Grain-free diets – are they better?
Many people assume that grain-free diets are ‘more natural’ and carbohydrate-free. They also have the conception that grain-free diets are less likely to cause allergies. But none of this is true!
There has been no scientific evidence to prove that grain-free diets are better for our pets, but the growing number of these products on the market is giving the misperception that grain is bad for pets.
Some of the misconceptions about grain-free diets include:
- Grains may be used as fillers in pet foods: The term ‘filler’ indicates there is no nutritional value. Various grain products provide protein, which may be easier for the pet to digest than some proteins from meat. Most dogs and cats (greater than 90%) can easily utilise and digest nutrients from grains normally found in pet foods.
- Grains cause food allergies: Food allergies in pets are uncommon and grain allergies are even more uncommon. They are more likely to be caused by an animal protein (eg, chicken, beef, or dairy.)
- Grains cause gluten intolerance: Coeliac disease is an inherited autoimmune disease seen in humans that has been associated with sensitivity to gluten proteins in wheat and grains, such as barley and rye. Gluten intolerance is extremely rare in dogs and nonexistent in cats.
- Grain-free pet foods are carbohydrate free: Grain-free pet foods often contain carbohydrates from other sources such as sweet potatoes, which have a higher carbohydrate level than corn. Grains are carbohydrates, which are an important energy source, and one of the six basic nutrients required for a healthy life (i.e. water, protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals.)
Remember, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that grain-free diets offer more health benefits than a diet with grains, but if you need more information or want to discuss which diet is most suitable for your pet, you should ask us today.