The aim of this study was to test the health effects of two canine diets with identical macronutrient profiles, but containing either yellow field peas or white rice as the carbohydrate source on metabolism, cardiovascular outcomes and adiposity.

First, the acute glycemic, insulinemic and cardiovascular responses to the pea- or rice-based diets were determined in seven normal weight Beagles. The glycemic index did not differ between the pea diet and rice diet. Next, nine obese Beagles were fed the yellow field pea diet or white rice diet ad libitum for 12 weeks in a crossover study. Adiposity (measured using computed tomography), metabolic (oral glucose tolerance test, plasma leptin, adiponectin, C-reactive protein) and cardiovascular assessments (echocardiography and blood pressure) were performed before and after each crossover study period.

After 12 weeks on each diet, peak insulin and area under the curve for insulin after a 10 g oral glucose tolerance test were lower with the pea than the rice diet. Diet did not show a significant effect on body weight, fat distribution, cardiovascular variables, adiponectin or leptin. In conclusion, a diet containing yellow field peas reduced the postprandial insulin response after glucose challenge in dogs despite continued obesity, indicating improved metabolic health.

Source:  J.L. Adolphe et al., 2014. Effect of an extruded pea or rice diet on postprandial insulin and cardiovascular responses in dogs. JAPAN online, December 2014. doi: 10.1111/jpn.12275.