An important advance in nutrition is the discovery that there is a difference between overt nutrient deficiencies (causing conditions such as rickets, anemia, blindness, etc.) and nutrition necessary to optimize health and prevent a host of more indirect, subtle and chronic diseases.
Pet foods which are designed to achieve "average" levels of nutrition for prevention of classical nutrient deficiencies (so-called "100% complete" foods) fall short of this newer knowledge. They are most certainly not "100% complete." Being just barely good enough is not really "100% complete." Being just barely good enough nutritionally is like barely good enough parachutes or fire extinguishers. The risk is too great.
The confusion, even blindness, of researchers and regulatory agencies (however well intentioned) is apparent in the following incredible contradiction by authors with DVM, PhD and specialty board certification in veterinary internal medicine and nutrition: "These protocols (the authors are discussing AAFCO feeding trial studies) were designed to assure that pet foods would not be harmful to the animal and would support the proposed life-stage. These protocols were not designed to examine nutritional relationships to long-term health or disease prevention." (Veterinary Forum, Oct 1992:34.)
In other words, a food could cause disease and destroy long-term health yet at the same time "not be harmful," "support life" and be classified as "100% complete"! So after a pet has been fed the "proven" food for a period of time equal to the duration of an AAFCO study (26 weeks), all bets are off. The "100% complete and balanced" food may then be starving or poisoning the animal with the blessings of the academic, professional, scientific, governmental and industrial pet food establishment.
When researchers set nutrient requirements they use statistics. A bell curve is created which is a statistical distribution to determine what the requirement would be for the average majority. If an animal falls in the middle of the bell curve for every nutrient (each nutrient has its own bell curve) all may be well. But each edge of the bell curve also represents a number of animals for which the "average" dose is either too little (creating a deficiency) or too much (creating possible toxicity). There is a good chance that any specific animal (as opposed to a statistical average) will be on the edges of the curve for at least one of the nutrients.
The point is (again), do not rely on so-called
"100% complete" foods. Strive
for the optimum diet. First
off, do not feed foods from manufacturers who do not understand
this important concept. Remember, a food can be no better than
the underlying philosophy of the producer. Secondly, think variety,
whole, natural, fresh. Never feed the same food meal after meal,
regardless of its merits. No single food
is perfect, and such singular feeding can create toxicities (anything
can be a poison at high enough dose), food allergies and sensitivities.
The Wysong e-Health Letter is an educational newsletter. Opinions expressed are meant to be taken for their argumentative/intellectual interest value, and not interpreted as specific medical or legal direction for individual conditions or situations. The e-Health Letter does not represent all-inclusive knowledge, nor can it affirm or deny facts or data gathered from cited references. Before initiating any health action or changing existing therapies, individuals should read the references cited in the e-Health Letter or request them from Wysong Corporation (firstname.lastname@example.org), and seek and evaluate several alternative, competent viewpoints. The reader (not the Wysong e-Health Letter) must assume all responsibilities from the application of educational and often controversial information presented in the e-Health Letter.
© Copyright 2002, Wysong Corporation. This newsletter is for educational purposes. Material may be copied and transmitted provided the source (Dr. Wysong's e-Health Letter, http://www.wysong.net) is clearly credited, context is clearly described, its use is not for profit in any way, and mention is made of the availability of the free Wysong e-Health Letter. For any other use, written permission is required.