Grain Free Cat Food – Is it the best?
What makes grain free cat food better?
You’ve probably heard by now that grain free cat food is the best option for your cat to eat, if you are going to buy food.
This is somewhat true. Before I go into explaining this let’s get the basics down first.
Cats are carnivores. They require a much larger amount of protein compared to, let’s say, dogs.
Aside from other reasons for needing protein, cats break down protein at a faster rate than other animals. They need higher amounts of protein because they break it down so fast.
Grains provide little protein. This is a good enough reason to support grain free cat food. Also grains are mostly carbohydrates.
Healthy cats do not require dietary carbohydrates. Cats also have lower activities of the enzymes used to break down carbohydrates into more simple sugars.
Most popular grains:
Corn, wheat, and rice.
About 74% of 100 grams of corn are carbohydrates. There’s not much protein or fat from corn based ingredients.
Whole grain wheat flour is about 70% carbohydrates with little protein and fat.
Short-grain white rice has very little protein and fat. The carbohydrate content is not as prominent as in corn; it is about ¼ of 100g.
As you can see, grains are loaded with carbohydrates. This is another point in support of grain free cat food.
The Problem with Grain Free Cat Food:
Grain free cat food usually contains sweet potatoes, potatoes, peas, cellulose, and more fruits and vegetables.
These ingredients also contain carbohydrates. The percentages are not as great as the grains, but these ingredients are more carbohydrate than protein or fat.
Grain free cat foods loaded with these carbohydrate substitutes are not healthy.
It is important to look at the ingredients list to see what kinds of ingredients the food contains
The Bottom Line:
If the grain free cat food you choose for your cat is loaded with carbohydrate substitutes, the food is not healthy.
Healthy Grain Free Cat Food Examples
Check out the Best Grain Free Wet Cat Food page for examples of some of the healthiest grain free cat food you can buy.
Check out the Best Grain Free Dry Cat Food page for some examples of grain free dry cat food that is not loaded with carb substitutes.
To summarize everything above, cats CAN digest grains. They don’t digest grains well though. They require a lot of protein compared to other animals due to how their digestive systems are built. Therefore grain free cat food makes sense.
However, the main issue with grains is the high carbohydrate content. Grain free cat food doesn’t necessarily mean that the carbohydrate content is low. This means that grain free cat food that is loaded with carbohydrate substitutes is not healthy.
It is important to keep in mind the carbohydrate levels when you are looking for a grain free cat food.
Source on the carbohydrate percentages:
Visit the United States Department of Agriculture’s Nutrient Database for fat, protein, and carbohydrate levels in various foods, http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods