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A nutrition paper I wrote for class... Thought I'd share it here, too

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

This is from a paper I did for one of my classes on Pet nutrition research and ratings.  And what is acceptable and what to avoid, I thought I'd share it with you....  You don't have to agree... But I did do a lot of research for this paper and these are my findings based on facts.  If you have nasty things to say, please don't post them out of spite and because it doesn't agree with your method of thinking.  If you have something negative to say, please be able to back it up and post it in a nice and positive way.  Thank you! 

 

"Here's a list of ingredients to AVOID -

Corn - It's undigestable! This is used as a cheap filler for almost all dog and cat foods! This has almost no nutritional value, and passes straight through your pet, coming out as additional waste. Ontop of that, it's a very common allergen in dogs and cats!

By-Product- Some by-products are worse than others, but all by-products are an inconsistant source of meat protein. You never really know what's in by-product meal, but it can range from diseased livestock, horse remains, roadkill (!), euthanised animals from local shelters (!!!) and 4-d meats (all seen in meat by-product meal) to unfiltered intestinal tracts, feathers, brains, feet and waste (poultry by-product meal). Some say that by-products aren't all bad. Why? Well because an animal would eat all that in the wild, right?! Nope, not necessarily. By-products can contain high traces of chemicals used in euthanasia, as well as meat rendered but still tainted with poisons and deadly bacteria. In the wild, most animals would never encounter these things, and would probably die if they did. The 'filler' that the animals would gain in the wild from eating other animals can be replaced with much, MUCH cleaner, healthier, and safer ingredients (seen in the second list).

Peanut Hulls, Mill Run - This is essentially what they sweep off the floor from the processing plants. It's litereally the hulls of peanuts, scraps from trees (including bark), and whatever else employees happend to drop on the floor that day. Science Diet will tell you it's fibre! Unfortunetly, we really don't have the slightest idea what's in the 'mill run' that day.

And here's a list of ingredients look for -

Whole meats or deboned meats (i.e Chicken, Turkey, Bison, Venison) - You're getting exactly what it says you're getting. Whole meats, usually quality cuts of whatever is listed. This is meat alone, contains no internal organs, no mystery chemicals. Genereally the best quality meat you can get in pet food.

Fruits and Vegetables - Such as fresh blueberries (a natural antitoxidant!), fresh apples (yummy, and healthy!), sweet potatoes (reliable source of fibre, though doesn't agree with all dog's tummies). Again, you're getting what it says, these are fruits and vegetables ground up in the food. This is the source of fibre and plant material that a dog or cat would normally be getting from eating the stomach of prey in the wild. It's carefully balanced in premium foods, and is generally not a main ingredient.

Cat food: Meat vs. oh god

Cats are carnivores. In the wild, they live purely off of meat, and off of the stomach contents of their prey. In your home, they also need a predominantly meat-filled diet, though some amount of roughage and fruit/vegetable content help to maintain healthy digestive and urinary tracts. Cats do not need added carbohydrates.

High carbohydrate content makes cats fat, plan and simple. And corn is hard to digest. High-quality foods contain no corn, and little grain. Vegetable matter is fine, just not grain.

Ultra Premium:
Solid Gold
Innova EVO
Innova
California Natural
Nature's Variety Prairie
Evanger's (makes only wet) (NOT the vegetarian formula, duh.)
Wysong? (wet)

These all come with a pretty hefty pricetag.

For the rare cat who's allergic to poultry, California Natural and Prairie are two of the few brands of cat food that offer poultry-free formulas. (Prairie used to offer the only beef-based dry cat food I've ever seen, but it appears to have been discontinued.)

Be careful with Innova EVO. Though it's an ultra premium food, it has a very high protein content and cats prone to kidney issues shouldn't eat it. For a healthy cat, however, it's one of the best foods on the market. I recently switched my cats to EVO from Chicken Soup (see below), and they absolutely love it. Some people report more aromatic stools, and for the first few weeks I noticed more stink around the litterbox, but now that they've adjusted the odor's decreased.

I say "Wysong?" because Wysong's website creeps me out. It seems like it's trying so hard - something's GOT to be wrong here. Either they're all dirty hippies, or they're aliens, or... something. Regardless, Wysong makes prescription diet formulas that have Hill's beat.

And Evanger's is just crazy. One variety is called "Whole Mackeral with Gravy." It is, in fact, an entire mackeral cooked in a gravy to make it nutritionally-complete for cats. It's even grain-free. Other varieties are chock full of organic ingredients. And it costs less than Prairie's canned food.

