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Dr. Jean Dodds on Food

Discussion in 'Commercial Food' started by Ann, Jun 16, 2019.

  1. Ann

    Ann Moderator

    Feb 25, 2008
    Very interesting article on the dangers of soy in dog food, which apparently affects the thyroid. Since Shelties are prone to thyroid issues, this is particularly relevant to us!

    The skinny on soy: Exposing a popular pet food protein
    June 14, 2019 | By W. Jean Dodds, DVM

    As those of you who read my posts and follow my work are aware, I advocate that optimum health begins with optimum nutrition. This is not just an opinion—it is a fact born out by the latest scientific research, which is focused on functional foods designed for the individual person or animal. This is also referred to as nutrigenomics. Canine Nutrigenomics: The New Science of Feeding Your Dog for Optimum Health is the study of the effect of nutrition on the expression of the genes in the body’s “genomic map.” Basically, this approach allows us to use foods to help prevent and mitigate the predisposition to certain disease processes. This means that while we may live our lives with a specific set of DNA that we cannot change, we can change how that DNA is expressed—manifesting either a life of health or one of illness. This is true for humans as well as our companion animals.

    The commercial pet food industry would have us believe that food is largely about “numbers” (i.e. the amounts of specific nutrients used). If it’s “complete and balanced” according to standards set by The American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), it is typically deemed “nutritious.” Nutrigenomics, on the other hand, shows us that these “numbers” are just one piece of the nutrition puzzle. The other major piece is the quality of the ingredients that are used to obtain those numbers. It’s not the quantity of food that speaks to an individual’s genes—it’s the quality.

    So what does this all have to do with soy? Plenty.

    In an effort to provide consumers with convenient, inexpensive and “nutritionally balanced” pet foods (i.e. – the right “numbers”), commercial pet food manufacturers are turning to cheaper—and inferior—forms of protein. Since protein is by far the most expensive ingredient in pet food, “skimping” on the quality of this critical nutrient enables manufacturers to meet AAFCO standards for a “complete and balanced” food while at the same time reducing their processing costs.

    Which leads us to soy.

    Like corn and wheat, soy is a less expensive, inferior source of protein often used in pet foods as a substitute for higher quality meat protein. And while soy can indeed provide the “right” amino acid profile, it harbors too many potentially negative effects for me to condone its use.

    Let’s take a closer look at some of the issues with soy.

    Soy affects the thyroid gland
    As those of you who have read my book The Canine Thyroid Epidemic know, soy interferes with the thyroid gland’s ability to make T4 (thyroxine) and (T3) tri-iodothyronine, hormones necessary for normal thyroid function. As the thyroid gland struggles to make these hormones it enlarges, causing a condition known as “goiter.” Foods such as soy that cause goiter are therefore referred to as goitrogenic.

    Isoflavones in soy are the primary compounds linked to decreased thyroid function. Isoflavones such as genistein interfere with the TPO (thyroid peroxidase) gene’s role in making thyroid peroxidase, an enzyme necessary for the chemical reaction that ultimately produces T4 and T3 via the protein thyroglobulin.

    In dogs, the result is hypothyroidism (low thyroid function), the most common endocrine disorder affecting our canine companions. Hypothyroidism in dogs can result in disruption to a variety of critical systems causing many symptoms, including:

    • Metabolic changes: lethargy, weight gain, mental dullness, cold intolerance, exercise intolerance, mood swings, chronic infections, seizures
    • Neuromuscular (nerve/muscle) problems: weakness, stiffness, facial paralysis, head tilt, incontinence, drooping eyelids
    • Skin diseases: dry, scaly skin and dandruff, chronic offensive skin odor, hyperpigmentation, “rat tail,” “puppy coat,” pyoderma
    • Reproductive disorders: infertility, absence of heat cycles, silent heats, testicular atrophy
    • Cardiac abnormalities: slow heart rate, cardiac arrhythmia, cardiomyopathy
    • Gastrointestinal and liver disorder: constipation, diarrhea, vomiting
    • Blood disorders: bleeding, anemia, bone marrow failure
    • Eye disorders: corneal lipid deposits, corneal ulceration, “dry eye”
    • Behavioral disorders: fear, aggression, anxiety
    The opposite effect occurs in cats, whereby the enlarged thyroid gland (goiter) and imbalanced iodine intake in foods (too high) with lowered production in the body result in hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid). Just as hypothyroidism is the most common endocrine disorder of dogs, hyperthyroidism is the most common endocrine disorder of cats. Some common signs include:

