What is Your Pet Eating? Part III

There is a lot to be said about the negative effects of processed pet food, which is why I put together this five-part blog series. In my last post, I discussed how many of the seemingly harmless ingredients in processed pet food, like poultry meal and apple pomace, can actually be detrimental to your pet’s health.
But what about all the other ingredients? What about the chemicals, preservatives, “flavor enhancers” and binders? We already know our pets don’t need to eat those ingredients, so why are they there? And what does consuming them do to your pet?
Chemicals & Preservatives
Many of these mystery ingredients also have mysterious names. Ethoxyquin, butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), to name a few. Some go by the rule, “If an ingredient can’t be pronounced, it shouldn’t be eaten,” and with good reasoning. These preservatives, which are included in pet food to keep the meat from rotting, have been linked to allergies, organ failure and cancer.
Some brands have already replaced these chemical preservatives with natural alternatives, like Vitamin E, which can also keep the food fresh but often have a shorter shelf life than their chemical counterparts.
Flavor Enhancers
Any kind of added flavoring is unnecessary. If the food your pet was given had any nutritional value, his or her instinct would be to eat it. Flavor is added to pet food in most part to make it more appealing to your pet. Even worse is that these “flavor enhancers” are rarely from natural sources. They are usually an artificial composition that resembles the taste of meat.
Wheat and corn gluten are commonly used to bind pet food together. Neither of these ingredients have any nutritional value. They are typically of poor quality and come from the byproducts of human food processing – not that the corn and wheat produced for humans is much better.
In the book Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis, the genetic manipulations of wheat is discussed and how the altering of this grain in the last 50 years has contributed to many of the health problems we face.
In Part IV of this series I will share some of the facts I learned from reading Wheat Belly, and explain how eliminating this genetically modified grain will not only improve your pet’s health, but yours as well.

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