1) The first ingredient is corn. Corn is a filler; it is neither digestible nor good for pets. And to top it off, it causes allergies in pets.
Many people who eat whole corn kernels may have noticed a
disturbing site if they have ever looked at their stool the next morning. They
see whole corn kernels. Gross, but also proof that it isn't digested. Or is it?
Uncooked corn and corn kept in the skin are largely
undigested. Cooked and ground corn is actually highly digestible, more
digestible in fact than "several other grains such as rice, wheat, barley and
Contrary to popular internet belief, cooked corn is well digested in both dogs
and cats.2 3 4A
filler is defined as an ingredient providing no nutrition. As Hills uses
cooked, ground corn, their corn ingredient is not a filler but a valuable
nutritional ingredient. Furthermore "Hill's uses grades 1 and 2 corn for [their] pet foods, which are the grades traditionally used for human food products."5
So what benefit does corn have? Cooked, ground corn supplies to dogs and cats:
Carbohydrates. While too much carbohydrates is
mammal also needs carbohydrates as they make up a large portion of the
energy source. The importance is balance.
Beta-carotene just like you get from carrots. It is
and important in eye health
Vitamin E is important for it antioxidative effects
and use in the
nervous system, red blood cell production, prostate and more.
Lutein is another important nutrient for proper eye
including reducing the risk of catarcts6 7
Fatty acids such as linoleic and linolenic acid used
in the health
of skin, hair, immune system and nervous system. True, there are other
rich sources of omega fatty acids but this is why corn is only part of the ingredients.
Protein. While corn is not a main source of protein,
nevertheless has proteins that the body can use in muscles and tissue
In fact, using sources of protein other than meats help balance
diets have protein solely from meat, their calcium and phosphorus levels
higher. For some pets, especially with pre-existing conditions (like
disease, urinary stones or crystals), eating more calcium and phosphorus
necessary can be very harmful.
So why don't all dog and cat foods use corn?
With all the hype against corn on the internet, it is no
wonder that some companies use other ingredients in order to stay up with
marketing fads. Also many of the dog foods still use corn but hope to just
disguise corn by its technical name zea
mays to market to people looking for grain free food. This is a common
technique. So if you are looking for a totally corn-free pet food, make sure you scan the ingredient list for zea mays!
But corn can cause stomach upset and allergies!!!
Highly Digestible pre-cooked corn
A "hot grain" is a
grain that causes stomach irritation by virtue of being of a low or
non-digestible nature. As we have covered, when corn is cooked and ground, it is easily and highly digestible
so is not a "hot grain".
Corn has fewer
allergy cases than other protein sources, such as: beef, dairy products, wheat,
chicken, egg, lamb and soy 8. WOW!
When we combine corn and rice together, they only make up 4% of all the food allergies in dogs!
So maybe corn really is the Golden Grain!
nutritional properties of corn have been known for a long time; perhaps, this
is why the Mayan calendar began in accordance to the planting of corn.9According
to Mayan mythology the first humans were made out of corn. There are also several corn goddesses: the
Aztec Chicomecoatl, the Cherokee Selu, and Iyatiku of the American
southwest Keresan tribe.
With so many salubrious qualities of corn, it is no wonder
that the ancient world was so enamored of this natural nutrient. Even today,
corn is still an important. In 2008, people in the Unites States consumed 327
million bushels of corn (1 bushel = 35.2 liters). This figure does not include
corn oil, or sweeteners which alone account for an additional 943 million bushels of
corn. In fact the total US corn usage was 12.1 billion bushels.10
Chicomecoatl - Aztec Corn Goddess
Xilonen - Mexican Corn Goddess
Yum Kaaz - Mayan Corn God
So is corn the best thing ever?
No. Corn has many advantages as a nutritional ingredient but
it is not the "perfect ingredient". I am not sure anything is. Do some pets
have allergies with corn? Sure, but less than lamb, beef, soy, etc. Finally
remember that the quality of any meal is based upon the correct mixture and
preparation of the ingredients. So when properly mixed, cooked and utilized
with other key ingredients, corn can be a very acceptable ingredient for both
dog and cat foods. This doesn't mean that you should throw out any food that
doesn't have corn; just that you may not want to necessarily condemn one that
http://www.hillspet.com/about-hills-pet-foods.html 2Walker JA, Hermon DL,
Gross KL, Collin GF
of Nutrient Utilization in the Canine Using Cannulation Technique
Journal of Nutrition 124 2672S, 1994 3Schunemann
C Junker S et al Digestibility of Various
Starches in the dogs and Values and Concentration of Organic Acids in
Feces Advances in Animal Physiology
Animal Nutrition vol 19 pgs44-57 1994 4Klendle E
Carbohydrate Metabolism of the Cat Journal of Animal
Physiology Animal Nutrition
69(2-3) pgs102-114 1993 5http://www.hillspet.com/about-hills-pet-foods.html 6SanGiovanni JP,
TE, et al. (September 2007). "The relationships of dietary carotenoid and vitamin A, E, and C intake with age-related macular degeneration in a case-control study: AREDS Report No. 22." Arch. Opthalomology 125 (9): pgs 1225-32. doi: 10.002/archopht.125.9.1225. PMID 17846363. http://archopht.ama-assn.org/cgi/pmidlookup?view=long&pmid=1784636. 7"Associations between age-related nuclear cataract and lutein and zeaxanthin in diet and serum in the Carotenoids in the Age-Related Eye Disease Study, an Ancillary Study of the Women's Health Initiative. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18332316. 8Roudenbush P Ingredients associated
food reaction in dogs and cats
Advanced Small Animal Medical Surgery 15(9) pgs 1-3 2002. 9http://www.mythencyclopedia.com/Ca-Cr/Corn.html 10http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maize#U.S._Usage_Breakdown