    • Weight loss
    • Ravenous appetite
    • Rapid heart rate
    • Less socialization with family members or other pets
    • Behavioral changes such as vocalization and urinating outside the litter box
    Soy is antigenic
    Soybeans and the many soy derivatives commonly found in pet foods are recognized as one of the main causes of both acute and sub-acute food hypersensitivities (i.e. allergies) as well as long-term food intolerances in pets. Beware of soy in its various forms: it typically appears in pet foods as soybean meal, soy flour, grits, hulls, soy protein concentrate, isolated soy protein and textured vegetable protein (TVP).

    As I had discussed in a previous post on Hemopet.org, Food Sensitivity vs. Food Allergy: Is It Not Really the Same Thing?, symptoms of true food allergies are rare, immediate reactions to the offending food and can include hives and rashes. Food intolerances, which occur over longer periods of exposure to the food antigen, typically manifest as disorders of the skin (primarily itching) or gastrointestinal tract (a “leaky gut”). If you would like to know if your pet is sensitive to soy or other common food antigenic ingredients, consider ordering NutriScan.

    Phytoestrogens in soy can disrupt endocrine function
    Phytoestrogens, including isoflavones, are chemicals found in plants that act like the hormone estrogen and can either mimic or block estrogen’s effect. A 2004 study analyzing 24 commercial dog foods containing soy found that these products contained phytoestrogens in comparable amounts to phytoestrogen levels known to create biological effects in other species. Potential negative effects of dietary phytoestrogens include infertility, precocious or delayed puberty, immune system abnormalities and decreased hair growth.

    But that’s not all. Other negative effects of soy include:

    • Contains antinutrients that inhibit trypsin (a pancreatic enzyme) and other enzymes necessary for protein digestion
    • Can cause serious gastric distress (gas and discomfort)
    • Phytates in soy block absorption of essential minerals
    • Non-organic soy is likely genetically modified (GMO), potentially increasing the antigenic characteristics and creating other as yet unstudied effects.
    Given the potential dangers, I advise that you steer clear of soy and opt instead for high quality proteins that are derived from animal meat. Remember, optimum nutrition is not just about quantity—it is about quality. And quality is what determines a food’s potential to create optimum health on a cellular level.

    Cerundolo, R, Court, MH, Hao, Qin & Michel, KE, 2004, ‘Identification and concentration of soy phytoestrogens in commercial dog foods’, American Journal of Veterinary Research, vol. 65, no. 5, pp. 592-596.

    Fahey, GC, (not dated), ‘Soybean Use: Companion Animals’, Soybean Meal Information Center Fact Sheet. http://www.soymeal.org/FactSheets/domesticpets.pdf
    Hanne, Sandy in CT and ghggp like this.
  2. Sharon7

    Sharon7 Moderator

    Oct 31, 2009
    Well this is timely. I just had Eli to the vet for his annual, and got a brain dump and warning from my vet about the DCM/food issues. She recommended I switch from Wellness because it is a "boutique" brand. Wellness Lamb and Barley does have peas, but they are #7 on the ingredient list, and it is not grain-free. So I have been doing lots of reading, taurinedcm.org is the website she gave me. My head is spinning. I did find the recommendation that peas/legumes should not be in the top 10 of ingredients.

    I trust my vet. She recommended Royal Canin, Eukanuba, Iams, Purina Pro Plan. They follow WSAVA guidelines. Sounds like what Karen's cardiologist recommended for Sandstorm. So I have been looking into those brands. Thought I finally found an OK (not great) one in Purina ProPlan Savor Chicken and Rice. Now I'll have to go check if it has soy. :rolleyes2:

    I'm really bummed out. They've done so well on the Wellness, but I couldn't live with myself if something I fed them caused them an illness. Trying to find a good that is NOT grain-free, does NOT have peas/legumes, or meat-byproducts, or corn gluten.... well good luck. Why does this have to be so complicated? :mad1:

    This website lets you search for dog foods and you can opt to eliminate certain ingredients from the foods: pawdiet.com
    KarenCurtis likes this.
  3. Ann

    Ann Moderator

    Feb 25, 2008
    Good grief, I would not call Wellness a botique brand! I have a problem with vets who recommend brands like Eukanuba, Iams and Purina -- although Purina does have some lines now that are at least acceptable, like their Beyond line. Eliminating peas and legumes at the expense of adding things such as by-products and a ton of additives makes no sense to me. I hear you on the head-spinning.

