Soya and ..........
The soybean was designated one of the five sacred grains during the Chou Dynasty (1134-246 BC), along with barley, wheat, millet, and rice. However, the soybean was not used as food but as a rotation crop to fix nitrogen in the soil. It was only with the discovery of fermentation techniques that the soybean became a food, producing such products as tempeh, miso, and shogu (soy or tamari sauce). Later, Chinese scientists discovered that a puree of cooked soybeans could be precipitated with calcium sulfate or magnesium sulfate (plaster of Paris or Epsom salts) to make a smooth pale curd - tofu or bean curd.
The Chinese did not eat the soybean as they did other pulses (legumes) such as the lentil, because the soybean contains large quantities of a number of harmful substances, first among which are potent enzyme inhibitors which block the action of trypsin and other enzymes needed for protein digestion. These antinutrients are not completely deactivated during ordinary cooking and can produce serious gastric distress, reduced protein digestion, and chronic deficiencies in amino acid uptake. In test animals diets high in trypsin inhibitors cause enlargement and pathological conditions of the pancreas, including cancer. The soybean also contains haemaglutin, a clot-promoting substance that causes red blood cells to clump together. Trypsin inhibitors and haemaglutin are deactivated during the fermentation process but in precipitated products such as tofu and bean curd the enzyme inhibitors are only reduced in quantity, not eliminated.
Soybeans are also high in phytic acid, which blocks the uptake of calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc in the intestinal tract. Scientists are in general agreement that grain and legume based diets high in phytates contribute to widespread mineral deficiencies in Third World countries. Analysis shows that calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc are present in the plant foods eaten in these areas, but the high phytate content of soy and rice based diets prevents their absorption. The soybean has a higher phytate content than any other grain or legume that has been studied. Furthermore, it seems to be highly resistant to many phytate reducing techniques such as long slow cooking. Only a long period of fermentation will significantly reduce the phytate content of soybeans. However, when precipitated soy products such as tofu are consumed with meat, the mineral blocking effects of the phytates are reduced. Asian and Oriental children who do not get enough meat and fish products to counteract the effects of a high phytate diet of soy and grains frequently suffer rickets, stunting, and other growth problems.
Dogs can digest approximately 50 per cent of the protein from soya, which means that there is a lot of protein waste for the kidneys to process, as well as all the problems with bone, digestion, and so on mentioned above.
Sugar removes minerals from the body, can cause kidney damage, and interferes with the absorption of calcium and magnesium. It can suppress the immune system and contribute to a weakened defence against bacterial infection. It can promote tooth decay, contribute to weight gain and obesity, increase the risk of ulcerative colitis, and lead to the formation of kidney stones. It can lead to periodontal disease, change the structure of a protein and thus interfere with protein absorption, and contribute to diabetes. Sugar can cause loss of tissue elasticity and function, cause liver cells to divide, thus increasing the size of the liver, and increase the amount of fat in the liver. It can also increase kidney size and produce pathological changes in the kidney. Sugar can overstress the pancreas, increase fluid retention, cause constipation, increase bacterial fermentation in the colon, and can cause hormonal imbalance. It has no known nutritional benefits and is simply an anti-nutrient.
(Information taken from Dr. Mercolas Optimal Wellness Centre Site)
Back to Index
Commercial foods are no longer just the range of dried or canned foods they once were, as there are now a number of commercial raw foods available. Although the dried and canned foods have gained a pretty bad press, I have to say that they have at least brought to an end much of the gross malnutrition that used to be the lot of many cats and dogs when all they were fed on was table scraps and grain products such as bread or maize. At least we no longer see rickets and black tongue, or at least not to any extent.
In Britain we do not have the same problem with what is in the pet foods as appears to be the case in the United States, for instance (see books such as Food Pets Die For), but the pet food manufacturers are not trying to provide the best possible food for our companion animals. Were that the case, it would not take laboratory research but studying what carnivores eat in the wild. What the manufacturers are doing is finding ways of providing the basic nutritional necessities from cheap and readily available materials, most of which are the waste products from other manufacturing processes such as the sugar and brewery industry, or such things as peanut hulls and soya. They then add those nutrients that have been found to be absolutely necessary but either are not provided in the ingredients used or are damaged or destroyed in the processing. The best possible food for our pets? For some, yes, however difficult it may seem to understand how. For others, absolutely not, but that could be said of any diet.
