The Hidden Health Risks of Processed Pet Food
Let’s discuss commercially available, processed pet food. Before we go into the details, there are some terms you’ll need to be familiar with. The first one is MRP which stands for Maillard Reaction Products.
Think about when you put bread in the toaster; it gets crisp and brown on the outside. That is the Maillard reaction – the chemical reaction that happens between the proteins and sugar when you cook food and it browns. This reaction produces chemical products referred to as advanced glycation end products.
Fact: Advanced glycation end products cause cancer
This is fairly basic level science. There’s a lot of research that backs this up – there is just no question that these products cause cancer when consumed in large amounts. We’ve known this for a long time, this is why people are told not to eat too much charred food like burnt marshmallows or charred steak; it’s just not good for us. The problem is, processed pet food, both kibble and canned, is loaded with these compounds.
Fact: The average dog eating processed pet food is getting 122x more advanced glycation end products than people, on a daily basis. Cats get about 38x more.
Think about that number for a moment.Our pets, who are typically considerably smaller than we are, are receiving enormous amounts of carcinogens (cancer-causing chemicals) at each meal. Nobody wants that. You want what’s best for your pet and certainly feeding them a diet loaded with cancer-causing chemicals does not meet that criteria.
That’s really all that evidence you need to get your pet onto a fresh whole food diet. We already know the nutritional benefits of feeding your pets a fresh diet so we should really be able to end the conversation there.
Fact: Your pet’s physiological makeup is incredibly forgiving, if you make the right changes.
In terms of nutrition, the best thing to do is to move away from processed pet foods and replace them with diets that have better nutrition and less of these potentially toxic products.
An easy first step is to switch to freeze dried or a dehydrated fresh food. The advantages of these options is they have almost all of the same nutrition fresh foods and very few of the negative MRPs. These are easier to start out with because they don’t need to be refrigerated or frozen. All you have to do is divide them into portions and add water to rehydrate them.
The goal is to make positive changes over time – not everything has to happen all at once. And in the end you’re going to feel SO much better about how you’re caring for your pet.