathwater:

    Tomato, Potato, String Bean, Carrot, Zucchini, Green Peas, Soybean (& sprouts), Mung beans, Lentils, Cantaloupe, Grapes, Cherries, Pomegranate, Raspberries, Blackberries, Wheat Germ, Garlic, Marjoram, Peanuts, Mushrooms….

    The best and fastest way to re-create the conditions that allow great GI health, is to remove processed foods from our (and our dogs’ & cats’) diets. That will restore natural GI transit times, allow proper microbiota to flourish (without constant probiotic supplementation), and that microbiome will then appropriately begin to create the vitamin and fatty acid complements (acetate, butyrate & propionate) that keep the GI tract healthy, and avoid permeability. Then the foods that dogs (and humans) adapted to eat will continue to be edible for many long years.

    1. Pacific Sun

      Your statement about PF Manufacturers preying upon the consumer’s presumptions is so accurate! Not only are we influenced by the images of “food” displayed on packaging, but we have no concept of how the nutrients from what is barely “whole food” is broken down and then reconstituted with additives and corrections. We are certainly advertising victims of manipulation. What is so sorely needed is an expose done on the myths and manipulation of the PFI. Thank you for continuing to be a voice (along with Susan and Mollie) of education, clarity and transparency.

  8. Vic

    As I browsed ingredients at a local pet food store I came across Nutri-Source Pure Vita. (not to pick on one food.. but this one stood out) I was shocked to see (all in the top 3-10 ingredients) peas, pea fiber, pea protein!! Pea this, Pea that… WHERE IS THE REAL MEAT!!! The buffalo brand only had buffalo as an ingredient with no inclusion of buffalo meal. So, needless to say there is very little buffalo in the food. If they were to be honest, it would be called PEA FLAVORED kibble. Not saying its a terrible food but to say it is misleading would be a massive understatement!

  9. Marsha

    I e-mailed Earthborn Holistic Grain Free Dry Dog Food to find out about the pea protein and pea Fiber. Here is the answer I was given. Mind you I do feed my dogs Earthborn and they are doing wonderful on it. Their coats are softer and shinier than they have ever been. Their weight stays the same and has for over a year.
    Here’s what they wrote to me.


    Thank you for you interest in Earthborn Holistic Natural Food for Pets. Pea protein comes from the inside of the pea; pea fiber comes from the outside of the pea. We use yellow peas in our Earthborn products. Pea protein is an excellent source of highly digestible vegetable protein. It is particularly rich in lysine and other essential amino acids which are critical for active pets to rebuild muscle tissue. Pea protein is becoming more and more dominate in pet food and pet treats. We are starting to come across pets that have sensitivities and sometimes allergies to potatoes and grains which also serve as a carbohydrate source.

    The protein in peas is a good source for most of the essential amino acids, especially lysine. The sulfur amino acids (i.e.. methionine and cysteine) are considered first limiting, with tryptopan close behind. This makes peas a good amino acid complement to most grains and meats.

    Peas are relatively low in fat but have a good fatty acid profile. With nearly half derived from essential polyunsaturated linoleic acid. And they contain a small component of the Omega-3 linolenic acid. The ash level in peas is lower than that found in animal protein meals (relative to protein content) making them a good option in low ash cat formulas. Among minerals, peas are a rich source of potassium.

    When we need to increase the fiber in a formula both pea protein and additional pea fiber are used.

  10. Sanz

    I emailed Nulo about the issue of pea fiber added in their dog formulas.

    Here’s my email and Nulo’s response:


    I noticed that in some of your formulas pea fiber is included in the ingredient (either ninth or eighth on the list). Why is pea fiber used and not peas?


    Hi Sanz,

    Thank you for reaching out, and for your interest in our products!

    Our Nulo’s products are designed to be low in carbohydrates and high in animal-based protein. In order to achieve this we aim to minimize the amount of plant-based protein and digestible carbohydrates in the overall diet. Pea fiber provides a highly concentrated source of both soluble and insoluble fiber without the extra carbohydrate and plant-based protein that would result from adding more whole peas, chickpeas, lentils, or sweet potatoes.

    An optimal level of dietary fiber is essential for your pet’s digestive health and stool quality, and can help to lower the risk of many health conditions, including obesity and diabetes. The insoluble fiber portion has a water-holding ability that increases stool bulk, stimulates the movement of the digestive tract, and promotes the feeling of fullness – helping your pet to feel satisfied longer. The soluble fiber portion has a prebiotic effect, resulting in the production of short–chain fatty acids and vitamins by bacterial fermentation, nourishing the cells lining the colon and providing a source of energy for your pet.

    I hope this has answered your question. If you have any additional questions, please reach out to me and I’d be glad to help. Have a nice day!

    Heather Acuff, M.S.
    Customer Care Manager
    Nulo Pet Food | Healthier Together
    512.476.6856 Ext. 111

    What do you guys think about her response? Is it accurate?

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