ROLES AND NUTRITIONAL INTEREST OF CEREALS
IN DRY DOG AND CATFOOD
Why is there so much cereals in ROYAL CANIN dinners ?
A dog or a cat might theoritically be fed only through meat products : although this type of diet induces several inconvenients.
- Such a diet is rich in fat, and the important energetic concentration can arise a risk of overweight ;
- As the strict proteic requirements are lower compared to the excessive intake of proteins, most of them are not digested: they pass through the large intestine where they promote the development of a proteolytic bacterial flora. The gas production increases, the smell of the stools turn very unpleasant, ant there is a risk of putrid diarrhea.
- Last, from an economical point of view, there is no sense wasting noble elements as animal proteins : it is more rational to guide the metabolism toward a more selective way of using proteins, and to propose a cheaper source of energy, such as the starch of the cereals.
Whole corn grains, corn meals, wheat and rice in certain multicomponents products are the main cereals used by ROYAL CANIN. Even if the presentation varies, the amount of cereals is the same in dinners or croquettes, as long as the nutritional analysis is equivalent. The cereals represent 30 % of the ingredients in a high-energy product, up to about 50 % in a maintenance food. The starch is indispensable to the particular structure of the croquettes, light and alveolar.
What do the cereals bring ?
- an energy source : the starch is the storage form of glucose in vegetables.
- a bulk source : vegetable fibers, very little fermentescible
- about 10 % of vegetable proteins.
Major component of the cereals, the starch requires steam pressure cooking to be well-digested by carnivorous. The enzymes necessary for starch digestion are called amylases, whose production strongly develops from weaning : 80 % increase sets up between the 8th and 12th weeks. Then the level reached corresponds to half the adult enzymatic capacity. Consequently, the starch incorporation must be very progressive in the puppy diet ; this is why a puppy food always contains less starch (or Nitrogen Free Extract : NFE), than an adult food.
Then the enzymatic capacity development depends on the diet : dogs and cats adapt themselves very quickly to a high-starch diet, provided it is well digestible, like extruded corn meal.
On a energetic basis, one gramme of starch provides the same quantity of calories as one gramme of proteins: 3,5 to 4,0 kcal/g depending on the food digestibility.
Cereals fibers are located in the grain envelope: it is the bran that represents 9 to 12 % of the total ; it plays a major role in the intestinal transit. Lack of fibers slows the transit down, inducing constipation and increased fermentations in the large intestine.
Producing high digestibility products impose to manage correctly the fiber level of the ingredients because fiber excess deteriorates the digestibility. Then corn or wheat meals (=starch) and fibers are incorporated separately, at different levels corresponding to the nutritional requirements : more fibers are necessary Canistar S1 formulation, whose goal is to propose a less energetic diet, than for Energy Size products, designed for active dogs.
The use of purified cereals (corn meal) is one of the main differences of composition between high-digestibility Royal Canin products and the other Royal Canin ranges.
Vegetable proteins are usely less digestible than animal proteins, but their supply in indispensable amino-acids is not neglectable in dog and cat nutrition.
Cereals are well valorized by carnivorous, provided one respects the maxima levels of incorporation and the right way of cooking to be compatible with their digestive physiology.
The various forms of presentation : flakes, popped rice, pre-cooked noodles, allow to propose many different recipes, that enhance the palatability for the animal, and that give an attracting aspect for the owner.
Donated by the Borg Cardona and Co. Ltd. visit Borg Cardona website