In January 2018, Purina Pro Plan, a brand of US-based Nestlé Purina PetCare Co., will deliver a patented weight loss system, the Simply Fit product line. The company previewed its new line of products at SuperZoo in Las Vegas in July 2017.

The new product is particularly timely, as pet obesity continues to rise in the US. The Simply Fit system supports weight loss by changing pets’ calorie intake, not portion size. The efficiency of weight loss is calculated as total calories consumed divided by the percent of weight loss during the feeding period. This approach to weight loss is based on intermittent calorie restriction (ICR). Patented by Purina, ICR varies calorie intake over time. The method uses two foods — one with a base calorie amount (Metabolic Maintenance) and one with 25 percent fewer calories (Fat Burn) per serving.

Fed on an alternating schedule, the two foods work together to promote continuously active metabolism, helping pets lose body fat, maintain lean muscle mass and reach an ideal body condition, according to Purina. It is specially formulated to help avoid dietary upset when switching food each week. The week-over-week feeding pattern is continued until the pet’s ideal body condition is reached, with the length of time varying depending upon the pet’s beginning body condition.

The formula features chicken as the number one ingredient, high protein levels to help maintain lean muscle mass during weight loss, natural prebiotic fiber to promote digestive health, and omega-6 fatty acids to support healthy skin and coat. It is also formulated with antioxidants to support the immune system.

Fighting pet obesity in the US

According to a report released in June 2017 by Banfield Pet Hospital, about one-third of dogs and cats in the US are now overweight.

The organization also found the number of overweight cats spiked 169 percent from 2007, while the number of overweight dogs jumped 158 percent. Banfield said it analyzed visits in 2016 from 2.5 million dogs and 505,000 cats.

Pet food manufacturers like Purina continue to balance the nutritional needs of pets with what consumers think is best for their pets. “We have over 500 veterinarians, scientists and nutritionists on staff at Purina who are continually striving to provide the highest quality and 100 percent complete and balanced nutrition for pets at every stage of life,” said Paul Cooke, vice president of industry relations for Nestlé Purina Pet Care, in a press release.