Solid Gold has impressive wet and dry food. Solid Gold wet is similar in cost to Evangers, and has the consistency, odor, and appearance as regular canned tuna. (One of my cats dislikes pate-style wet food, and Solid Gold is her favorite wet.)


Premium:

Taste Of The Wild
Chicken Soup
Blue Buffalo
Merrick (wet)
Pet Promise (wet)
Wellness
Newman's Own Organics
Natural Balance
Felidae

Premium cat foods contain no by-products.

At the moment, Merrick's website doesn't list any dry cat food formulas. Merrick's wet cat food formulas seem pretty good, but they contain carrageenan - a binding agent to give the food "better consistency." Carrageenan isn't "unhealthy," but I used to work in the deli business, and let me tell you, carrageenan does some pretty nasty stuff with meat.

A couple other "premium" brands also contain carrageenan, so I don't buy them, but they're still nutritionally good.

Blue Buffalo is available at PetSmart, and at Petco. Pet Promise's slogan is "Let By-Products be Bygones;" and Blue Buffalo has "nutrient clusters" (or whatever they call them), meaning the vitamins and minerals are cold-formed and not cooked with the meat, so they don't lose potency.

I used to feed my own cats Chicken Soup, and I'd still recommend it as a food.  I used to get it for about the same price as Iams. I free-fed the dry formula, and both my cats maintained a healthy weight. My cats didn't care as much for its wet formula, though.  Though they loved the dry!! (Go figure!)  But, now I can't find it in my area.  It was a big disappointment when they stopped stocking it.

Wellness has a good ingredient list, and is one of the higher rated premium brands. My cats seem to like it OK.


Good
Eagle Pack
Nutro (Complete Care and Max Cat)
Diamond Naturals
Royal Canin
Wysong (dry)
Pet Promise (dry)

These formulas are sort of "in-between." They're not bad, and I wouldn't immediately try to convince someone to switch from these... but there's much better stuff on the market. Nutro and Eagle Pack contain some corn, and Diamond Naturals contains "chicken flavoring." (If it was so natural, wouldn't it already taste like chicken? Or does chicken taste like anything?)

Also, rumor has it Nutro will be changing its formula soon, and not in a good way - so if you feed Nutro, keep watch over your bag's ingredients.

Royal Canin also contains corn, and I don't buy its claims that "scientific studies" show how individual cat breeds require "dramatically different diets to address significantly different nutritional requirements." I see Royal Canin as the biggest practitioner of marketing BS among all "quality" pet food manufacturers.

Wysong dry cat food contains corn, which is odd since Wysong's ingredient list is otherwise excellent.


Acceptable
Iams
Science Diet
Eukaneuba
Purina One/ Purina Cat Chows
Diamond
Trader Joe's
Whole Paws



I don't like how Science Diet's main ingredient is corn, but let's face it - there's much worse crap out there than Science Diet.

Iams and Eukaneuba are practically the same, and Purina One isn't much different.

And I'm downgrading Trader Joe's to "acceptable," now that I've someplace with a Trader Joe's and have seen the food first-hand. Some Trader Joe's formulas may be better than the "acceptable" category, but recipes vary and some are better than others. Recently, I went with a friend to Trader Joe's because she wants to start feeding better food to her cats. We looked at 4 varieties of wet, and 3 contained un-named "meat" ingredients; the dry contained corn. So if you feed Trader Joe's, be sure to read the ingredient labels fully.

Whole Paws has an impressive ingredient list and excellent consistency, and I once picked up a whole ton of it at Big Lots.  However, most of my cats still loved it and there was no indication of health-related issues, but domestically-manufactured foods from smaller companies seem safer these days.

Many of these foods contain a significant amount of by-products as protein source, but they're still healthier than...

Horrid:
Fancy Feast
Special Kitty, or whatever Wal-Mart calls its house brand
Whiskas
Meow Mix
Other Generic Store Brands

Basically, anything containing corn and by-products as the primary ingredients will damage your cat's health. Cheap foods cause poorer, less glossy coats with more matting and shedding, as well as more frequent and more aromatic defecation. Also, much as there's currently a human obesity epidemic, there seems to be a feline obesity epidemic - cats are indoors more and are less active, so they're getting fatter and are developing diabetes and other disorders at younger ages.
 

 

 

post #2 of 25
Is that the actual paper? Or just a basic overview of it? If it is the actual paper, how formal are your classes? I didn't go to college but I don't think the exclamation marks and slang would go over well in a high school class tongue.gif. Maybe things are different now.

