Pet Food Processing - June 2018 - 43
Whole grains can be team players in pet food formulas.
Courtesy of the Purina Institute, Nestlé Purina PetCare
Grains are a seemingly ever-trending topic when it
comes to both human and pet nutrition. More than
half of the world's food energy comes from staple
grains such as rice, wheat and corn. Despite this statistic, the health benefits of grains are shrouded with
questions and have become just as hot a topic in the
pet food world as its human equivalent. Although
humans and animals are physiologically different, pet
owners tend to transfer their own nutritional concerns onto their pets. Thus, it's important to know
the facts about grains and the role they play in pet
Rich source of nutrients
A nutritionally valuable ingredient in pet food,
"grains" refer to the seeds of cereal grasses and include corn, wheat, oats, rice, millet and barley. Whole
grains typically contain between 75% to 85% complex
carbohydrates and less than 2% sugars. They are an
excellent source of complex carbohydrates, which
are simple sugars held together by complex bonds.
Complex carbohydrates are digested more slowly than
simple sugars, as the body takes longer to break down
the larger molecules. This results in a gradual and extended release of energy without spiking the blood
The grains in pet foods are a source for these digestible complex carbohydrates that help meet a
crucial physiological need for glucose, the most
important energy source for all cells in the body.
Grains also are an important source of several nutrients including protein, fiber, essential fatty acids,
B-vitamins and minerals. Protein provides the body
with the building blocks needed to repair tissue and
make hormones and other body chemicals. Fiber aids
in digestive health, helps maintain healthy intestinal bacteria and plays a role in weight management.
Essential fatty acids are needed for all cells of the
body and help to maintain healthy skin and other tissues. Vitamins and minerals are vital for all cellular
processes, contributing to immune defense, muscle
and vision health, and brain function. Additionally,
whole grains contain various phytonutrients and antioxidants such as vitamin E.
suggests corn promotes positive health
outcomes in pets.
indigolotos - stock.adobe.com
Substitutes not the same
When it comes to the nutrients pets need, grains deliver. These team players provide antioxidants, energy-rich carbohydrates and fiber to promote digestion.
In fact, grains, especially corn, are key for helping
pets digest the other nutrients in their food.
For example, corn provides protein, energy and
linoleic acid, which is an essential fatty acid for dogs.
Corn is also packed with dietary fiber to keep pets
healthy and, ounce for ounce, contains twice the
amount of antioxidants as an apple.
Throughout Purina's 90-plus years of nutritional
research, its scientists have seen evidence that nutritious grains such as corn produce positive results
in pets. Pound for pound, nutritious grains deliver
www.petfoodprocessing.net | June 2018 | PET FOOD PROCESSING