A grain free diet has become a huge seller in the cat food industry, and rightly so. Cats weren’t created to consume and digest grains so feeding them grains causes digestive upset and other health issues. The problem, however, is that many pet food companies replace these grains with carbohydrates.
As obligate carnivores, cats were designed to eat meat. They hunt, kill and consume their prey in the wild. Of that prey, roughly 2% will be plant matter from the stomach content of herbivores. Because grains are a cheap filler that is considered a source of fiber, vitamins and minerals pet food companies overuse these ingredients to get more bang for their buck. Ask any cat parent who feeds their cats a grain based diet how many times per week they have to clean up hairballs. Do it. Ask your friends and see what they say. I’ll bet you that they see hairballs often because those grains end up clogging the digestive tract and also will make them shed more.
The Trouble With Grain Free Diets
So taking grains out of the food is awesome, but what do we use as a replacement? Pet food companies turned to carbohydrates for this. The problem is that now we’ve replaced one undigestible ingredient with another. In many grain free diets you’ll see potatoes, sweet potatoes, tapioca, lentils and peas. These are starchy carbohydrates that convert into sugar in the body. They may be more expensive than grains, but they are definitely cheaper than meat.
Again, cats are obligate carnivores and must consume animal protein. Carbs are not a “better” option for them. The digestive results will be the same and now we also have to beware of obesity, diabetes and arthritis.
A grain free diet for your cat is awesome. Just be sure that the grains aren’t replaced with a plethora of starches.
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