Articles by Greg Aldrich, PhD

Glycemic index: Elegant technique in search of a petfood product claim

Is this carryover from the human food industry a valid concept for evaluating petfoods?
The concept of a product possessing a "low glycemic index" is emerging as a new parameter for evaluating petfoods. The index is a carryover from the human foods industry, where it is used as a method to help diabetic individuals make ingredient and meal choices in their effort to constantly monitor and control blood glucose levels.
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Lecithin: Emulsifier and more

Typically used at less than 2%, this petfood ingredient has the potential for more
Lecithin is an ingredient that we see periodically on petfood labels, most commonly on canned foods. It is included for a "functional food" purpose but has some nutritional benefits, as well.
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L-Lysine Monohydrochloride: A key amino acid

This ingredient, found in a wide range of petfoods, is a vital tool for formulation and nutritional fortification.
Lysine is an essential or indispensable amino acid. In other words, the dog and cat are unable to produce an adequate quantity to support their normal physiological functions and must therefore obtain it from the diet. If the diet is inadequate it can result in depressed intake, retarded growth and development, and graying of feathers and fur among various species.
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Poultry by-product meal and poultry meal: Is there a difference?

From a nutrient standpoint they can be nearly identical, and quality may have more to do with process and raw materials.
The availability of fresh poultry and rendered poultry products coincided with the commercialization and industrialization of poultry production in the 1940s and 1950s; and feed values for poultry by-product meal (PBPM) were first established in the 1950s (Fuller, 1996). The volume of rendered poultry proteins in 2003 was estimated at 3,073.5 million pounds per year and the companion animal industry consumes about 23% (Pearl 2003).
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Clay minerals: Do these ingredients have merit in petfood?

These ingredients already exist in small amounts in some animal feeds and petfoods, but are they truly serving a functional purpose?
There are several petfoods on the market that contain clay minerals such as montmorillonite and bentonite. Inclusion of these earth elements at small amounts are purported to benefit our pets.
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Alfalfa: A smart choice for dog and cat food?

Alfalfa is found in a number of cat and dog foods, but its safety and nutritional benefits are still being debated.
The use of alfalfa in some dog and cat foods has created questions with consumers—specifically, whether alfalfa is an ingredient that belongs in these foods. Unfortunately, there isn't a compelling or definitive answer for the petfood company, veterinarian or pet owner.
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Pyridoxine hydrochloride: The stealth vitamin B6

This important pet dietary requirement has gained near-universal market approval
Despite its being synthetically produced predominately by Asian countries with a chemical-sounding name, pyridoxine hydrochloride (a source of vitamin B6) is nearly invisible on popular blame-blogs or safety discussions. This is an important vitamin; it touches nearly every part of animal metabolism and pyridoxine hydrochloride is found on nearly every petfood label around the globe, and yet there is near silence regarding its addition to petfoods.
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Salmonella: The ingredient no one wants in their petfood

Prevention, monitoring, and industry-wide adoption of best practices are key to managing this challenging bacterium.
While events that conspired to sweep petfood into the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011 were not exclusively pathogen related, the net result has been an almost singular focus on eliminating Salmonella in petfood. Before 2007, the only area in the news that seemed to be affected by Salmonella was poultry products (i.e., chicken and eggs).
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Petfood additive a leading dental health aid

Sodium hexametaphosphate a mineral sequestering agent, enhances ‘mechanical action’ of petfoods with a dental message
Today there are a number of dog foods and treats promoted as beneficial for dental health. Some sport the Veterinary Oral Health Council seal (VOHC Accepted) for having passed a rigorous product test.
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Xanthan gum: Functional carbohydrate for petfoods?

This specialty ingredient used in vegetarian and gluten-free diets could have applications as a thickener and stabilizer in petfoods.
Xanthan gum is found occasionally in pet products, most commonly in wet foods and periodically in sauces and gravies, milk replacers and other liquid supplements. While one can find this ingredient in the specialty grocery aisle for vegetarian and gluten-free dietary needs, it is not what one would consider mainstream.
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