It's a good basic info sheet for those who don't know much about cat nutrition. Are you required to cite your sources? Are you wanting a critique or just sharing the info with us? biggrin.gif
post #3 of 25
Thread Starter 

It's just an overview... I couldn't attach the actual paper.  I tried.  It wouldn't let me.  But yes, I know the slang is unacceptable... It is not part of my actual class paper.  I just added that in here for "mood"... My actual paper is 11 pages long.  But, this is my "thesis"... What I handed in BEFORE my actual whole paper.  Sorry.  I should have clarified that.  Yes, in my paper I included all of my sources... An extra 2 pages worth.  No I don't want you to critique it... I was just sharing it with you. 

post #4 of 25
I was just teasing about the critique tongue.gif. Although I'm sure somebody would want to, LOL. Yeah, it's a good overview, IMO. I may not agree fully with some of the classifications but the basic info is sound. Not a lot of info on canned vs dry, though.
post #5 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by P3 and The King View Post

This is from a paper I did for one of my classes on Pet nutrition research and ratings. 

 

...Basically, anything containing corn and by-products as the primary ingredients will damage your cat's health. Cheap foods cause poorer, less glossy coats with more matting and shedding, as well as more frequent and more aromatic defecation. Also, much as there's currently a human obesity epidemic, there seems to be a feline obesity epidemic - cats are indoors more and are less active, so they're getting fatter and are developing diabetes and other disorders at younger ages.
 

 

 



Thanks for posting your overview!  wavey.gif

 

I think it was well thought out, and has some very good, helpful information.  highfive.gif

 

However, for any potential researchers who might venture upon this thread, I would like to expand on a couple areas of interest.

 

Oh, before I forget, Innova just released "Innova Prime" Grain Free dry food for cats,

which contains no Fish Meal (for people who are concerned about the amount of Fish their Kitties are ingesting.)

I think that this food would clearly fit into the "Ultra Premium" category among dry food options.

 

OK, more importantly,

I would not even consider placing Iams, Eukaneuba, Purina One or Science Diet into the "Acceptable" category.

IMO, no "food" for Cats that contains corn is acceptable.  nono.gif

 

Secondly, due to Ingredient Splitting (listing corn products separately, such as: corn, ground corn, corn meal, corn gluten meal, whole grain corn, corn grits, and the list goes on...)

most if not all of these foods likely contain more total Corn than Meat.

 

Additionally, some of these are about the same price (or more than) Blue Buffalo, which is a MUCH better choice.

If you are going to spend the same amount of money, why not buy a superior product that is better for your Cats?

 

For people who want to feed a good quality dry food, but don't want to spend around $30. for a large bag of Blue, 

Tractor Supply carries "4Health" which contains no corn, wheat or soy,

and is priced much lower than some of these supposedly "Premium" brands* like Iams and Science Diet.

The large bag (15 lb I think) is $19.99.

* "Premium" refers to common public perception, not P3's ratings.

 

I do not know anything about most of the foods listed in the "Good" category above other than Royal Canin and Nutro.

While I have fed both of these several years ago, and I think that they were both (at one time) "Good" choices,

as far as I know, most if not all of their formulas still contain corn...

(correct me if I'm wrong on that Nutro Mike or anyone else)

which results in them plunging down to the "Unacceptable" level in my opinion -

but yes - still better than some of the cheaper commonly available brands that I would classify as "Horrible."   laughing02.gif

 

Once again, thanks to P3 and The King for posting this overview. thanks.gif

It contains some very good information that I'm sure will benefit many readers!  

 

 

 

 

post #6 of 25

I think that is a very good paper. Thanks for posting that!

post #7 of 25
Thanks for the share! Were you given specific foods to include or not include?

