There is too much sugar in a lot of commercially manufactured cat food. There is too much sugar in processed commercially manufactured human food. The big multinational corporations, which manufacture and supply cat food worldwide are very good at making a profit. Their packaging and marketing is excellent. They give the impression that their focus is on cat health. One of the best examples is linking “science” to cat food quality – Hills Science Diet®. This dry cat food is sold in vet clinics to give added credibility.
To add to the doubts about cat food quality, the carbohydrate content in wet food is not listed while protein, fat and fiber are. You have to work out the sugar content by deduction and then work out the percentage on a dry matter basis. This presents a big obstacle for many people. Where this occurs, it is a deliberate lack of transparency, I allege.
We can see the similarities in the deficiencies in cat and human foods. We also see the similarities in the outcome. Before our eyes we see a slow moving epidemic of human obesity (UK and USA) and a sharp increase in incidence of type 2 diabetes – doubling in the USA over the period 1997-2007¹.
There is an almost mirror image increase in feline obesity and some vets tell us that there is also an increase in cat diabetes.
“Most veterinarians agree that they are seeing more and more feline diabetic patients as time goes by” (Your Cat by Elizabeth M Hodgkins DVM).
There are calls amongst a group of scientists in the UK to cut back on the amount of sugar that companies add to their food products for people. They are asking for a 30% reduction.
“Added sugar has no nutritional value whatsoever and causes no feeling of satiety. Aside from being a major cause of obesity, there is increasing evidence that added sugar increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes..” (Aseem Malhotra – cardiologist at Croydon University Hospital).
“…the most important environmental factor that causes diabetes is the diet…Because today’s cat is almost always eating dry cat food, with its extremely high sugar content, a cat with any genetic tendency to become obese and/or become diabetic will do just that when sugar is a large part of its diet….” (Your Cat by Elizabeth M Hodgkins DVM).
“Carbohydrates constitute between 30 percent and 40 percent of dry cat food” (University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine).
You’ll find that the contribution of calories in dry cat food is similar between fats, protein and carbohydrates. This is clearly unsatisfactory when you consider that the ideal cat food is a mouse: 40% protein, 50% fat and only 3% carbohydrates.
It is not just dry cat food that contains high sugar content. Some wet cat food do as well. You’ll have to work out the carbohydrate content (dry matter basis) and get to know the good ones.
It is time for cat food manufacturers to stop fuelling a cat obesity epidemic and rises in feline diabetes. I ask them: please begin to cut out the sugar content.
Note: cats don’t taste sugars. It is added in dry food because the manufacturing process requires it an in wet food because it is a cheaper source of calories.
- Ref: (1) http://www.diabetesforecast.org/
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