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Should Pet Food be Required to state Carbohydrate Percentage?

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  1. Peter

    Progress on this issue is definitely needed. Unfortunately, it takes so much “carbohydrates” to form materials into “kibble” that many foods would not look too good.

    AAFCO has actively discouraged disclosure of carbohydrate levels in pets foods. The 2003 AAFCO Official Publication postured that consumers weren’t interested in information: (p.178), “Carbohydrate guarantees are no longer considered as necessary or meaningful for purchaser information, therefore, their use is discouraged,”

  2. Janet Blume

    Having had a diabetic cats…. YES, carb information is needed. I’d also like to see Phos for all those in kidney failure as well.

  3. Elise

    Definitely needed. I had my cat on lower phosphorus canned food to avoid kidney disease as he aged. My vet said canned was the best. Only problem was it was high carb. He gained weight and became diabetic. Switching to low carb helped but the the kidneys were hit. Oh and he just passed from CHF diagnosed on a Thursday and had to let him go on two days later.

  4. Jennifer Kenny

    Absolutely! As someone who has a now diet-controlled cat, I learned the hard way all about the dangers of high-carbohydrate cat food. So many cats are euthanized because they have diabetes because many vets are woefully uninformed about feline diabetes and the treatment with insulin, needles, glucose monitors and testing strips is very expensive!

  5. Holly

    My understanding is that including the fiber content is not necessary. Some recommend using 7% as the estimated ash others use 8%. For wet food, use an estimated ash of 1.5%. Canned food is always lower in carbs than dry. But remember, the guaranteed analysis is shown as minimums, so the carbs are just a guess.

  6. Kathryn S

    in addition to listing the carb content, they should list the protein from meat/fish source – most people think that the protein content listed is all from ‘meat’ and not from the peas, beans, corn, etc., especially now that there are so many foods that are technically ‘grain’ free — but are using novel carbs to supplement the protein percentage.

  7. Sara

    Very informative article, thank you. The carb/sugar content of peas was definitely a surprise…didn’t realize my ignorance.

  8. KAT

    I completely agree that carbs should be listed. My doctor runs A1C tests on my blood – and warns me about carb intake as that is the major cause of diabetes, not sugar in coffee, not Halloween treats….carbs. I had NO idea that all the pasta I was eating was that bad for me. Armed with the knowledge that it was carb intake, not eating an occasional cookie with a cup of coffee, I mentally watched my carb intake and the next A1C test was remarkably lower. Pet parents should be able to monitor the carb intake of their beloved cats and dogs to save them from the dreaded disease of diabetes.

  9. Diane

    Sounds like congress, let’s just talk about it but never get anything done
    We need to know exactly what’s in our pets food for many reasons.
    If u buy a porch u want to know exactly what’s under the hood and the sale man tells u. So why do we have to fight to find out what’s in the bag.?
    Please get off ur butt and get it done.

  10. Lynn

    I’ve met adult people that didn’t know that carbs and sugar are the same, it’s all glucose when it gets to the bloodstream. And I’ve had adult people tell me that dogs need carbs for energy. There needs to be lots more education, I’ll keep plugging away. Sigh

  11. Pacific Sun

    The problem is I don’t think I’m very comfortable with a DIY calculation:

    If I remember (from a discussion long ago) moisture in PF is relative. It’s relative to whether the Protein is a “meal” or “meat” for one thing. And (of course) whether it’s kibble or canned. There is (supposedly) less “nutritional” protein (per measurement) in “meat” (because meat is less concentrated relative to its volume). The quality of what protein is also important. Various protein contains a range of individual nutrients. Moisture is the absence of nutritional value (unless gravy is counted as moisture). Below is a real product. Using the calculation assumed to arrive at the carbohydrate content (I guess by default) is as follows:

    Adding up the figures (below) means that 48.56% is NOT carbohydrate, and 51.44% of the product “must” be starch. If you look at the ingredient list, it’s true that chicken liver is very nutritious. But odd to think that over the half the product is starch. If I believed in this product as being a justified daily meal (although it’s only an incidental remedy) then shouldn’t I just be serving 50% meat and 50% rice (or corn meal mush) in my dog’s bowl? Then sprinkle some vitamins and minerals over it?? I’m confused.

    Protein 19.1%
    Fat 14.5%
    Fiber 4.3%
    Moisture 3.7%
    Vitamins/Minerals 2.53%
    Fatty Acids 4.43%

    Sub Total (non-starch) = 48.56
    Balance (51.44%)

    An 8 fluid ounce measuring cup of (product) contains 3.7 ounces by weight

    Ingredients: Corn Starch, Hydrolyzed Chicken Liver, Powdered Cellulose (an insoluble vegetable like fiber), Soybean Oil, Calcium Carbonate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Lactic Acid, Potassium Chloride, Glyceryl Monostearate, Choline Chloride, Iodized Salt, vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), DL-Methionine, minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), Taurine, Mixed Tocopherols for freshness, Natural Flavors, Beta-Carotene.

  12. Lisa Marie

    Regarding peas and corn: which would be the more accurate info — the USDA info listed in the article has peas higher in sugar than corn. Rodney Habib’s source, the NRC, has corn listed as higher in sugar than peas.

    Also, as far as calculating the carbs in canned food, I would do that on a dry matter basis, specifically when comparing one manufacturer with another, since moisture levels vary in canned foods.

    Terrific info Susan, thanks for all you do.

    1. Deep Search

      The type of corn product used in a pet food would matter when it comes to carb content. Corn gluten meal is basically “purified corn protein” with the starch/carbs removed, it’s about 65% protein, and it is different from ground whole yellow corn, as a kernel of corn is about 80% carbs. I noticed that quite a lot of kibble made from corn has both ground corn, or some another grain like rice or wheat, and corn gluten meal.