    I think if you stick to a goal of no objectionable ingredients such as peas in the top ingredients, you're OK, although the top 10 can be a tall order. The other alternative is to make your own food. I'm convinced that's the only way you know exactly what your dog is getting. I make a batch in the crock pot every few weeks and freeze it and that works well for me, although admittedly I'm only feeding that to one of the six. The others eat a combination of Nutro and freeze-dried.

    Unfortunately, vets are not educated on nutrition in vet school. And the studies they are exposed to are those done by the Iams/Eukanuba/Hills people. I would take those recommendations with a large grain of salt. JMHO.
  4. KarenCurtis

    KarenCurtis Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2010
    I was advised to start Sandstorm on either Royal Canin or Pro Plan, I chose ProPlan. Minnie is on the ProPlan puppy lamb and rice. At first I had a problem with it, but not anymore. ProPlan has some kibble with good ingredients, the sensitive stomach ones are good, so I'm just going to rotate them, these are the ones without corn. I also don't mind Sandstorm getting the corn now and then. These ProPlan foods are almost as expensive as the Blue Buffalo I was buying- so they're quality foods, now I have to check out the soy in ProPlan, if any!
    Chris likes this.
  5. KarenCurtis

    KarenCurtis Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2010
    Sharon, the sensitive stomach ProPlan formulas are made without corn, wheat or soy, the Turkey and Barley formula also has no soy or corn. I keep editing this because I researched more, and I don't think any of the ProPlan formulas contain soy.
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2019
    Sharon7 likes this.
  6. Wendy C

    Wendy C Forums Enthusiast

    May 30, 2019
    Thanks for the insight! Food is still and issue here, Cooper’s stools are still pretty loose so I am assuming there will be a food change coming. He goes on the 24th for his shots so we are holding off until then so we can discuss it with the Vet. I have to be honest and say I have looked at ingredients, % of protein and I have no idea. lol luckily he seems happy and healthy and is on his 16th day with no house accidents.
    ghggp, Ann and KarenCurtis like this.
  7. corbinam

    corbinam Moderator

    Oct 14, 2008
    Sharon I just switched all of my guys (well, not Bentley but he’s on prescription due to IBD) to Farmina Ancestral Grain Lamb and I’ve been really happy.

    The first légume listed is #12 on the ingredient list.

    Ingredients here:
    Lamb, dehydrated lamb, whole spelt, whole oats, dried whole eggs, fresh herring, dehydrated herring, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), herring oil , dried beet pulp, dried carrots, sun-cured alfalfa meal, inulin, fructooligosaccharide, yeast extract, dehydrated blueberry, dehydrated apple, dehydrated pomegranate, dehydrated sweet orange, dehydrated spinach, psyllium seed husk, salt, brewers dried yeast, turmeric, glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, vitamin A supplement, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, ascorbic acid, niacin, calcium pantothenate, riboflavin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate, biotin, folic acid, vitamin B12 supplement, choline chloride, beta-carotene, zinc proteinate, manganese proteinate, ferrous glycine, copper proteinate, selenium yeast, DL-methionine, taurine, L-carnitine, aloe vera gel concentrate, green tea extract, rosemary extract,mixed tocopherols (a preservative).
    Sharon7 and Ann like this.
  8. Sandy in CT

    Sandy in CT Premium Member

    Aug 5, 2018
    No soy in Fromm - thank heavens - took me forever to find a non- grain free food with the proper protein range for Brodie and food sources I felt I could trust.

    Thanks for the post Ann. I don't believe soy is good for women either because I feel it messes with our thyroid and hormonal levels as well but there's a ton of stuff for years now that pushes soy.
    KarenCurtis, Ann and Hanne like this.
  9. Hanne

    Hanne Forums Sage

    Nov 13, 2014
    Ann - Thank you for your post :wink2:

    Sandy - thank you for "No soy in Fromm - thank heavens" :hugs
    KarenCurtis and Ann like this.
  10. k9kreationz

    k9kreationz Forums Celebrity

    Oct 24, 2008
    With all the DCM things going around, I was wondering if soy played any part in it especially since it's in everything (for humans too), so seeing this was interesting (and good separate topic).
    Ann and KarenCurtis like this.

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