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Issue Summary

In recent years, carbohydrates have fallen out of favor with many consumers and popular media, whether in human or animal nutrition. Pet food manufacturers have contributed to the movement, from grain-free marketing messages to pet food aisles dominated by grain-free formulations. However, non-structural and structural carbohydrates play important roles in dog and cat nutrition, particularly when it comes to energy sources for the animals. Examining the science behind carbohydrates is a must.

Editor's Take

Many natural and synthetic carbohydrates are available to the pet food industry for use in all types of dietary formulas, even those that are grain-free. The majority of dogs and cats should not be denied carbohydrates as they are safe and serve many useful functions in pet food production and in animal metabolism.

Takeaways for Your Business

  • High-carbohydrate food sources include fruits, vegetables, grains, pulses and tubers.
  • Man-made carbohydrates usually use starch, sucrose or lactose as starting materials.
  • Structural carbohydrates include the fiber component of pet food ingredients.