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Why does Corn get a Bad Rep?

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  • #21
    RE: These responses are what I expected but I don't really feel like the shed light on why Corn specifically is worse than other grains.

    I do not understand what you're looking for then. We've discussed that some foods take more time to digest over others. Do you not believe that? Do you need to have a chemical analysis of the amount of time it takes for non-herbivores break down different plant cells?

    Are you looking for something like this;
    According to the website of the Dartmouth Undergraduate Journal of Science, not everything you eat is digested at the same rate. For example, foods that contain high levels of cellulose, such as corn and lettuce, aren't easily digested by humans. This is because the human digestive system doesn't have the enzymes necessary to break down cellulose, which is easily digested by animals such as sheep and cows. Not only does digesting cellulose-rich food take longer, these foods are typically not fully digested. This is why you may see undigested kernels of corn in your stool after you eat corn on the cob.

    Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/54...#ixzz2H1owGi73

    Paula
    He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).

    Comment


    • #22
      Originally posted by carp View Post
      I think a few reasons.
      1) Pure snobbery. Corn is common and therefore cheap in North America.
      Corn is SUBSIDIZED and therefore cheap in the USA. Corn is so subsidized that buyers have to figure out ways to use it. That's why HFCS is in almost all processed foods. There is even cat LITTER made out of corn now.
      "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller

      Comment


      • #23
        Dogs are omnivores; the ideal diet is not meat/animal products alone (unlike cats which are obligate carnivores and should be fed accordingly.

        If you look at a corn kernel, that little tiny germ part is the only part where there is any digestible nutrition. That's what, 1/10 of the kernel, if that? The rest is undigestible fiber. That's why when you eat whole corn, you pass whole corn right on through. But pet food companies are unlikely to separate the corn; they grind it whole-so in however much ground corn there is in a food, maybe 1/10 of that is digestible nutrition-the rest passes through.

        So, you need to feed ten times as much to get the same amount of nutrition that you would get in a digestible food source. That's why you often need to feed less of a high-quality dog food (and why dogs on a high-quality diet often poop less than those on a low-quality feed); the dog is extracing a higher percentage of nutrition.

        Other grains, like wheat (which isn't really good for dogs either; it's got a very high allergy rate in dogs) or oats, have a fiber-to-energy ration that is much higher than corn, and grains like oats, rice flour, rye flour, etc. are far less likely to cause allergies than corn.

        Peas are a legume and a much better source of protein than grain; I'd much rather see them on the bag than corn, wheat, or other grains. Peanuts are a better choice for a human snack than, say, pretzels, because they are packed with protein while pretzels (mainly grain) are mostly carbs. I like to see quality plant ingredients in dog food such as peas and pumpkin. As for grains, I prefer rice to wheat and anything to corn (current dog is allergic to both corn and wheat, so neither is in his food. According to my vet, corn and wheat are the most likely causes of food allergies in most dogs.), and none in the first couple of ingredients.

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #24
          Wendy: Thank you for taking the time to demonstrate some of the strengths and weaknesses of a variety of carb sources. I didn't realize sweet potato had anti-inflammatory properties or that tapioca had inflammatory properties, very interesting.

          SNL: I respect paulaedwina and I thought her post about bio-availability made sense. I am interested in looking at carbs holistically so her post made sense to me but I want to hear a variety of inputs. Wendy's post encapsulated the responses I was interested in but I can see how my original post may not have explained what I was looking for.

          pAin't_Misbehavin': Where did I say that I fed corn?

          Comment


          • #25
            As a complete aside; I often wonder about the omnivore title we give to dogs. Are they omnivores -able to thrive on different protein types and other nutrients - or are they facultative carnivores -meat eaters that can survive on other sources of proteins. If they were bacteria I'd do a couple of growth assays! With bacteria it is easy to see facultative versus obligate -they grow slower in the less optimum environment, but they still grow.

            Paula
            He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).

            Comment


            • #26
              well, for those of you who took my tongue in cheek response a bit seriously...

              MOST of the corn seed is starch (amylose and amylopectin). And for the most part starch is starch is starch. According to a quick google search, cats and dogs do in fact have an amylase enzyme, produced in the pancrease, but not in their saliva. So in fact, based on this fact, dogs (and cats) can digest starch, and therefore milled corn (found in kibble) should be digestible and therefore a source of CALORIES for the dogs (and cats). Now, is that the most nutritious? No, as corn is rather low in micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) as well as protein and fat. the protein it does have is rather low quality (not a good amino acid profile, at least for humans). The specific answer to "why not corn" I don't know - so LONG as the actual kibble provides sufficient vitamins and minerals and a good amino acid profile (for dogs), allergies not withstanding.

              My original point, albeit hidden, is that dogs evolved as scavengers, and therefore should be pretty adept at getting their nutrients from a variety of sources (said by someone who also had a dog who would pick strawberries and raspberries and eat them). Corn isn't necessarily hand-ringing bad. And, FWIW, I do not feed cheap "ol' roy" kibble.

