Carbohydrates in the diet of dog and cat

Carbohydrates are now proven to be the leading cause of obesity or diabetes in carnivores, yet they often exceed 50% of the total conventional food content.

This is due to the almost exclusive use of ingredients such as meat flour, dehydrated fruits, vegetables and powdered vegetable seeds. That is, dried ingredients, which are preferred to fresh ones due to the much lower cost, easy production and longer “life”.

AAFCO *, of course, decided not to allow the recording of the carbohydrate content of food packaging. A decision that is difficult to understand, but it is possible to calculate the percentage of carbohydrates contained in a food. Just add the percentages of protein, fat, moisture, fiber and ash and the resulting sum will be subtracted from the total 100%. The result will give us an idea of ​​the total percentage of carbohydrates.

What caregivers should also be aware of is that the more protein a food contains, the less carbohydrates it will contain. Absolutely positive, as the protein of animal origin is essential for dogs and cats, in contrast to carbohydrates that have little nutritional value.

An important factor in the “unity” of carbohydrates is the glycemic index (GD), a scientifically based system that ranks carbohydrates on a scale from 0 to 100, based on their effect on blood glucose.

Carbohydrates with a high DG, such as rice or corn – with 72 and 78 respectively on the DG scale – are associated with obesity and diabetes because they are digested quickly and cause a sharp rise in blood glucose and greater fat storage. In contrast, low-DG carbohydrates, such as lentils and chickpeas – at 26 and 28 DG respectively – enter the bloodstream slowly and steadily increase glucose levels, reducing the ability to store fat.

So since it is not possible to completely avoid the use of carbohydrate-containing ingredients, it is certainly preferable to choose foods that contain low-DG carbohydrate ingredients.

* The AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) is responsible for developing regulations and standards for the protection of animal and human health, for ensuring consumer protection, and for ensuring a level playing field in the feed industry trade.