Pilot study shows "processed" pet food is high in inflammatory compounds


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Jun 25, 2002
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Fighting for ferals in NW NJ!
A pilot study conducted by Dr. Conway (DVM) found that "processed pet food" (though what that is, is not defined in this interview by Dr. Becker of Dr. Conway) contains high levels of advanced glycation end products (AGE). Dr. Conway explained that the preliminary study, in which she looked at the presence of AGE in different types of pet foods, is complete. What she found across-the-board is that the less processing that occurs, the less heat applied, the more moisture maintained, the lower the AGE.

According to the information in the interview, advanced glycation end products are compounds that form as the result of what is known as the Maillard reaction. When a protein joins with a carbohydrate, the biochemical result is a compound that can cause widespread inflammation and damage in the body.

"A direct link exists between the amount of processed foods consumed and the level of AGE in the blood. The reverse is also true: eat foods low in AGE and AGE blood levels decrease. In fact, studies show that when people with diabetes eat a low AGE diet, it improves insulin sensitivity and kidney function."

Next step: feeding trials and measuring inflammatory response.

Dr. Becker says "I know for a fact that processed pet food causes inflammation in dogs’ bodies because I see it in my practice. Dr. Conway is going to be able to prove scientifically that it is happening, and hers will be the first study I’m aware of in pets."

What is not clear at all in this is what "processed" means. Processing of the ingredients? The final product? Kibble only? I guess we'll have to wait to see.



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Based on the article and some odd things I remember from my years as a science writer, I think the harm comes to the food from heat and the removal of moisture. This piece mentions nicely browned turkey skin (my favorite!), an example that I remember an interviewee mentioning, too. This has been known fir some years.

For pet food, I bet there's a continuum, with raw containing fewest AGEs (no heat, lots of moisture), canned in the middle (moist but heated) and dry the most (both dry and highly heated). I'm just speculating there but that feels logical!
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