Jul 21, 2010

BEWARE: The Phony Baloney in Pet Food Company Marketing Strategies

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HealthyLife.Net Radio Show
Wendy’s Animal Talk, Host Wendy Nan Rees

Holistic Misconceptions
Guest Russell Louie
July 20, 2010, 1-2:00 PM PDT

Russell, has studied holistic health for over 30 years and lived a holistic lifestyle for over 58 years. He specializes in integrating his scientific background with his knowledge of health, to holistically help both people and pets. His greatest talent is being able to cut through all the marketing hype, using his scientific background, to tell people what is truly holistic. Today, our topic is “Holistic Misconceptions.”

Russell, the title of today’s show seems self explanatory. Give us your first holistic misconception?
Almost everyone believes dry kibble cleans pet’s teeth, right? This is simply a marketing ploy perpetrated by the pet food companies trying to sell their “dental” formula pet food. One holistic vet told us, “Dry kibble will no more clean our pets’ teeth than pretzels will clean human’s teeth.” Think about it, how will compressed starches (which are not native to a carnivore’s diet) with a little bit of added ground up meat clean teeth? This no where near approximates the fresh bones of killed prey that Nature meant to be cleaning carnivore’s teeth. It is only by adding mint flavoring or a little bit of chlorophyll to dry kibble that the manufacturers can claim they now have a dental formula food. This is a total holistic misconception.

I can see that now. Give our listeners another misconception.
Many manufacturers claim their pet foods are rich in Omega oils and very beneficial for our pets. While they do contain Omega oils from flaxseed or flaxseed oil, this is not the best source of essential fatty acids for our pets. Think about it biologically. Flax is a plant and so our pets will not have all the enzymes necessary to digest nutrients from this plant source because they are carnivores. A better source of Omega oils would be a food native to a carnivore’s diet, such as salmon or algae. A carnivore’s body would have all the enzymes need to fully utilize fish and algae-sourced oils. The reason why manufacturers use flax is because it is cheaper than fish oils, not because it is more beneficial.

So, again we see pet food manufacturers making assumptions without sound scientific evidence?That is exactly right. There are studies showing the benefits of getting essential fatty acids from flaxseed for humans but where are the studies for our carnivorous pets? Now, flaxseed will provide some essential fatty acid benefits for our pets but I believe any scientific study will show far superior benefits of using fish oils or algae for carnivores versus any vegetable source, such as flaxseed. This is one way you listeners can tell if they are purchasing a premium quality pet food. The lesser quality brands will use flaxseed for their source of essential fatty acids because it is cheaper and they have not done their homework. But the better quality brands will use fish, which is a more natural source for carnivores.

Let us keep rolling with another holistic misconception?Here is another one related to Omega oils but for a totally different reason. I have heard many vets and doctors warn their clients not to give or take themselves any supplements with Omega oils prior to surgery because they fear it could cause excessive bleeding.

Wow, that really sounds dangerous.Yes, but here is the catch. Scientific reports prove this is totally false but doctors keep perpetrating this myth. It all started when one source observed excessively long bleeding times and increased incidence of hemorrhagic strokes in Eskimos and also noted they ate a diet high in Omega oils in the range of 6.5 grams per day (Linus Pauling Institute). Omega oils have well-known triglyceride-lowering properties and were shown to inhibit platelet function in allopathic studies when given in high therapeutic doses. But according to a recent research article, “Safety considerations with omega-3 fatty acid therapy” by Dr. W.S. Harris (American Journal of Cardiology. 2007 Mar 19;99(6A):35C-43C), “...evidence for clinically significant bleeding reveals that such concerns are unfounded. As such, the benefits of triglyceride lowering with omega-3 fatty acids more than outweigh any theoretical risks for increased bleeding.”

So, there is no scientific evidence for this misconception?That is correct. Furthermore, when doctors apply this medical myth to whole food products they are compounding the misconception.

How is that?A whole food product of algae contains a broad base of over 5,000 individual nutrients but none are in high therapeutic amounts like supplements. For example, one capsule of Bio-Algae Concentrates has approximately 0.0025 mg of Omega 3 fatty acids per capsule. Even if one were to give six capsules per day to a very large size dog, this would only amount to only 0.015 mg of Omega oil. This is approximately 430,000 times less than the hypothesized 6.5 grams that supposedly causes excessive bleeding in Eskimos. So, aAny attempt to extrapolate side effects of Omega 3 oils from such a small amount, simply is not scientifically valid.

So, people and doctors really need to research statements before repeating them?That is correct. Instead of lumping all effects for products containing Omega oils into one broad conclusion, one needs to differentiate between Omega oils in drugs, supplements and whole food products. Then one needs to ask what science is behind their conclusion.

