WYSONG e-HEALTH LETTER
for Thinking People~
THE MOST SCIENTIFIC PET FOOD" MYTH
this is not a myth. If you were capable of finding the
most scientific (meaning the most consistent with science and having
the most proofs) product, that would certainly be best. It
would be so by definition. Good science is truth, and truth
is the best road to health.
The problem is that – for the average person
– deciding what is good science in the pet food industry and what
is marketing scam dressed up like science, is difficult at best.
Additionally, the science used by some producers who are even well
meaning is bad science. For example, the "100% complete" claim
is couched in scientific jargon, tests, percentages and regulatory
grandiloquence. But it's not only bad science; it's factitious, illogical and dead
wrong. Well intentioned perhaps, but flat out wrong nonetheless.
So, the belief that the kind of "science" perpetrated
in the pet food industry is a reliable measure of pet food merit, is a myth.
The spurious "100% complete" claim and its guarantee occupy essentially the entire intellectual and scientific
talent of the nutritional departments in universities, regulatory agencies and pet food companies (of the few who even employ someone with
nutritional expertise). They busy themselves with spectrophotometry, chromatography,
mass spectrometry, bioassays and countless caged animal feeding tests. In their focus on the quantification of the atoms in the twigs,
they ignore that the forest needs sunshine, air and water. They
are trying to decipher the molecular makeup of the ink on a map to
when all that is needed is a quick glance at the highlighted road
to the destination. Even though it is well meaning, serious
and even scientific in some of its aspects, it is wrong in approach
wrong in destination. Health is the casualty.
There is now a new wave of bad pet food science. In
this case it is really not science at all, just the pretense of it.
Many pet foods are increasingly being promoted as
if they were pharmaceuticals. A few fancy graphs, a drawing
of a molecule, a picture of a laboratory with scientists busying
references to scientific literature (whether or not they are even
relevant) and lots of scientific jargon without its attending
rigor are the hallmarks.
If the evidence for the claims is examined closely, there is little,
if any. Examined closely, such products look essentially
like everything else in the market. But never mind. Perception
is everything in the race for dollars.
Pharmaceuticals, on the other hand, are carefully
regulated and real scientific methodology must be employed to get
by FDA regulation. Tens of millions are spent on research.
Perhaps 50-100 million dollars are spent to pass just one drug.
The pet food industry does no such careful and expensive testing or
provings of products. But the language and look of pharmaceutical
science is borrowed to fob consumers. It's a lot easier and
cheaper to just talk the talk of science, rather than walking the
It's bad enough that the lay public gets hoodwinked.
What is more remarkable is the degree to which these tactics are used
on veterinarians. Unfortunately, veterinarians are busy people
who rely on others to do the science. If the company and product
has the look of science, that usually has to be good enough. They
too believe things are regulated and fraud would be purged long
advertising or products reached them. Not so.
Let me give some quick examples. I have before
me three advertisements in veterinary journals. These are
full-page ads costing many thousands of dollars. The first
promotes a weight loss food using lots of scientific verbiage
and claims about breakthroughs
and the like. When the accompanying graphs are analyzed,
they add up to this profundity: if the calories consumed
are decreased, weight is lost. By the look of the ad you
would assume there was some Nobel Prize stuff going on. No,
just esoteric pet food science
– if less is eaten, there will be less weight.
The second advertisement makes a variety of claims
about how their "new breakthrough" food will treat diabetes.
But the formulation looks essentially the same as numerous foods that
have been on the market for many years. In proof there is a
scientific reference. When this study is examined, the subjects
are not properly selected, it does not include numbers that would
make the results statistically significant, it is not placebo controlled (would a sugar pill do
the same thing?) and does not extend for enough time to justify any
Never mind such details. It has the look. Veterinarians
and consumers who find following pizzazz a lot easier than engaging
that three pound wet engine of consciousness resting on their shoulders,
will believe that surely the rocket scientists at the pet food
cyclotron laboratory have it all figured out to the nth decimal.
The third has an impressive graphic of a DNA molecule.
Then the claim is made that their scientists know how to "test"
DNA to develop foods that they can prove extend lives. That is
quite a claim! If it is true, it surely would have been applied
to humans by now and this new fountain of youth would be on the front
page of every newspaper in the country. When I tried to call
their telephone number to get more information, there was no answer
repeated calling. When I wrote their e-mail address, there
was no reply. They don't want questions evidently.
Words are cheap, but empty talk has built billion
dollar pet food companies. Your job, if health is the goal,
is to carefully measure the words. When it becomes clear
the words are without depth, misleading or harmful – unscientific – look
No, pet food nutrition as practiced by most manufacturers
is not state-of-the-art science; it is not even good science. In
many cases it is not science at all, just gabble and pretense to
create the illusion of that which is not real.
The disaster is compounded further by the fact that
pet nutrition is being held in the grip of a Dark Age reductionistic
"100% complete" technology. Even if this science were
applied with discipline, it could not bring true advance. The paradigm,
the approach is wrong. So regardless of scientific pyrotechnics,
it cannot lead to the ultimate objective, health. Restoring
the natural balances observed in nature is the key, not measuring electron
or pretending you are.
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