These foods are at least providing basic nutrition. They may not keep many of our animals in perfect health but they are making their existence possible if not optimal. And, when one considers that there are estimated to be some seven million dogs and even more cats in Britain alone, would it be possible to feed all of them optimally? Even were every owner willing and able to give a raw food diet, could the raw materials be produced? It is possible to grow four tons of wheat or four sheep on an acre of good ground in any one year. A sheep provides about 80 lbs. of meat, so the acre would provide annually 320 lbs.of meat or four tons of grain. Would it be possible to produce enough meat to optimally feed some fifteen million cats and dogs, let alone all the millions of hamburger and steak eating humans? Yes, a raw food diet would be wonderfully healthy for some of our companion animals, but is it possible?
Many people, too, even were there enough, cannot afford the time or the energy to feed the raw diet (possibly even the money, although it is not expensive to feed). So what can be done to make the most of the commercial feeds that are available? Get the best you can possibly afford, which does not necessarily mean the most expensive. Get one that does not contain chemical preservatives, and in which the main source of protein is not grains or soya. (Remember that, although grains may not appear first on the label, if there is more than one listed, then they are likely to form a large part of the food.) Then add the basic supplements and, most important of all, digestive enzymes with each meal and each snack. And never give semi-moist foods, which are simply damaging with no known benefits.
Look on the ingredient list of almost any complete dry food and you will see that sugar is one of the components. Sometimes just listed as "various sugars". The sugar content of semi-moist foods is especially high, which is what makes them particularly damaging to health. Sugar has no nutritional value and, what is more, it carries needed nutrients that may be present in the food out of the body. Sugar is not necessary for energy. Complex carbohydrates (from vegetables, for example) and proteins, as well as fats, can be broken down into energy and in a state that does not play havoc with blood sugar and insulin levels. Where would a carnivore get sugar in the wild? It is not only not a necessary part of the diet, but is simply damaging without giving any benefits.
When you are looking to see what is the main source of protein in a complete food, do not necessarily take it that, if meat is the first ingredient on the list, that means it is the main ingredient. If several grains are listed further down the list, then added together they almost certainly make up the bulk of the food. It is usually considered that the major increase in kidney problems over the past few decades is due to too high a protein content in the diet. However, the true cause of these kidney problems is not the amount of protein but the quality. The kidneys have to deal with protein waste and it is having to deal with a huge amount of protein waste that damages them. Only about fifty per cent of protein sources such as soya can be digested by the dog, so the other fifty per cent has to be dealt with by the kidneys. Yet a dog can digest something like ninety-five per cent of the protein in chicken and eggs. When you consider that the content of many commercial diets listed as meat or poultry byproducts can cover ground chicken feathers and feet, hoof and horn, you can see how much protein waste there must be in such diets. Yet all those things count as protein; its just not digestible protein.
Yet there are similar problems in feeding a raw food diet, unless you are careful about your source. Products sold as pet mince may contain feathers, necks and feet, as well as waste products such as sausage meat, masses of fat and huge amounts of bone. Although feeding meaty bones can be good, feeding just bone can cause many problems, including impaction of the digestive system. This is especially likely to be the case in young puppies. Some meaty chunks sold frozen have been found to be mostly fat and blood. You do need to be sure that what you are buying is actually meat.
However, there is no one diet that will suit every dog. Even if the raw food diet is right for your dog, it would best be tailored to his or her particular needs. The problem is, how do you find out what are those needs? You can ask the dog himself, either directly through interspecies communication, or indirectly through kinesiology (muscle testing) or dowsing. (click to find out more).
