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Cut the carbs

Most of our dogs and cats are now obese – indeed obesity is one of the biggest diseases of the western world. But strange as it may seem, being fat is not all about calories! Which is why ‘light’ pet-food diets that rely on reducing calorific intake simply don’t work! Virtually every overweight cat I see is already on a light ‘diet’! It’s no different in people – who do you know who has lost weight long-term?

How can this be?

The weight-loss industry is based upon calories. Calories are a chemical measurement of how much energy you get if you physically burn a foodstuff i.e. if you dry it and set fire to it. However, this is not how the body works.

Hunger, satiety, and energy balance are under complex hormonal control which works perfectly if the correct food goes in! Have you ever seen a fat animal in the wild? Even the lions in the middle of the Serengeti don’t get fat, despite millions of wildebeest to feed on. The only mammals that do get fat are those that need energy stores for long winters, or thick layers for insulation (e.g. seals).

However, if you eat a food that the body has no mechanism to control, this complex hormonal system gets stressed and may fail, leading to metabolic diseases such as obesity and diabetes. And the culprit is mostly processed starch! In our development, we have not evolved to deal with large amounts of these ‘high-glycaemic’ foods. Trans-fats will fall into the same camp as the body will never have come across them to develop a control mechanism.

So if you want to lose weight, cut out all those highly processed foods along with pasta, potato, bread and sugar. And the same for your cat and dog. Did you know that most dry cat-foods contain 30 to 50% grain? You will find that the percentage of carbohydrate is rarely listed on the packaging, unless it is very low – strange that!

The food manufacturers would have us believe that our cats are not the same as their wild ancestors after living alongside us for 10,000 years. Biologically this is nonsense. Cats may have been associating with mankind – but they have been eating the rodents we attract not eating cereals. It is only over the last 40 years that grain-based cat diets have become available.

The answer then is to cut the carbs – tricky when the label doesn’t tell you how much the food contains. Suffice it to say that if it doesn’t say, then there is too much in there!

There are different options open to you which include a raw diet, low starch moist foods, and low carbohydrate dry foods. The theory is fine – getting your cat to swap foods can be a challenge, and you will need help to do it properly. Call Jaffa’s!