Carbohydrate Myths


But we remember ourselves at the beginning of our “dog” way. And then frankly ridiculous statements did not seem to us like that.
Therefore, it was decided that the rubric "Myths" on the site should Be. And we begin with the fact that directly concerns our topic. Namely - dogs feeding.
"Dogs need carbohydrates in their diet."
The text below is taken from the Holistic Guide for a Healthy Dog by Wendy Volhard and Kerry Brown. Their discussion of carbohydrates and the functions they perform seems to "prove" that most dogs need extra carbohydrates in their diets, which is very common in most dog nutrition concepts.
"In addition to providing energy, carbohydrates support the health of the thyroid gland, liver, heart, brain and nervous tissue, which regulate the amount of starch and fat that will be destroyed and used. As soon as carbohydrates enter the digestive tract and are assimilated, they are stored in the liver as glycogen which controls energy balance. Low carbohydrate intake can cause heart symptoms and angina. The central nervous system requires carbohydrates to function properly, just like the brain. The brain cannot t store glucose and therefore depends on the minimum supply of glucose from the blood. With insufficient carbohydrates in the diet, protein and fat are converted into energy, weaken the immune system and prevent the body from forming enough antibodies to fight the disease. Poor hair growth and constant exhaustion are symptoms carbohydrate deficiency.
The function of the thyroid gland also depends on the correct amount of carbohydrates in the dogs diet. Compounds B, found in many grains and vegetables that produce grass, are needed so that the amino acids phenylalanine and tyrosine can produce T3. " But do most dogs really need carbohydrates? In Waltham Book of Dog and Cat Nutrition (2nd edition, 1988), we read that:
"There is no minimum need for carbohydrates for dogs or cats. Based on research, dogs and cats can maintain their health without carbohydrates if the diet contains enough fat or protein, of which the metabolic need for glucose is fully met."
How can it be?
Carbohydrates provide fast and easy energy. However, these are not “carbohydrates” that support the health of the organs listed in the above quotes. Glucose can be obtained from both fat and protein through a process known as glyconeogenesis, where amino acids and fats (and not fatty acids that use a different cycle) are “transformed” into glucose. If carbohydrates are present in the diet, they are first converted into energy (glucose) before fat and protein are processed, as they are easier and faster to process. That is, it depends on them the amount of starch and fat that will be processed into glucose or deposited into fat. With an excess of carbohydrates, the fat will be stored instead of being converted to glucose.
Accordingly, if the carbohydrate is not enough to meet the energy needs of the animal, then the fat will be converted into energy (glucose). And in the absence of carbohydrates in the diet - the need for glucose will be fully met by fat and protein. Excess carbohydrates are stored in the liver and muscles - as glycogen, and in the body - as fat. However, since carbohydrates are not the only source of glycogen (which also comes from proteins and fats in a process known as glyconeogenesis), they are not absolutely necessary. Athletes usually perform the carbo load technique, where they eat a huge amount of food, such as pasta, to quickly replenish their muscle and liver glycogen stores before a competition. Carbohydrates, when their excess, faster convert and store as glycogen compared to fat and protein. HOWEVER, once again, fat and protein can also be stored as glycogen, which makes carbohydrates unnecessary if you don’t want to do a “load with a gadget”.
But carbohydrates do not restore waste muscle tissue, etc. Squirrels do it. Fat is also easily used for fast energy, and also provides more energy per gram than carbohydrate does.
It is not a low carbohydrate intake, which causes symptoms such as heart symptoms and angina pectoris, it is a low blood glucose level. If there is not enough glucose in the circulatory system, you have many problems, including "black outs" (blackout), heart symptoms (such as arrhythmia) and angina (chest pain). Of course, it is interesting that wolves can exist without food for several weeks and still survive quite well. How do they do it without consuming carbohydrates? Simple: they use fat stores and can even sink into their own muscles to get the necessary proteins and fats to provide glucose and energy for their bodies. Therefore, carbohydrates themselves are not really needed; glucose is needed and which can be obtained from protein and fat. What about the brain? The brain uses glucose more than other organs. At the same time glucose in finished form. But does this mean that carbohydrates are necessary? Since glucose can be obtained from fat and protein, it is not.
How about claims to protein and fat, that they turn into energy that weakens the immune system? This seems to be taken from human studies in which athletes who train intensively suppressed immune systems that could be improved by consuming the proper amount of carbohydrates. In addition, the production of white blood cells in humans appears to be associated with the production of glucose. Greater presence of glucose means that the body is better able to support the immune response until there is “too much” glucose around and spikes of insulin and begins to suppress all other pathways in the body, except those that are necessary to force glucose into cells (fat cells) . It is known that a large number of simple carbohydrates and sugars suppress the immune system. If so, you may wonder how a high-grain diet affects our pets — excessive stimulation of the immune system due to high glucose concentrations from the grain? Perhaps that is why many pets suffer from "allergies" to cereals!
Another comment on the topic is that as long as the animal receives the appropriate fat and protein, glucose production will not be a problem. And for carnivores like dogs, I can't help but wonder if their white blood cells are more sensitive to glucose than ours. This means that in order to "stimulate" the production of white leukocytes (WBC), less glucose is required compared to the production of human WBC.
The use of protein and fat for energy does not weaken the immune system, provided that there is no shortage of food for life. If someone is starving, then using protein and fat for energy - while it is necessary - is “expensive” for the body. But this is not due to a lack of carbohydrates, but this is simply due to the lack of sufficient food. In the same way, an athlete-person in intensive training may overwork his body to such an extent that using protein and fat for fuel becomes too expensive for their body.
What can be said about poor hair growth and constant exhaustion caused by a lack of carbohydrates? Could this indicate a "need" for carbohydrates? Perhaps, but rather, this indicates the need to improve overall nutrition. I personally have NEVER heard about the "carbohydrate deficiency" in any animal. Why? Because there are NO SUCH THINGS as "necessary carbohydrate", glucose is simply necessary. Our bodies and the bodies of our dogs can do without carbohydrates (although I would say that our dogs are better off without carbohydrates than humans, as we are omnivorous, we do well with fresh vegetables in our diet.) Fats and proteins are easily converted into the necessary glucose . Poor hair growth and constant depletion are associated with a general poor diet, low intake of essential fatty acids, biotin deficiency, some deficiencies of vitamins and minerals, and the lack of good fats and proteins in the diet. Protein, not carbohydrate, is a building material for hair and skin and all other parts of the body. Carbohydrates do nothing to create and maintain body structures, except that they provide easy glucose to fuel the recovery process.
How about thyroid function? The function of the thyroid gland depends on the correct amount of glucose produced by the dog’s body, and not on the correct amount of carbohydrates in the diet. Too much glucose from easily available carbohydrate sources of energy can cause as many problems as lack of glucose. Since we have already established that glucose can be obtained from fat and protein, then again it turns out that carbohydrates are not really needed if there is enough protein and fat to live (and a raw diet contains a huge amount of protein and fat).
Vitamin B or B vitamins are found not only in the dog's intestines (bacteria produce some B vitamins), but also in the meat and organs of animals that the dog eats. When feeding a variety of meat products in the composition of the correct raw diet will be quite easy to cover the need for B-vitamins. One has to wonder: how many of the B-compounds in the grain and starch and vegetables are really available for the dog? If we compare it with something more bioavailable, like a liver, then I would say "not so much." What conclusions can be drawn from the given data?
• Carbohydrates - are not natural food for dogs due to their nature.
• Carbohydrates perform no other function than restoring energy reserves, converting to glucose.
• At the same time, glucose can be fully synthesized from proteins and fats.
"Glycogen is sometimes called animal starch, because its structure is similar to amylopectin - a component of vegetable starch. It differs from starch by a more branched and compact structure, does not give a blue color when iodized. Glycogen forms an energy reserve that can be quickly mobilized if necessary to compensate for the sudden lack of glucose. Glycogen stores, however, are not as capacious in calories per gram as are triglycerides (fats). Only glycogen stored in liver cells (hepatocytes) can be processed into glucose to nourish the entire body. The content of glycogen in the liver with an increase in its synthesis can be 5-6% by weight of the liver [1]. The total mass of glycogen in the liver can reach 100-120 grams in adults. In muscles, glycogen is processed into glucose exclusively for local consumption and accumulates in much lower concentrations (no more than 1% of the total muscle mass), while its total muscle stock may exceed the stock accumulated in hepatocytes. A small amount of glycogen is found in the kidneys, and even less in certain types of brain cells (glial) and white blood cells. "
Gluconeogenesis is a metabolic pathway leading to the formation of glucose from non-carbohydrate compounds (in particular, pyruvate). Along with glycogenolysis, this pathway maintains the level of glucose in the blood, which is necessary for the functioning of many tissues and organs, primarily nervous tissue and red blood cells. It serves as an important source of glucose in conditions of insufficient glycogen, for example, after a long fast or hard physical work. Gluconeogenesis is an obligatory part of the Corey cycle; in addition, this process can be used to transform pyruvate formed during the deamination of the amino acids alanine and serine.