Carbs Contribute the Bulk of Your Dog’s Kibble (Even Many Grain-Free Foods)
Grain-free dry dog food has become wildly popular in the past few years. More and more companies are rolling out a grain-free kibble, as demand for this type of food keeps growing. Why are they so popular?
We’ve found that many dog owners who feed grain-free foods don’t know why they are spending a small fortune on these foods. Or, we should say, they often have their reason, but only rarely are the reasons valid!
As the most common example, some people say they’ve switched to grain-free foods “because dogs don’t need carbs.” Well, they are partly right; dogs don’t require carbohydrates in their diet. But grain-free dry dog foods do contain carbs! In fact, many grain-free foods contain a fair amount of carbohydrates in the form of potatoes, sweet potatoes, tapioca, or peas.
Carbohydrates are used by dogs as a source of glucose. As such, carbs provide energy, a source of heat when metabolized, and products that can be used as building blocks for other nutrients.
Carbohydrates can be divided into two categories: simple and complex.
Simple carbohydrates, such as fructose, sucrose, and lactose, require little or no digestive breakdown and are readily absorbed from the small intestine and converted into glucose. These are found in table sugar, honey, and fruits, as just a few examples.
Complex carbohydrates are further categorized as either starches or fibers, and are digested more slowly than simple carbohydrates. Starches require additional breakdown by enzymes, produced by the pancreas and intestinal wall, before they are absorbed and utilized by the dog. Starches are contained in grains; vegetables such as potatoes and peas; and beans.