Molasses: Sweetener or functional carbohydrate?
Is there a larger place in pet food for this functional pet food ingredient?
Molasses is a common ingredient often associated with cattle and horse feed. It can occasionally be found in the pet aisle, almost exclusively in dog foods. It smells great and dogs like the taste. So in this era of fads and hyper-healthy foods, is there a place for molasses or some of its derivative products in pet food? Perhaps if we know more, the answer will become apparent.
Molasses is a co-product from the sugar-refining industry derived mostly from sugar cane and sugar beets, with lesser quantities from sorghum and fruit residues (most commonly citrus). It is a viscous brown to black fluid with a rich sugary aroma and a sticky consistency. It can also be purchased as a dry ingredient after being coated onto a carrier like wheat middlings or maltodextrins.
In the process of refining sugar, sugar cane or sugar beets are boiled in sequential steps until the sugars (sucrose) crystallize and precipitate. What remains is the syrup (molasses). Light molasses is produced from the first boiling cycle and results in light color, high sugar content and thin viscosity. Dark molasses is the product of the second boiling, and results in a darker, more viscous syrup with slightly less sugar. Blackstrap molasses is produced from a third boiling and is very dark, viscous, and has a higher concentration of vitamins, minerals and stronger “spicy” flavor. Molasses from sorghum “grass” and citrus pulp are processed much the same as sugar cane. “Sulfured molasses” contains sulfur dioxide as a…