  13. Eve

    Their names are Roxy and Beau but I renamed them for their remarkable triumphs in the following battle of a shocking SCIENCE DIET death bed:-
    RIP Foxy Roxy and Big Bad Beau these two beautiful felines I fell in love with looking after them in an urgent case as the hoarder animal abuser went on boat cruise overseas for three months. Friends begged me to look after them in her absence as they couldn’t report her as she was also the townhouse bully narcissist who kept everybody suppressed and submissive. It took 1 whole week to clean the entire townhouse .Carpet saturated in urine because the laundry kitty litter box area had not been cleaned for what seemed over 6 months – so bad the poor kitties had to urinate on carpet and doors rusting away the laundry sink door. Bleached walls, floors and threw out bins and bins full of garbage and diseased objects. The kitties Foxy Roxy suffered extreme diabetes requiring 5iu per day! along with compromised liver and lymphatic system chronic shock and distress (she felt like bubble wrap under her skin due to severe infection which I found out later the foul woman was “re-using” the insulin needles; along with teeth tartar, gingivitis and dandruff and worse mouth cancer sarcomas in throat which restricted her vocalisation. Big Bad Beau was chronically obese SO BAD he could NOT SLEEP laying down but had to sit upright in order to be able to breath, dilated pupils from hypertension and on “medication” for hypertension OUTRAGEOUS he could not even walk but shuffled about instead. I changed their diet from SCIENCE DIET KIBBLE and SCIENCE DIET TIN WET FOOD to a holistic complete species specific RAW CARNIVOROUS DIET along with self-prescribed HOMEOPATHICS, HERBS and NATURAL SUPPLEMENTS. Within 3 months of MY TRUE FOOD DIET i managed to reduce F.Roxy’s insulin injections to only 1iu per day, bubble wrap like infection under skin completely gone!, dandruff and teeth gingivitis and tartar gone! and her oral cancer gone-I used specific homoepathic nossode “Carcinogen” over specific duration and dosages to rid this. BB-Beau I managed to reduce his weight from 15kilos to 7 kilos he finally layed down curled in a ball to sleep, Took BBB and FR for morning and evening strolls around the garden yard, played with him, but sadly could not reduce his medication…this could be for a few reasons-possibly hypothyroidism obviously caused by so-called science diet feed, chronic stress needed more time to heal than 3 months and psychological stress from living with abuse of woman. I loved FR and BBB like they were my own cats and it broke my heart when I finally had to leave – they knew I had to leave and they were upset. I had just lost the love of my life kitty of 23 years before looking after these two I wanted to save them. But when the monster arrived back from her self indulgent all of a sudden holiday (I left the night before her return to avoid her) I received disgruntled email abusing me and my partner for saving her cats lives and making the townhouse actually livable! And that’s putting it lightly. All her neighbours were supportive of me but it was pointless against a monster with no integrity or love and care for these cats – narcissists only want to destroy anything that has life in it. Actually she is very lucky I didn’t report her to the RSPCA because they would have definitely taken the cats away BUT I wanted to try to save them my way hoping the monster would change…apparently not. Poor BBB passed away a year after I left and FR lived another 3 years after I left – I honestly don’t know after that but today she would be with BBB. In a nutshell: SCIENCE DIET CAUSED these two cats HORRIFIC SUFFERING AND PAIN. The monster just added to it. It’s not rocket science if my beloved 2 kitties were fed a RAW HUMAN GRADE CARNIVORES DIET they would NEVER have been in that situation. Thank you for this AMAZING VIDEO your loads of information is vital to helping me attain more understanding in my studies to be the best holistic pet nutritionist I can possibly be. Love and Light Eve

  14. Gail Barrett

    The reluctance to post carbohydrate percentage is nothing but deceptive and for fear of affecting the bottom line. As an RN I have been able to figure this myself and convert to grams of carbs per serving as ultimately that’s what is needed when feeding my diabetic dog. Any less information is just a racket for the manufacturers.

  15. Justme

    Would like to share some information in regards to pet food.
    Lawyers file class action against leading pet food companies. The issue? Prescription pet foods.

    Attorneys in California Minnesota, Georgia, and North Carolina have filed a class action lawsuit in California against the leading manufacturers and sellers of pet food: Mars, Nestlé (no relation) Purina, Hills, Petsmart, and several veterinary hospital chains owned by one or another of these companies.

    Why? Prescription pet foods cost more but are no different than any other kind of pet food.

    As the complain puts it:

    Defendents’ prescription pet food contains no drug or other ingredient not also common in non-prescription pet food.
    Defendents’ marketing, labeling, and/or sale of prescription pet food is deceptive, collusive, and in violation of federal antitrust law and California consumer-protection law.
    Defendents are engaged in an anticompetitive conspiracy to market and sell pet food as prescription pet food to consumers at above-market prices that would not otherwise prevail in the absence of their collusive prescription-authorization requirement.

  16. Deep Search

    Yes. It’d be incredible if pet food companies were required to list the carbohydrate content of a food on the packaging. Some companies will voluntarily tell you the percentage of animal-based ingredients in a food, but most leave you guessing. Or they will be misleading, by stating a high percentage of the protein in the food comes from animal sources, but the food could still be primarily plant and carbohydrate based. I can’t feed my cats carbs, as they have UT issues and need to keep excess weight off. I feed them wet meat-based food that has a very low percentage of plant ingredients and carbs/starches.

    Really, feeding a cat a diet high in carbohydrates is setting them up to become diabetic. And overweight.

  17. Laura

    All ya gotta do is add up everything listed and subtract from a hundred. 🙂

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