Food Pets Die For by Ann H. Martin
How to Have a Healthier Dog by Wendell Belfield
|Video & article on Pets, Protein, Dry Food & Disease on healthypets.mercola.com
|Article on Selecting the Best Commercial Foods
|5 Shocking Facts About Commercial Dog Food by John Deeprose
|The page on The Poisons in Pet Food on the Shirleys Wellness Cafe site
Back to index
Between 1932 and 1942 a Dr. F.M. Pottenger, Jr. carried out research involving 900 cats over four generations. The cats were divided into two main groups, one group being fed on raw food, including raw meat, raw milk, and codliver oil, and the second group being fed cooked meat, raw milk, and codliver oil. The meat content of the diet comprised muscle meat, organ meat, and bone. Each main group was divided into smaller groups and were housed in large outdoor pens with a sand toilet area at one end and a covered bedded area at the other.
The group fed raw meat were fit and healthy throughout the ten year trial period, living contentedly together, interacting amicably and breeding normally. Their kittens were much alike in size, shape and structure. They were resistant to fleas and other parasites and also to infections. They showed no signs of allergies, had good teeth and gums, and behaved normally. When dropped, they always landed on their feet.
The second group, fed on the cooked meat, had a lot of problems in health, breeding, and behaviour. The first generation of kittens born to these cats were not alike in size and skeletal structure, and these differences became more marked in succeeding generations. The long bones became longer, narrower, weaker and the density of the bone was poor. In the third generation some of the bones were soft due to a severe lack of available nutrients, especially of calcium. These third generation kittens were either born dead or deformed, or died before six months of age, so there was no fourth generation. Spontaneous abortion was common, affecting about 27% of the first generation cats and rising to about 70% in the second generation. Many females died while giving birth, as the birthing process was very difficult. Many kittens that were born alive were too weak to feed or their dam had no milk and many queens showed poor maternal instinct and failed to look after their kittens properly.
The cats in this group became more aggressive, with some of the females becoming too dangerous to handle. On the other hand, some of the males became so docile that they had little interest in the females, and there was some abnormal sexual activity between the same sexes. When dropped, these cats did not land on their feet. They also had major problems with fleas and other parasites. Skin problems were common and became even more common through the generations. These cats also suffered a wide spectrum of diseases including heart problems, thyroid disorders; infections; arthritis and joint inflammation; paralysis; and meningitis. They often suffered diarrhoea, especially the kittens.
Some cats from this second group were returned to a raw meat diet and their progeny were fed the raw meat diet and measurements were taken of how long it took for them to return to normal health. This took four generations, although their reproductive ability never fully recovered. During the second generation back on a raw food diet, the cats showed improved resistance to disease but it took until the third generation for all allergies to disappear. The reproductive ability of female cats fed on the cooked food diet for only 12 to 18 months was permanently damaged. They never gave birth to normal litters, even after having been on the raw diet for many years. Their progeny did gradually regenerate over several generations on the raw diet.
One sub group of the raw food fed cats was placed on cooked meat for six months during adolescence, then returned to the raw food diet. The kittens produced by females of this group showed many of the symptoms of deficiency, which were largely alleviated when put back on raw food. During the period of being fed cooked meat, their resistance to disease decreased dramatically but improved when they went back on raw meat.
Dr. Pottenger felt that even the cats on the raw food were not as healthy as those that were allowed to hunt. Bear in mind that even the raw diet was not very well balanced, as it was lacking in anything resembling fur, feather or gut contents, and that could account for the difference in cats that hunted for food. However, possibly the most likely explanation for the added benefits of hunting is that cats have never adapted to food that is not absolutely fresh. Dogs, for example, are scavengers as well as hunters, so they had to be able to deal with food that was not really fresh and might even be starting to rot. Cats are not scavengers and their food has always been freshly caught and killed, hence they had no need for the kind of detoxification system that canines required. Cats just cannot deal with rancid food because they can not rid themselves of the toxins in such foods, which is undoubtedly why cats on the modern commercial diet have so many major health problems.
There is also the point that cats during the period up to and including the time of the Pottenger research were mainly left to fend for themselves and - unlike dogs - not kept enclosed in house, kennels, or chained up outside and - also unlike dogs - were not fed mainly just grains for generation after generation and so had not been forced to adjust their bodily systems to somehow deal as best they could with 'foods' that were completely unsuited to their needs.
Back to index