I know many people out there have been eagerly awaiting the second popular myth of veterinary nutrition today. So without further adieu:
Myth 2: Grain-free is the way to be.
- Many grain-containing diets are comparable in nutritional profiles to grain-free diets. Many grain-free formulations use tapioca, pea, or potato in place of corn meal or oats. However, potato and tapioca often contain less protein and more sugars than grains themselves, such as corn meal.
- Grains are an uncommon source of food allergies- see above under the corn myth for more information.
- Diets that contain grains do not automatically lead to obesity; any diet if fed improperly can contribute to obesity. Many grain-free diets are also calorie dense, and as a result can contribute to weight management issues.
- Low carbohydrate diets have not been proven to be of benefit in diabetic dogs, nor have they been proven to cause diabetes mellitus in dogs.
- It is important to focus on the overall dietary quality and the overall nutrient profile versus concentrating on an individual ingredient. Unfortunately, it is difficult to assess the nutritional profile due to current minimum label requirements. (Which is why your veterinarian may be your best resource on choosing a diet!)
Overall, grain-free may be the right choice for your pet if your dog has an intolerance to grains or a need for a low carbohydrate diet. But remember, that grain-free diets do not necessarily offer health benefits over grain-containing diets.