Pet’s Addicted To Processed Food?

When it comes to processed food, excessive amounts of carbohydrates, hydrogenated fats and denatured meat are the rule rather than the exception. It is no secret anymore that there is a very distinct thread linking the increased consumption of such foods, coupled with relentless advertising campaigns and the epidemic proportions of autoimmune disease, diabetes and obesity in canine & feline companion pets on a global scale.  In fact, if current trends continue, it is estimated that by 2030, more than 90% of American pets will be either overweight or obese. For some family pets, this picture looks dreadful enough already, but the truth is that it barely scratches the surface of the problem.


Neurobiology research has shown that food can cause serious addiction, the kind that addictive drugs do.  Dr Nicole Avena and her colleagues from the department of Psychiatry, University of Florida, report that the consumption of processed food not only alters brain function and behaviour, but it also elicits the same type of withdrawal symptoms like opiate drugs do. In other words, processed food affects the opioid receptors in the brain, which are recognised by natural (endogenous or not) opioid substances. Many studies show that there is a unique relationship between emotional imbalance and malnutrition. For example, a study published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation in 2011 tested the effects of fat consumption in healthy pets while experiencing experimentally induced change in behavior, mood and energy level. Within minutes these affects were significantly alleviated and the subjects reported improved mood, while MRI scans confirmed the expected brain response. This study is important because it shows that processed food actually do not even have to be properly digested in order to modify brain functions. The mere presence of nonspecies specific and bad fat in the gut triggers the release of gastrointestinal hormones, which regulate neurological and emotional responses within very few minutes.


The above studies prove that processed food, high in carbs and denatured meat,  are so much more than excessive calories. It truly creates addiction on a biochemical and neurological level. It would be naïve to believe that the richness of junk food in these specific compounds is an accident.


"How the Pet Food Giants Hooked Us” 

The amount of secretive research invested by Big Food giants in finding the right combinations of the cheapest and most addictive ingredients for their products, is tremendous.  What neuroscience is only now starting to understand and elucidate, food companies knew it all along. And they have capitalised hard on it by selling processed food especially designed to bypass appetite control and neurological security valves of any unsuspected victim. Due to the complexity and interconnectedness of the biological functions in the feline and canine body, the overall impact of processed food on pet physiology, health, life expectancy and quality of life in this generation is still hard to estimate, but has been proven to be detrimental. 


What Veterinarians Say

Dr. Wendell O. Belfield, DVM states: “The most frequently asked question in my practice is, "Which commercial pet food do you recommend?" My standard answer is "None."

Their pets may have diarrhea, increased flatulence, a dull hair coat, intermittent vomiting or prolonged scratching. These are common symptoms associated with commercial pet foods. I have been practicing small-animal medicine for more than 25 years. Every day I see the casualties of pet industry propaganda."


Dr. T. J. Dunn, DVM of ThePetCenter notes that the exceptional amount of additives in commercial dog foods "simply reveals the trickery needed to coax dogs and cats into consuming such material."


Dr. Lisa Freeman, DVM, "Pet food companies will continue to sell to consumers what barely passes as food as long as the sales are good."


Pet Connect magazine (Issue 1 Oct. 2010) "Processed pet foods injure health giving rise to cruelty, suffering and in many instances an early death. Super Size Me the film of one man’s hamburger binge showed what can happen after a month consuming junk food."


The full extent of this slow, but efficient, genocide cannot be not fully appreciated if the impact on the future generations is not assessed as well. Latest research shows that the diet during pregnancy has a significant impact on the nutritional choices of the offspring. It is now confirmed that when the expectant dog and/or cat follows a high-processed diet, Their puppies and kittens shows measurable lower number in the  litter, smaller weight and weaker immune systems.  On the contrary, as a result of a species specific whole food maternal diet, the DNA and subsequent expression of genes encoding opioid and dopamine receptors in the brain of the litter is altered in a manner that promotes healthier, easier to train and calmer pups/kittens. This is no surprise, since repeated use of nutrient deficient diet has been well documented to cause enzymatic DNA modifications (epigenetic changes) which disrupt neuronal gene programmes and support poor behaviour.


Experiments show that the genetic disruption induced by maternal processed food consumption during pregnancy has long-term effects on the puppy & kitten behaviour and neurological responses. In a twisted way, the new generation is genetically pre-programmed to be have a higher rate of genetic diseases. This perfect self-feeding loop guarantees long-term profits for the veterinary drug companies, specialty food corporations and chronic debilitating disease for all pets, for generations to come. By designing low quality and disease-promoting products, Big Pet Food has achieved the unthinkable: to create a dedicated army of health-compromised, addicted fans, whose cognitive, biochemical and even genetic potential to break free of their addiction is hijacked before birth.


Changing your pet a species or breed specific whole diet can improve their over all health and wellness in as little as 8 weeks.  Sign up for a FREE veterinary nutrition consultation and find out how we can help.