              Comment


              • #27
                doubled -sorry!

                Anyway

                Corn is not a high fiber food. Based on dry weight, it is 70 to 72%* pure starch, which is digested directly to glucose by amylase. It does not pass right through. TIt is contained in the main part of the kernel.

                * according to an article on corn refinery.

                Comment


                • #28
                  Corn is great for fattening animals & people up, if that is your goal. Since it is so low in actual nutrition, you will get too many empty calories if you feed a lot of corn. These days, nutritionist emphasize higher nutrition and lower calories since overweight can lead to health problems.

                  Also, did I mention that corn is really bad for the environment? ijs
                  "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller

                  Comment


                  • #29
                    Originally posted by MunchingonHay View Post
                    its not digestible for anyone. I pass whole kernels of corn and I have molars. Dogs dont have molars to grind up and process food.
                    Dogs have molars.
                    Two molars on each side of the upper arcade, and 3 on each side of the lower arcade.

                    As for corn, it's a relatively inexpensive source of amino acids.

                    One of my teachers, who has literally written books on complementary medicine, and has either completed or is near completing board certification in nutrition, does not have a knee-jerk reaction of horror to the inclusion of corn in dogs' diets, provided they do not have an individual sensitivity to it. (and beef is more likely to be a dietary allergen in dogs than is corn)

                    Dogs are not obligate carnivores, but opportunistic carnivores.

                    The rule of thumb I go by in looking at pet foods is that the first 3 ingredients on the label should have had a pulse at one point.
                    "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

                    ...just settin' on the Group W bench.

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      Originally posted by paulaedwina View Post
                      As a complete aside; I often wonder about the omnivore title we give to dogs. Are they omnivores -able to thrive on different protein types and other nutrients - or are they facultative carnivores -meat eaters that can survive on other sources of proteins.
                      Given a typically healthy and well fed pup, perhaps we call them omnivores due to their tendencies to eat foodstuffs that other carnivores ignore? Flowers, fruits and veg (my grandfather's lab will steal carrots out of the garden to eat), etc.

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        I don't believe anyone said dogs were obligate carnivores.

                        I like that; The first 3 ingredients on the label should have had a pulse at one point.

                        Paula
                        He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).

                        Comment


                        • #32
                          Originally posted by VaqueroToro View Post
                          Given a typically healthy and well fed pup, perhaps we call them omnivores due to their tendencies to eat foodstuffs that other carnivores ignore? Flowers, fruits and veg (my grandfather's lab will steal carrots out of the garden to eat), etc.
                          Maybe we need a new word -opportunivore

                          Paula
                          He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).

                          Comment


                          • #33
                            Originally posted by SaturdayNightLive View Post

                            Carnivores are not able to digest corn. They just aren't.
                            Could you back that up with some published data?
                            "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

                            ...just settin' on the Group W bench.

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              I often wonder about the omnivore title we give to dogs. Are they omnivores -able to thrive on different protein types and other nutrients - or are they facultative carnivores -meat eaters that can survive on other sources of proteins. If they were bacteria I'd do a couple of growth assays!
                              dogs are not omnivores- biologically, they are clearly carnivores. They have the teeth of a carnivore, the gut of a carnivore, and the biochemistry of a carnivore. They are also capable of not only surviving, but thriving, on a completely carnivorous diet. They have NO dietary requirement for carbohydrates; they don't need dietary fiber; and they have no dietary requirement for any vitamin, mineral, or micronutrient that isn't easy found in a prey animal.
                              However, unlike cats, they are also CAPABLE of opportunistic feeding on anything that comes along. They can obtain calories and some nutrients from anything they find, thus improving their odds of surviving through bad times.
                              But that is very different from what their "Ideal" diet is.
                              People have actually done a lot of study on dogs, and their ideal diet appears to be, for the most part, a completely carnivorous diet. When you start moving away from a diet composed of whole prey animals, you start to see odd health issues appearing, issues that disappear when the diet is returned to the ideal form.

                              Comment


                              • #35
                                So they are facultative carnivores!

                                Paula
                                He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).

                                Comment


                                • #36
                                  I'm intrigued by the statements of "biochemistry of a carnivore" and the "no dietary requirement that is not found in a prey animal".

                                  I am NOT trying to be snarky - as I realize there are biological differences between species. For instance, humans are one of the few with the dietary requirement for vit c. Most animals can synthesize their own.

                                  So, as a biochemist, I am truly interested. What ARE the biochemical differences between carnivores, herbivores, and omnivores? And what nutrients can not be obtained from consuming an entire prey animal, brain, entrails, bone and all? Please educate...

                                  Thanks.