Just wondering why commercially available raw was completely skipped over? Or, for that matter, prescription foods? I could understand prescription foods being beyond the scope of the project, but I think no mention of raw does the overview a disservice. dontknow.gif

Commercial raw is a legitimate niche market From a data tracking perspective, "complete and balanced" raw frozen foods were functionally introduced two years ago, and already command a 1% share of the market. The frozen raw/freeze-dried segment of the market is growing more rapidly than the pet food sector in general, and was identified as one of the five most important trends in 2011: http://www.petbusiness.com/articles/2010-12-31/Trend-Watch-2011 ; http://greemtorganics.wordpress.com/2011/08/23/top-trends-from-nbjs-animal-nutrition-industry-overview/ ; http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2012/02/08/alternative-pet-diet-trend.aspx


And just for the benefit of people lighting upon this thread because they're interested in an overview of nutrition and commercially available food, here's another interesting read on pet food and nutrition (a paper written by a 3rd year student at Harvard): http://leda.law.harvard.edu/leda/data/784/Patrick06.html
post #8 of 25
Thread Starter 

Thank you but this is just a thesis of sorts... I had to state what I was writing about and why in one page.  The whole paper was too long to put on here.  But, I had my reasons for posting each selection where I did... After all the research where they ended up is where I felt they deserved to be.  If you disagree with that, I am sorry.  But, the paper is already turned in and I wasn't looking for anyones critique to change my mind... I doubt you could anyway.  I researched for about 2 months before writing the paper.  I went to educational sites mostly through ebsco host and jstor not just .com sites.  And absolutely no wikipedia or sites of that nature.  Of course I looked (if available) at the sites for the brands themselves and through Petco and Petsmarts sites to see what people had to say but other than that, it was mostly educational sites and information journals. 

 

If you didn't like it, that's fine... I am not asking you to.  I just thought it could help some people.  Not everyone in the world can afford to feed the premiums or ultra premium brands.  I don't feel it is right to make them feel bad for not being able to do so.  That is why the "acceptable" category is there.  These foods are better quality than some of the others.  And they have a better price tag or same as some of the other lower foods.  Also, for decades that is what almost everyone fed their pets because the other foods were only available at a vet office or did not exist... And for decades this is what pets lived on mostly.  But, that is why they are on there.  You don't have to agree but I thought I would explain myself. 

 

LDG  raw was skipped over because the paper was over commercial food brands.  I wanted so badly to include that I feed mine meat, real meat, as well, but I could not.  And someone asked why I didn't do a comparison of wet and dry in the certain brands... Well, I didn't have enough room.  I just did the actual labels themselves mostly and that gave me 11.5 pages of just data.... More than enough as it was only supposed to be a 10 page paper.  Then 2 pages of sources. 

post #9 of 25
Wow, tough subject to cover in 10 pages! laughing02.gif Hope you get a great grade!
post #10 of 25
Thread Starter 

Yes and the commercially raw and frozen stuff is relatively new.  Most of the specialty stores, in this area, do not carry them yet.  So considering that it is foods in this area... I needed to "speak" to the audience in this area.  I got an A on it.  I had a lot of good sources so they commented on that, too. One of my professors had trouble finding all the brands at the Petsmart and I told them to go to Petco too.  So I had an abundance of information in the paper.   

post #11 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by P3 and The King View Post

Yes and the commercially raw and frozen stuff is relatively new.  Most of the specialty stores, in this area, do not carry them yet.  So considering that it is foods in this area... I needed to "speak" to the audience in this area.  I got an A on it.  I had a lot of good sources so they commented on that, too. One of my professors had trouble finding all the brands at the Petsmart and I told them to go to Petco too.  So I had an abundance of information in the paper.   

An A! Great job!

post #12 of 25
Interesting!

I fed my cats Evanger duck last night for the first time, to 6 of my 8. It was not a big success. No one, not even the feral outside, was thrilled with it. Some wouldn't touch it. Others ate some of it, but no one cleaned their plates, even the ones who usually do. So it goes. I hate trying new cat foods. You can lead a cat to great food, but you can't make them eat (if that's how that saying goes).

I feed Solid Gold tuna on Saturday night. They seldom get fish other than that. I believe this tuna comes from SE Asia, maybe China, though the rest of their protein comes from North America, if I remember correctly. This has been a concern for me, and I want to find an alternative. My cats love it, though. We'll try some other Solid Gold Foods, if I can find them.

You list Innova, and Innova EVO. Are these the same manufacturer? When people refer to"EVO" is this what they are talking about?

Robin
post #13 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by bastetservant View Post

You list Innova, and Innova EVO. Are these the same manufacturer? When people refer to"EVO" is this what they are talking about?
Robin



Yes, Innova makes an "Innova" line, as well as an Evo line, which is Grain Free.

They also just introduced Innova Prime, which is a GF dry wthout any Fish Meal. (My Kitties LOVE Prime!)  rub.gif  

 

post #14 of 25

I really wish people would just say Evo when they are talking about Evo. Instead of Innova Evo. Two completly different foods.

post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hobo08 View Post

I really wish people would just say Evo when they are talking about Evo. Instead of Innova Evo. Two completly different foods.

No, they're the same. Unless you know of another food called EVO? I can't find one. Anyway, Innova makes both. The official name of EVO was "Innova EVO" at first, before they established their brand recognition. Now it just says EVO on the bag. But it's the same thing.
post #16 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Willowy View Post


No, they're the same. Unless you know of another food called EVO? I can't find one. Anyway, Innova makes both. The official name of EVO was "Innova EVO" at first, before they established their brand recognition. Now it just says EVO on the bag. But it's the same thing.


Natura makes both. They are not the same food. One is grain free the other not. Unless I am thinking of different foods here.
 

 

post #17 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hobo08 View Post


Natura makes both. They are not the same food. One is grain free the other not. Unless I am thinking of different foods here.
 

 



Yes, that is right!  Evo and Prime are Grain Free - the ones just called "Innova" are good quality, but do contain some grains.... brown rice & barley if I remember correctly  catman.gif

 

post #18 of 25
The one with grains is just Innova. The grain-free is EVO. Which used to be called Innova EVO. Both are made by Natura.

And now they make Innova Prime. I have to see the difference between Prime and EVO! Now I'm curious.
post #19 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by SevenWonders View Post



Yes, that is right!  Evo and Prime are Grain Free - the ones just called "Innova" are good quality, but do contain some grains.... brown rice & barley if I remember correctly  catman.gif

 



Exactly and the only reason it annoys me is because when I first started reading up on dog food I kept reading Innova Evo after I had looked at the site and saw they are two completly different brands(just MADE by the same company). So to me a new person starting to look at higher quality pet foods just might get confused as I was in teh beginning. Obviously now I know what people mean when they say "Innova Evo" they are really talking about "Evo" and not "innova" at all.

See what I am saying?

 

post #20 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Willowy View Post

The one with grains is just Innova. The grain-free is EVO. Which used to be called Innova EVO. Both are made by Natura.


Ha I just said that LOL so they are not the same. Just MADE by the same company.

post #21 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hobo08 View Post

I really wish people would just say Evo when they are talking about Evo. Instead of Innova Evo. Two completly different foods.

You said "Innova Evo" and "Evo" are 2 different foods. They aren't. Innova and EVO are 2 different foods, but calling EVO "Innova EVO" wouldn't be wrong since they make it, and since that used to be its name.

Not that it matters tongue.gif. Just a confusing little detail.
post #22 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Willowy View Post


You said "Innova Evo" and "Evo" are 2 different foods. They aren't. Innova and EVO are 2 different foods, but calling EVO "Innova EVO" wouldn't be wrong since they make it, and since that used to be its name.
Not that it matters tongue.gif. Just a confusing little detail.


Yes confusing is right..and I meant Innova and Evo are two different foods not Innova Evo and Evo LOL Grr they never should have changed it. I was not aware of it when it was called Innova Evo which is why it annoys me I guess. Same when someone is talking about Holstic Select. I guess it used to be called Eagle Pack Holistic Select. Well now there is Eagle Pack and there is Holistic Select brand.
 

 

post #23 of 25
Thank you all. Glad to know I have reason to be confused. laughing02.gif



Robin
post #24 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Willowy View Post

...and now they make Innova Prime. I have to see the difference between Prime and EVO! Now I'm curious.



The ingredients for both foods are listed together at the beginning of the "Peas? Potato Starch? Fish Meal? Yikes!" thread.

 

The biggest difference of any consequence is that Evo has a substantial amount of Fish Meal.

Prime contains no fish meal, but it adds a lot of peas.

Personally, I'm more comfortable with the peas for daily use due to potential kidney (and mercury) issues from the fish meal.

 

post #25 of 25
Quote:

Also, rumor has it Nutro will be changing its formula soon, and not in a good way - so if you feed Nutro, keep watch over your bag's ingredients.

 

 

 


 

Hi zwaai.gif First of all, "rumor has it" and "not in a good way"?  First off, I don't know where this rumor originated.  Secondly, if and when Nutro changes any of their formulas it will be for the better and not the opposite.  I think your paper contained some good basic information but I have to wonder where all of the opinion in your post comes into play!?  Was this something you turned in or something you are posting on a blog somewhere?

 

Edit:

 

Sorry, I did not see your post where you could not attach the entire paper. Mea culpa!  Hope you can sometime post the original paper for us to read.  I would be interested in reading it.  You can always PM me with a copy of it if you would like to.  Good basics in the post.

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