The Fear of Fat.
Updated: Nov 28, 2019
Is There Hope For Fats Or It Is Just Fat Hope?
We humans associate eating fat with weight gain, high cholesterol and other horrible medical conditions. But unlike us, our furry companions process dietary fats differently.
They naturally have better cholesterol and have biological adaptations to resist from developing high cholesterol and clogged arteries. As such, common chronic diseases associated with a high fat diet in humans such as obesity, heart disease and stroke simply does not affect our furiends the same way.
Good Fats and The Bad Fats
The human concept of good and bad fat doesn’t quite apply to our companions. Instead, the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American College of Veterinary Nutrition categorises dietary fats as either facilitative or functional.
Facilitative fats are saturated fats responsible for increasing palatability, supplying caloric energy, absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, etc.
Functional fats are most often but not always essential fatty acids. Essential fatty acids, omega-3 and omega-6, are vital to your companion's well being and health. They must be acquired through diet as land animals are unable to produce them naturally.
So Why Is Fat Important?
Fat provides more than twice the amount of caloric energy as proteins and carbohydrates. They help meet daily caloric goals and provide the energy your companion needs to stay happy and active.
Fat is essential in maintaining and controlling inflammation. It also absorbs fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D, E and K. Without fat, your companion would be at a greater risk of diseases associated with fat-soluble vitamin deficiencies.
E.g. musculoskeletal abnormalities, reproductive failure, listlessness, dull coat and flaky skin, etc.
Fat can affect the texture, taste and smell of food. It is an excellent appetite stimulant commonly used to increase the palatability of food.
Unfortunately, this is also one of the ways pet food manufacturers use to “trick” your companions into eating something they normally wouldn't. They do this by spraying a layer of fat onto the product.
Commercial Fat And Rancidity
Kibble is processed multiple times at extreme temperatures and pressure. This ultimately results in dry, crunchy bits that is without taste and smell. To rectify this, pet food manufacturers strategically use fat to entice our companions into eating their kibble. A nutrient mix of vitamins, metal oxides, sulfates and fats are sprayed on an attempt to replace the nutrients loss during manufacturing and increase palatability.
The pieces of kibble are then packed and left on shelves until it is brought into homes to sustain your companion. Oxidation happens the moment the bag is opened and the product makes contact with oxygen. This is where preservatives and antioxidants in the product start to work to prevent rancidity.
Kibble is commonly stored in clear plastic containers without refrigeration which accelerates the oxidation process. The preservatives, regardless of chemical or natural, will slowly deteriorate and become completely damaged. What happens after is the inevitable, where the fats in the product turns rancid and becomes nutritionally altered.
Rancid Fats Spell Trouble
Case Study 1
Rats fed diet containing rancid cod liver oil and butter fats.
Duration: 12-16 Weeks
Mild biotin deficiency (Hair loss, dry, scaly skin),
Spectacle eye (vision trouble)
Spacity of gait (stiff movements)
Cause: Rapid loss of vitamin A
Case Study 2
3 groups of pregnant rats were fed either unoxidized fish oil, a highly oxidized fish oil, or water
Results from the group fed highly oxidized fish oil reflected
Highest mortality rate
Increased insulin resistance (Increase blood sugar levels, increased risk of diabetes and heart diseases)
The health issues associated with the consumption of rancid fats are not just isolated to rats alone, human health as well as our companions’ can also be affected by rancid fats.
Whole Dog Journal:
“Rancid fats can also cause diarrhea, liver and heart problems, macular degeneration, cell damage, cancer, arthritis, and death. It’s good policy to avoid feeding rancid fats to our dogs.”
The Best Way To Meet Fat Requirements?
Supplementing meals with a high quality fish oil or krill oil are a quick and fat filled way to meet essential fat requirements!
Alternatively, you may choose to feed small oily fish (sardines, anchovies) or chicken skin (ideally raw) to boost fat content.
Raw fat is preferred over cooked. Cooking exposes the food to heat which can alter nutritional profiles and destroy or diminish the nutrient content. According to KetoPet Sanctuary studies conducted, cooked fats are more likely to trigger a bout of pancreatitis over raw fats.
We hope you found this article informative and up next, we will share about the ideal ratios of essential fatty acids to optimize your companion’s health and wellbeing.
Until next time, keep your tails wagging.