Science Dive: Keto Dog Food
Dog nutrition can be confusing and difficult to navigate (this is done intentionally to confuse the consumer into choosing something not-so-great for their dog)
By eating a high-fat + moderate-protein + low-carb diet, a dog’s body will start to metabolize/get energy from fat (Ketosis) instead of glucose (Glycolysis)
When a dog (or human) is in Ketosis, they use ketone bodies from fat to produce energy. This is an efficient + optimal way to produce energy because it 1) promotes overall well-being and 2) can lead to reduced rates of metabolic diseases like cancer
THE SCIENCE BEHIND KETOGENIC DOG FOOD
Picking the right type of food for your dog can feel similar to picking your own food: difficult and confusing.
One person says one thing and another says the opposite.
Often times, you’re left thinking: so, what do you choose for food? IS there a right answer?
When it comes to dog nutrition, labels on dog food are there to intentionally overwhelm the consumer:
“New special formulation for small dogs. Breed specific kibble. Vitality bits. Dinners. Meals. Formulas. Feasts.”
It is up to us as pet parents + guardians to dig, research, and determine BEST possible dog food options. We have to consult scientific literature, reference biology, and ask hard-hitting questions to find out the truth about dog food.
But don't worry, we've got your back. And we're here to help translate.
We’ve done our research: it’s been a long time coming, but we've learned that Ketogenic Raw Dog Food is metabolically optimal for canines. (And that’s why we sell it!)
Don’t take our word for it: in this article, we’ll explore how Ketogenic food works & link you to relevant research. We challenge you to follow along and discover the truth about dog food for yourself.
If you haven’t heard of Keto, check out our blog What Is Keto? before reading on!
THE BASICS OF KETONES, KETOSIS, AND GLYCOLYSIS
“Ketogenic diets are composed of high-fat, moderate protein and low-carbohydrate components, resulting in limited metabolism of carbohydrates and proteins and increased fat metabolism. As a consequence of elevated levels of fat-derived ketone bodies and decreased levels of glucose in the blood, alterations in energy metabolism can occur.
First described by Hans Krebs..., ketosis is a metabolic state in which the body obtains its energy from the metabolism of ketone bodies, as opposed to what occurs in glycolysis, where glucose is the main energy source.
Ketosis may be achieved through periods of fasting or by reducing the intake of carbohydrates in the diet.” - European Journal of Clinical Investigation (source)
In other words, when a dog (or a human for that matter) eats a high-fat + moderate-protein + low-carb diet, their body will start to metabolize/get energy from fat (ketosis) instead of glucose (glycolysis).
PSST, glucose is another way to describe sugar!
When the body doesn’t have glucose to get energy, it spurs on the production of ketone bodies in the liver through fatty acid oxidation.
“The high percentage of fat contained in ketogenic diets forces the body to use fats instead of carbohydrates. Ketone bodies are produced in the liver as a consequence of fatty acid oxidation, following the metabolism of acetyl-CoA formed during mitochondrial B-oxidation...which are transported from the blood to different tissues such as the heart and brain.” (source)
The process of Ketosis at-a-glance:
1. A dog (or person) eats a diet low in carbs and high in healthy fats (moderate protein)
2. Metabolically, without carbs (glucose), that body will start to produce more ketones in the liver
3. With more ketone bodies in the liver, the body will go into a fat-burning state called Ketosis
4. In Ketosis, the body metabolizes ketone bodies to energy from fat instead of energy from glucose
quick note: FATTY ACID SYNTHESIS Versus FATTY ACID OXIDATION
There’s a lot going on in the liver when energy is being produced (which is always!).
When a body is primarily getting energy from glucose, the body is in a state called Fatty Acid Synthesis. This is
“...the process by which end products of glucose catabolism are converted to fatty acids, which are subsequently esterified with glycerol to form the triacylglycerols that are packaged in VLDL and secreted from the liver” (source).
When a body is primarily getting energy from fat, the body is in a state called Fatty Acid Oxidation. This is
"...a multi step process by which fatty acids are broken down by various tissues to produce energy” (source).
In this state, ketone bodies are excreted from the liver instead of fatty acids (source).
Knowing the technical way that ketone bodies work in the liver will help you understand what comes next!
SO, HOW IS KETOSIS BETTER THAN GLYCOLYSIS?
Even if a dog’s body starts to metabolize fat instead of glucose, what does this matter?
“Ketone bodies are energetically more efficient than pyruvate fatty acids due to their greater hydrogen/carbon ratio and to the fact that, unlike fatty acids, they do not uncouple mitochondria.” (source)
Metabolically, using fat for energy is a more efficient way to get energy than from glucose. The body actually prefers glucose since it can burn up the energy quickly (ever heard of a sugar crash?) -- but that does not mean that it uses the energy efficiently.
B&C’s Ketogenic formulation is a great tool in helping dogs process their food efficiently through Ketosis by using fat for fuel, instead of glucose for fuel. That’s why we refer to our food as having metabolic integrity.
KETOSIS AND METABOLIC DISEASES
Given that there’s a link between metabolic stress and higher rates of disease in dogs, the less metabolic stress in the body, the better (in our opinion).
When dogs eat high glucose foods (i.e. high-carb kibble), their bodies have to metabolically work overtime to compensate for being fed species-inappropriate food.
On the other hand, if dogs are given food that is optimal for their metabolic system (Keto), it just makes sense there there is less of a chance that they will develop certain metabolic diseases like cancer, diabetes, and obesity (source).
A great example of this is the work being done at KetoPet Sanctuary, where dogs with cancer are put on a Ketogenic diet in order to slow or reduce cancer growth. Since cancer cells feed off of glucose, KetoPet Sanctuary has used Ketogenic food + exercise to metabolically starve these cancer cells, resulting in really promising results for dogs with cancer.
Basically, putting a dog in the least amount of metabolic stress can both allow that dog to metabolize its food efficiently AND reduce the chance that they will develop certain metabolic diseases.
HOW CAN I LEARN MORE?
If you’re feeling even more motivated than ever to learn more about pet nutrition, a Ketogenic lifestyle, and raw food, we’re here for you.
We are absolutely convinced that we can improve the health of our dogs + reduce their pain by feeding them Ketogenic raw food. That’s why we are on a MISSION to be share more resources, information, and advice about all things Keto with YOU, #DogFoodRebel.
JOIN OUR TRIBE as we continue to Educate about Keto, Erupt the Status Quo, and Empower dog parents.
Power to the Pet Parents,
Your B&C Tribe
Have specific questions about your dog’s health? While B&C cannot give medical advice, we recommend seeking advice from a Holistic Veterinarian for your best furry friend (BFF).B&C is here to be a resource for you while you learn more about raw food, Keto, and dog nutrition!