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A wet food question... is it calories or carbs that matter?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
For those who have cats who have lost weight on wet food, is it the calories or the carbs? My cat can not be on any of the prescription weight loss foods because of allergies (poultry). She's doing well on Lamaderm wet (1 5.5 oz can) with aprox 1 tbs of Solid Gold. She's also 15 pds and I'm worried she's going to gain. She used to eat more dry, but i'm feeding her more wet since she gained so much weight from eating a cheaper grain formula food. My only question is... the wet food is really packed with meat and has a lot of calories (210Kcal per can), but it only has 4.6 carbs. I know that so many "diet" foods are low calories and fat, but I've also heard that canned diets of high protein are just as good at helping to lose weight. Anyone have any insights? I guess the calories are my main concern...
post #2 of 8
I would assume it would be just like people - its really only the calories that matter in losing weight. Yes, low carb diets will cause people to lose weight, as will low fat diets. However, if you eat too much of either, you still gain weight. So, its controlling the portion size and calories that will probably be your best bet for your kitty. Good luck!
post #3 of 8
It is the calories you should look at. If you know the kcals per can, the weight of your cat, and the ideal weight of your cat, you can even figure out exactly how much to feed to get to that end result. There are several formulas out there. I am sure you could even find one online.
post #4 of 8
There's a vet that has a weekly column in the newspapers that claims that cats on a diet of only dry food will develop diabetes from all the carbs.
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
I've read that high carb foods can contribute to diabetes too, I was feeding the cats about 2/3 dry 1/3 wet, but now they are getting mostly wet. I do wonder though about the protein level and how it effects the kidneys though. It seems that either way there is something that can go wrong I can tell you that for the past few days since they have been eating mostly wet food the kitty stools have been about 1/2 the size they were when they were eating mostly dry food and Mabel who has always been a puker hasn't puked yet.
post #6 of 8
Calories are what's most important but (IMO)I think weight loss can be achieved best with lower calories and lower carbs. High protein does not *cause* kidney problems so I would'nt worry about that unless your cat already has existing kidney problems.

Here is some more info. for you on obesity in cats and carbs:
Timely Topics in Nutrition
The carnivore connection to nutrition in cats
Debra L. Zoran, DVM, PhD, DACVIM
"Obesity in Cats
Although figures vary, it is estimated that 25 to 33% of cats are overweight or substantially obese.38 In fact, obesity is the most common nutritional disorder in dogs and cats in the United States. There are a large number of factors that contribute to this problem, including sex (sexually intact vs neutered; male vs female), age, activity (indoor vs outdoor), and feeding style (meal feeding vs free choice).39 Neutered male and female animals require fewer calories (estimates of 25 to 30%) for maintenance than sexually intact animals.40 It has also been suggested that neutering may increase food intake, especially in male cats, and result in disordered leptin control of body fat mass.c Furthermore, many people prefer to feed their cats dry food that is available free choice. Active cats with a thin body condition that effectively self-regulate their intake may be fed food free choice. However, many inactive cats cannot be fed this way, because they tend to overeat as a result of the increased amount of fat and palatability of commercially available foods. There are a variety of possible explanations for obesity in pet cats, including hormonal changes (eg, neutering), boredom (eg, indoor cats), type of diet (eg, dry CHO-based food), inactivity (eg, decreased energy expenditure), or simple overfeeding. However, although a combination of these factors is likely to be important in the development of obesity, the role of diet in this problem is increasingly being scrutinized. Regardless of the cause, obese cats have many health issues, such as development of diabetes mellitus, joint disturbances or lameness, development of feline lower urinary tract disease, IHL, and nonallergic skin conditions.
One dietary factor that is receiving increased attention in obese cats is the role of CHO-dense diets. Cats housed exclusively indoors and consuming energy-dense, high-starch, dry foods are provided with more energy than they can effectively use. Any dietary CHO not used for energy is converted and stored as fat. Diets that are severely restricted for energy (eg, traditional low-fat, high-fiber, weight-loss diets) may result in weight loss, but it is often to the detriment of lean body mass.41,d Many of these diets contain high concentrations (> 15%) of insoluble fiber, which increases fecal bulk and volume, potentially increases fecal water loss (eg, increase risk of dehydration in cats not consuming an adequate quantity of water), and has detrimental effects on nutrient (eg, protein) digestibility.42,43 Ultimately, successful weight loss requires maintenance of lean body mass, because lean body mass is the major determinant of basal energy metabolism and is a major influence on whether weight is regained.44
Several investigators have evaluated the use of a high-protein, low-CHO diet (protein, 45% or higher; nitrogen free extract [NFE], < 10%; energy, 3,030 kcal of metabolizable energy [ME]/kg of food on an as-fed basis) for weight loss in cats. In 1 study,d weight reduction in cats on a high-protein, low-CHO diet was compared with that for cats fed a commercial hypoenergetic diet (protein, 34%; NFE, 45%; energy, 2,600 kcal of ME/kg of food on an as-fed basis). Cats in both groups lost weight, but cats consuming the high-protein, low-CHO diet maintained lean body mass during weight loss. Additional studies are necessary, but this approach to inducing weight loss in cats makes metabolic and nutritional sense providing that they are fed appropriate amounts of food (ie, food is not available free choice).
Canned foods generally are best to provide a high-protein, low-CHO dietary combination. Most dry foods are energy dense and have greater CHO concentrations (CHO > 25% on a dry-matter [DM] basis), because starch is necessary to make the kibble. The typical nutrient characteristics of canned foods formulated for kittens are 45 to 55% protein (DM basis), 8 to 15% starch (DM basis), and 15 to 25% fat (DM basis) with little dietary fiber (< 1% [DM basis]). These characteristics are not far removed from that of the natural diet of cats (Appendix 1).
One aspect of weight loss that has received a great deal of attention in recent years is the use of carnitine supplementation in an attempt to enhance weight loss. In 1 study,20 investigators revealed that supplemental amounts of carnitine in diets formulated for cats increased lipid metabolism despite an apparent lack of evidence of a carnitine deficiency in those cats. Furthermore, it decreased the amount of time required to achieve safe weight loss in those cats. Oral administration of carnitine (250 mg/d) is recommended for obese cats undergoing weight loss.20,21,23 Underscoring the increased interest in the use of carnitine for weight loss, pet food companies are adding carnitine to their weight-reduction diet formulas, and this should be taken into account when considering the provision of additional amounts of carnitine."
post #7 of 8
I've read that high carb foods can contribute to diabetes too
Both the American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association have been on record stating they believe there is a potential of an increased risk of organ problems associated with long term high carb diets, though there is no clinical evidence one way or another (it just hasn't been studied for long term.)

There's a vet that has a weekly column in the newspapers that claims that cats on a diet of only dry food will develop diabetes from all the carbs.
This is clearly just that vet's opinion and is absolutely not supported by any significant scientific evidence I'm aware of or anything I've seen from the American Veterinary Medical Association. In fact, the evidence seems to be contrary to that claim and I personally know of quite a few cats who ate primarily dry food their whole lives and never developed diabetes.

The key to weight loss is calories in vs. calories out. Take in fewer calaries than are burned and the animal loses weight. Often cats on weight loss diets simply become less active (and burn fewer calories) and so still maintain their weight. (Cats are MUCH harder to get weight off of than are dogs.)

If your cat has a problem with low cal cat foods you can try one of the hairball formulas, which are higher in fiber.

Canned food has a higher fat content but, because of the high water content, can have fewer calories for the same volume. On the other hand, it can also be a problem for their teeth over the long haul.

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for your responses...

Aquarius- I've found a good ballpark figure on the net, I don't know why I never tried to look it up earlier... it said that senior and less active cats need about 30 calories per pound... so she's probably getting pretty close to what she needs with the canned + the little bit of dry food.

Nern- Thanks for the article! Mabel was in and had bloodwork done last Novemeber and everything was fine so her kidney's should be fine. My other cat Mynx is due for his yearly but he has not shown any signs of having problems. Actually the wet food has seemed to help him get more moisture.

CharmsDad- Thanks for pointing out that a lot of stuff is still speculation. The hairball formulas all have poultry in them and she's unable to eat them (she has allergies and breaks out is sores in her ears..). I still think the wet food causes tooth problems is questionable, as I personally feel it depends on the cats genetics. My male whom has always eaten more wet food than my female... has far better teeth than her I think the key is brushing teeth, which I am trying to start (much to my cats dismay! )
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