                                  Comment


                                  • #37
                                    So, as a biochemist, I am truly interested. What ARE the biochemical differences between carnivores, herbivores, and omnivores? And what nutrients can not be obtained from consuming an entire prey animal, brain, entrails, bone and all? Please educate...
                                    ah, this is an interesting area of study. I admit to being but an amateur student of the topic.
                                    In general, animals designed to eat plants have heavy adaptations to digest the plants- plants are DIFFICULT to digest. They have hard cell walls that have to be broken open, and much of their content cannot be digested by mammals, only by bacteria. So the animal designed to eat lots of plants has teeth designed to grind open cell walls, and usually has a very impressive digestive tract with lots of places for the food to hang out and be broken down by bacteria. The cow is a wonderful example of an animal designed to eat plants.
                                    The cat is a fine example of a carnivore. The cat does not have grinding teeth and can't chew up plant material. The cat also has a very simple digestive tract, and can't digest plant material- your cat can eat enormous quantities of plant material and still starve to death.
                                    Some animals are "in transition"- look at humans. Some millions of years ago, our ancestors were adapted to eating primarily plants- flat grinding teeth, strong jaw muscles, big fiber-fermenting guts. We've been evolving towards a meat-eating form since then. We can compare human biochemistry/anatomy to our closest living relative, the chimp, and see how much simpler our gut has gotten, and how our jaw/teeth has reduced in size, indicating we are less able to digest plants and more able to digest meat.

                                    The most interesting part of studying ecological biochemistry is looking at key dietary vitamins and nutrients- all mammals started out with the same biochemistry, yet some have lost the ability to synthesize certain chemicals. If an animal loses the ability to synthesize a key chemical, it will probably just die. If the entire species manages to survive despite not being able to synthesize the chemical, it's often because that chemical is abundant in the diet- take vitamin C. Most mammals can make it; a few species cannot, and all of these species commonly consume diets full of vitamin C. A fruit-eating monkey can easily survive after losing the ability to synthesize vitamin C; a cat, probably not so easily, thus cats are still able to synthesize vitamin C (evolutionary pressure). Or vitamin B12- most animals adapted to eat plants get their vitamin B12 from their colonies of gut bacteria. Meat eaters get their vitamin B12 by eating the flesh of these animals. Humans, having adapted towards meat-eating, have lost the ability to create and absorb sufficient B12 from our gut bacteria, so now we have to eat meat to obtain our B12 just like a lowly cat. Or taurine- plant-eaters are able to synthesize taurine, but cats have to obtain it from their diet (the natural cat diet is rich in taurine), and there is some evidence to indicate that dogs, or at least some dogs, also cannot synthesize sufficient taurine and need to eat a diet rich in the substance- evolutionary pressure keeps non-taurine-eating animals capable of synthesizing it, but animals who naturally eat a lot of meat don't have that pressure.

                                    If you look at a "whole prey animal", http://www.nal.usda.gov/awic/zoo/Who...nal02May29.pdf, you'll note the most obvious nutrients that are not-present in any quantity are fiber and carbohydrates. Dogs and cats and other biochemical carnivores have no dietary requirement for these nutrients- their guts don't require fiber to work, and their bodies don't need carbohydrates to run. Humans, being derived from a plant-eater, do have requirements for dietary fiber and possibly for carbohydrates- if you don't eat fiber, your gut malfunctions, and if you eat absolutely no carbohydrates at all apparently your brain can stop functioning (some people dispute this). Plus there's that pesky inability to synthesize vitamin C humans have inherited- not much vit. C in meat.

                                    The real problem with feeding non-species-appropriate diets to animals though, is not one of obvious "severely constipated" or "you've got scurvy!", it's more a matter of developing disorders due to exposure to too much or too little of this or that macronutrient. Look at horses- horses aren't adapted to eating grains, and some respond to the unnatural diet by developing diseases like IR and EPSM. Or cats, who aren't adapted to eating carbohydrates, and if we feed them a grain-based diet, their teeth decay away and some of them go on to develop diseases like diabetes and renal disease.

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                                    • #38
                                      interesting. Thank you.

                                      One question: what is the difference between B12 from meat and B12 produced by gut bacteria that causes differences in absorption? Location in the gut of absorption vs production?

                                      Comment


                                      • #39
                                        Originally posted by wendy View Post
                                        The cat is a fine example of a carnivore...so now we have to eat meat to obtain our B12 just like a lowly cat.
                                        How dare you refer to the cat as "lowly"!
                                        The cat is God's Own Carnivore.

                                        Or, as da Vinci put it, "The smallest feline is a masterpiece."
                                        "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

                                        ...just settin' on the Group W bench.

                                        Comment


                                        • #40
                                          Originally posted by pAin't_Misbehavin' View Post
                                          All I can tell you is based on a lot of years raising, training, and showing a lot of dogs: corn gives dogs great big loose light-colored stools. Which makes me think it's not very digestible.
                                          this has not been my experience, in fact, rice seems to cause loose stools more often than the commercial dog food.

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