The Truth About Dog Obesity
Here’s a rhetorical question: why has per capita fat intake been falling sharply for the last 30 years, if fat is the problem? yet obesity has skyrocketed in recent years?
This is an ancient legend. Frequently, someone will begin relating a narrative with the phrase “to make a long storey short.” As is typically the case, they fall short of being adequate. I can guarantee that the version of the narrative told today will be shorter than the original, which dates back four billion years.
Obesity and Diet in Dogs: An Ancient Legend
All mammals share a set of genetic and metabolic machinery that has evolved over four billion years and is surprisingly similar in all mammals, including our pets and ourselves. The most obvious trait of mammalian DNA is the amazing capacity for survival in the face of adversity. As outlined in my book:
Calcium deficiency is one example of a mammalian ability to cope with deficiency. If the diet is deficient in calcium, bone is dissolved to maintain adequate blood calcium levels. The liver accumulates vitamin A so efficiently that it is possible to function normally for months, if not years, without vitamin A in the diet. Pregnancy is a perfect example of this intricate survival apparatus in action. Mild fasting significantly reduces the sensitivity of peripheral tissues to insulin. The consequence is to divert vital blood sugar to the foetus, so boosting the next generation’s survival at the expense of the mother. However, if the famine is severe enough, peripheral tissues regain complete insulin sensitivity.
This appears paradoxical at first glance, as it inevitably leads in abortion. However, evolution was fully aware of what it was doing. Pregnancy significantly affects survival prospects in desperate circumstances, therefore the emphasis shifts back to keeping the mother alive so she can become a mother later in better times.
All animals have evolved to manage with a dearth of energy, the second most important nutrient after water. Whether we’re discussing protein, fat, or carbohydrate, there is a method for converting them to energy. Certain amino acids (protein building blocks) convert to energy so rapidly that they are referred to as glucogenic amino acids.
However, animals, including pets and humans, are incapable of dealing with chronically high levels of starch and sugar. There is a rationale for this.
Due to the fact that all animals have evolved over four billion years to adapt to their environments, continuous high quantities of starch and sugar were never encountered. Any substance that may be considered food or sustenance, anywhere on the planet, will be low in starch and sugar. Meat, fish, eggs, insects, plants, fruits, berries, and vegetables all contain approximately 4% carbohydrate and sugar. Naturally, honey and berries contain a lot of sugar. However, honey was discovered infrequently, and berries are largely water. Consuming berries till satiation does not actually overburden the metabolism, and even if it did, the fruit would only last a few days in a primitive setting.
Abuse of Hormones
Contrast the primordial world’s 4 percent starch-to-sugar content with the typical starch-to-sugar content of dry, expanded pet food purchased at the grocery store.
The majority of dry pet food is 40% carbohydrate. This discussion should be self-evident; 4% against 40%.
A single substantial feeding per day on a 40% carbohydrate diet is diametrically opposed to what humans have evolved to survive on and involves real hormone abuse.
Consider that eight hormones cause blood sugar to rise, while only one causes it to fall. As a result, we can conclude that nature placed a high premium on maintaining blood sugar at a safe minimum level and placed a low premium on the need to lower blood sugar. Insulin was created, in a sense, to capture the unusual or sporadic surge in blood sugar and store it as fat. Insulin played a vital part in our evolution in this regard, and as we all know, insulin is rather adept at this task. Insulin is similar, down to the last molecule, in all mammals and performs the same function in all species.
Sunlight Transforms Dim Light
As an analogy, suppose we had lived the previous four billion years in a world of twilight and starlight, until the appearance of a dazzling sun. Our eyes would have difficulty adjusting to this new development. This is very similar to what happened to humanity 10,000 years ago when grain was genetically modified and the agricultural revolution began.
In evolutionary terms, 10,000 years is equivalent to a second in five days. Prior to the beginning of agriculture, mammalian diets were superior. In the 1930s, Dr Weston Price traversed the world assessing the health of various people. He discovered 11 communities that coexisted in two isolated groups. Each community had those who adhered to their historical hunter-gatherer lifestyles and others who ate modern western meals. The hunter gatherers were healthier in all 11 cases, with virtually no bone or dental abnormalities. The skeletons of humans who lived in the Near East before 10,000 years ago are three inches taller than those who arrived later.
Pre-agriculture humans’ foraging behaviour serves as an ideal model for us. That is precisely why we have evolved. Foraging has three intrinsic and significant benefits: it keeps you moving (exercise), it is generally portion controlled, and it delivers foods with the chemical composition we were created to eat (low in starch and sugar).
How Did We Get Here?
Three-LEG-Stool demonstrating how activity, portion control, and diet composition all contribute to dog weight loss.
40% of our pets are obese – not coincidentally, the same percentage as all Americans.
One of the reasons is due to Mother Nature’s devious ploy. As a component of diets, fat contains more than double the energy of any other substance. This leads us to erroneous conclusions, as we assume that less fat is better.
This is evident in any grocery shop, which is brimming with manufactured items labelled as low fat, reduced fat, or less fat. There is a coffee creamer known as half and half that is sold worldwide, and it is available in fat-free form!
The issue is not with fat. This has been known for more than a century and has been firmly established by the scientific community. Individuals following a low carbohydrate diet can eat everything they want and still lose weight and have a healthy blood lipid profile.
What is the solution to our pets’ obesity epidemic?
Americans spend more on pet care than 87 countries’ combined GDP. The issue is genuine, but it appears that we are not using what we know correctly. If weight loss is the issue at hand, it can be thought of as a three-legged stool. Exercise, portion control, and food composition are the three pillars. Does this sound familiar? Foraging is probably the first thing that comes to mind.
The remedy is to supplement your pet’s diet with as much raw, frozen, canned, or freeze dried food as your budget allows. Owners of numerous large dogs could quickly go bankrupt on a fresh or raw food, but nutrition will improve to the extent that dry kibble is eliminated or reduced as a percentage of the diet.
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