The Pros And Cons Of Pet Foods

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Depending on the processing methods employed to produce them, commercial pet foods fall into one or the other of the following two categories: heat-treated and raw. So-called 'heat-treated ' pet foods are processed using all-too-often excessive levels of heat. These foods are baked, cooked (canned), extruded, or heat-dried (often the case with kibble- or pellet-type pet foods). Diets based on such heat-treated pet foods are probably the least desirable in terms of maintaining the health and general well being of most animals. Heat processing of food destroys all enzymes, many vitamins and antioxidants, and changes the molecular structure of proteins and even fibers. Attempts to replace nutrients that have been destroyed by heat with supplementary-and predominantly synthetic-nutrients can never compare nutritionally with the benefits and quality of natural, minimally treated nutrients. At present, there is no way to replace structurally altered fibers or denatured proteins. These alterations make heat-processed foods and their constituent nutrients less bio-available or beneficial, and certainly less effective in maintaining health, preventing disease, and helping the healing processes that normally follow injury. Structurally altered pet foods may actually contribute to health problems (e.g., food allergies or inflammation). Mineral and vitamin supplementation is often used to comply with the American Feed Control official standards for balanced or complete diets.

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