Myth 2: By-Products are bad for my health and my pet's health
Hills has by-products. How processed is too processed??!
Brewer's Yeast, a common by-product
By-product is such a gross and unhealthy sounding term. I
mean yuck! I certainly don't want to eat a by-product; I want to eat something
healthy, non-processed and natural like brewer's yeast or molasses. Um... wait a
sec... brewer's yeast and molasses are
by-products. Brewer's yeast is a by-product of making alcohol and molasses
comes from sugar refining. There is something in the name though! Brewer's
yeast sounds better than an ethanol fermentation by-product and molasses sound
better than 6-(hydroxymethyl)oxane-2,3,4,5-tetrol (the crazy and yucky sounding
name for sugar!) extraction by-product. However you name it though, they are
the same substances.
"So what is a by-product then? And are you telling me that they are all really wonderful then??!"
A cat reading on by-products.... or just surfing
A by-product is something that is made in the process of
making something else. It can come in two main methods, mechanical or
chemical/biochemical. Chicken by-product is from the first category, the
Simply put when a dead chicken is cut and chopped to keep
the parts that most people like to eat, the "leftovers" are called "chicken
by-product". Thus chicken byproducts are, ipso facto, processed to the exact
same degree as "chicken" - no more, no less. These leftovers commonly include internal organs like
stomach, intestines, heart, liver, etc. They also include the head and feet.
Here are other items that you may not have known were
by-products: 11 12
Grape seed oil
But not all by-products are edible. Some are hazardous and
damaging to the earth, especially those from chemical and biochemical
processes. This is one reason why the term by-product has a negative
connotation. Some non-edible by-products include:
Ash and smoke from our cars
Sludge from waste water
So by-product is a very wide term! There are many terms that
we need to be wary of. A good example is the term "all natural". When we say
that something is "all natural", we think that it must be safe, however,
Socrates did not find the "all natural" hemlock solution very salubrious when
he had to drink it. Nor would dogs or cats that suffer from toxic ingestion of
a myriad of harmful plants agree everything "all natural is good". In fact there
is a growing concern with many of the "all natural" remedies as some of the
plant parts may contain harmful tannins or resins. Just because an herb or
vegetable is safe to eat does not mean that all parts of the plant is healthy.
If tapioca is not properly processed, it can contain deadly amounts of cyanide
(a situation of not enough processing!).
The leaves and stems of the tomato, eggplant and potato plant are toxic. So
when separating these leaves and stems from the vegetable, the all natural
tomato by-products are toxic. So as much as "all natural" products may be great
or terrible, so must by-products be thought of living within this range of good
and bad. The key is knowing when to watch out.
Don't say "Bye" to chicken by-products
A lion eating a zebra - starting with the high nutrient rich "by-product" areas
One of the benefits of chicken by-products is that in
addition to the protein that a basic chicken breast would supply the internal
organs, bone marrow, joints, and skin supply many additional nutrients. Wild
predators know this as the internal organs are often the first thing eaten from
the prey. The liver, kidneys, pancreas, adrenals and intestines have high
levels of vitamins, essential fatty acids, antioxidants and other key nutrients
like lipoic acid and iron. Furthermore the joints that are included supply high
levels of glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM which are needed for joint health
including anti-inflammatory effects. You
don't get that from just a chicken breast!
So wild animals know how important all parts of the animal
are to eat. They know that skeletal muscle makes up only 30-45% of the body
mass (approximately 30% of which is found in by-product cuts) and that much of
the nutrient value is in the internal organs, viscera and joints. Thus if they
only ate the human choice cuts of the chicken, they could miss up to 79% of the
prey's mass. As humans, we may not find the internal organs, vicera and joints particularly appetizing but in nature, it is part of the main course!
So does this mean that I want chicken by-products in my pet's food?
Were does your pet food's meat come from??
Yes and no. My major problem with by-products is the same as
I have with the ingredients labeled: "chicken", "beef" or "lamb". Where are
these animals coming from? The US? Are these animals exposed to growth hormones,
antibiotics, pesticides? What are they fed?
Currently Hill's Science Diet does not get any ingredients from China. All meat sources, by-product or otherwise, come from the Unites States of America.
So just as corn is indigestible or digestible depending on
whether it is uncooked, unground or cooked and ground; by-products are
unhealthy or healthy based upon where they come from.