This week’s blog post was written by Lisa P. Weeth, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition.
Not all calories are created equally. More recent veterinary research has challenged the more traditional low fat, high fiber approach to weight loss for dogs and cats. While absolute calorie reduction is essential, studies have shown that dogs and cats fed higher protein diets during weight loss maintain lean body mass (muscle mass) more than when fed higher fiber, more moderate protein diets.
During energy restriction for weight loss it is important to ensure all of the essential nutrients requirements are being met each day, and as such, Veterinary Nutritionists (veterinarians who have undergone specialized training in dog and cat nutrition and are certified by the American College of Veterinary Nutrition) recommend feeding a diet that has a minimum protein content of 30% of the calories. Freshpet diets that meet this criterion include:
More recent evidence in people and cats has also shown that individuals fed higher protein, lower carbohydrate diets will actual consume 5-10% more calories per day and still lose weight. This is known as the thermic effect of food, or the difference in the amount of energy required to burn different types of food. Put another way, it takes more energy (calories) to burn 100 calories worth of protein than it does to burn 100 calories worth of starch (simple carbohydrate).
Protein and fat also help promote satiety, or the feeling of fullness, after each meal. Research has shown that higher moisture foods (like all Freshpet recipes) may also help the animal feel full while actually consuming fewer calories.