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THE WYSONG e-HEALTH LETTER
~Thoughts for Thinking People~
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THE "CHOOSE THE MOST SCIENTIFIC PET FOOD" MYTH

Actually 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 health 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 and therefore 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 themselves, 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 walk.

    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 before 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 conclusion. 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 even with 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 elsewhere.

    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 spin or pretending you are.


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 (eHealthLetter@wysong.net), 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. 

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