OK, let us go over another holistic misconception.Another misconception I have heard is that one should not give algae supplements to a pet that already has an auto-immune disease.

Why is that?Well, it is because most of the time when an algae product is given, the sick animal’s immune system gets a boost and they get better. So, people naturally use the same Cause & Effect principle to say it was the algae that boosted the immune system to make the animal get well.

Why did the pet get well then?Certain algae products have over 5,000 individual nutrients. With this abundance of nutrients, the body simply balanced all the glands and organs and therefore a poorly functioning immune system got a boost up to normal. What people do not realize is that if the immune system were hyperactive, the body would use the nutrition from the algae to decrease the immune system’s functionality back to normal.

So their assumption that algae only boost the immune system is false?
Yes, people based their assumption on the 90% of the time the body’s immune system got boosted up but never see the other 10 % of the time when the body depressed the immune system in order to normalize the body. They assume the 90% result, when the immune system was boosted up, is the standard.

Do you have any more holistic misconceptions?One of the biggest misconceptions, in my humble opinion, is that soy is a health food. Soy is used in just about everything these days, including pet food.

I thought soy was a healthy food.
Soy was originally consumed by the Oriental cultures as a condiment and fermented food, such as tempeh, miso and soy sauce. Somehow, the ancient Chinese knew that soybeans contain many toxins and thus avoiding eating it until they learned to neutralize those toxins through fermentation. Without this fermentation process there are many side effects to soy.

Give my listeners some of these side effects of soy.
  1. High levels of phytic acid in soy reduce assimilation of calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc. High phytate diets have caused growth problems in children.
  2. Trypsin inhibitors in soy interfere with protein digestion and may cause pancreatic disorders. In test animals soy containing trypsin inhibitors caused stunted growth.
  3. Soy phytoestrogens disrupt endocrine function and have the potential to cause infertility and to promote breast cancer in adult women.
  4. Soy phytoestrogens are potent anti-thyroid agents that cause hypothyroidism and may cause thyroid cancer. In infants, consumption of soy formula has been linked to autoimmune thyroid disease.

And the list goes on. More information on soy can be found in our Internet article: Why is Soy Bad?
So, could using soy in pet food cause so many pets to have thyroid problems?I do not know of any long term scientific studies to date that prove that but that is my suspicion. If you look at the introduction of soy into our people food diet and at the same time, the correlated increase in thyroid imbalances in our society, it makes one wonder.

Is that the only problem with soy?No it is not. When the thyroid becomes imbalanced, so do the adrenal glands. These two glands are intimately related and have a profound impact on the immune system. So, if the immune system is imbalanced, this opens the door to a host of other problems such as allergies, auto-immune disorders such as SLO and IMHA, lipomas, obesity, IBD and even chronic sinus and ear infections.

Wow, that sure encompasses a lot?
That is why we use a holistic approach in our practice and do not just supplement the symptoms with isolated supplements. Giving Product A to our pet for arthritis, Product D for digestive problems and Product K for kidney disease is just treating the symptoms. In each of these examples, I would also look at the endocrine and immune systems in addition to the symptomatic organ, to see what I could do holistically to balance the WHOLE body.

You seem to have wealth of pet knowledge. How can we access more of your 58 years of holistic wisdom?One way is to go to our website, http://www.optimumchoices.com/ and sign up for our free monthly e-newsletters. We have written articles on such topics as, Is glucosamine the answer for arthritis? Healthy water for you and your pets and Whole Food Products vs. Supplements. All past articles are archived online and one can search for a specific topic. If your listeners will check the box at the bottom of the subscription form, we’ll send subscribers a free report entitled What Pet Food Companies Don’t Want You to Know. This report contains 11-points some of which we covered today.

What other holistic resources do you have that would be of interest my listeners?
We have written a series of Holistic Choices e-Books. Readers can take advantage of the latest holistic research we find and absorb the information in a small chunk rather than a 100+ page book. The first three titles that have been published are:
  • Save Your Dog or Cat
  • Secrets of Longevity (for people)
  • How to become a canine massage provider
How can me and my listeners get a copy?Go to our website http://www.optimumchoices.com/ and click on the e-Books button in the left column on our home page. As a special offer, I will give your listeners a free e-Book with any purchase of BioPreparation for pets or BioSuperfood for people. Just have them enter in the Special Instructions box of our shopping cart, “Wendy sent me” and ask for their free Save Your Dog or Cat e-Book or mention it in their telephone order.

Thank you for sharing your holistic wisdom with my listeners today.
For more information on Optimum Choices and holistic options for your pet, go to Russell’s website at
www.optimumchoices.com. You can e-mail them at info@OptimumChoices.com or call toll-free 866-305-2306.
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Wendy Nan Rees uses her 25 years of expertise to answer pet health questions and offer expert advice for pet lovers.

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