Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Wide variation in calorie content among 'low calorie' pet foods

Date:
January 28, 2010
Source:
Tufts University, Health Sciences
Summary:
Dog and cat owners buying weight-control diets for their overweight pets are faced with a confusing two-fold variation in calorie density, recommended intake, and wide range cost of low-calorie pet foods, according to a study.

A new study finds that dog and cat owners buying weight-control diets for their overweight pets are faced with a confusing two-fold variation in calorie density, recommended intake, and wide range cost of low-calorie pet foods.
Credit: iStockphoto/Joshua Blake

Dog and cat owners buying weight-control diets for their overweight pets are faced with a confusing two-fold variation in calorie density, recommended intake, and wide range cost of low-calorie pet foods, according to a study by the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University.

The study, published this month in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, examined nearly 100 commercially available diets with weight management claims. Among their findings is that dry dog foods range in calorie density from 217 to 440 kilocalories per cup (kcal/cup) and a recommended intake that ranged from 0.73 to 1.47 times the dog's resting energy requirement. The diets also varied wildly in price -- from 4 cents to more than $1.10 per kilocalorie.

Similar findings were made in wet dog food (189-398 kcal/can) and cat food (235-480 kcal/cup) marketed for weight control. The results may be significant for owners whose cats or dogs are overweight or obese, according to Lisa M. Freeman, DVM, PhD, DACVN, the study's co-author along with 2010 Cummings School graduate Deborah E. Linder, DVM. Nearly 50% of domesticated animals are overweight or obese.

"There is so much information -- and misinformation -- about pet foods, it's understandable that people are confused about what to feed their dogs and cats," said co-author Dr. Lisa Freeman, professor of nutrition at Tufts University's Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. "To counteract these myths, people are accustomed to turning to the labels on food -- but, as this study shows, packaging might not always be a reliable source of information."

Under federal guidelines, pet foods labeled "lite," "light," "low calorie," "less calorie," or "low calorie" must provide the caloric content. Foods with a light, lite, or low-calorie designation must also adhere to a maximum kilocalorie per kilogram restriction. However, Freeman points out that more than half of the foods evaluated in the study exceeded this maximum. Foods without these designations currently are allowed, but not required, to provide the caloric content on the label. Efforts are currently underway to make this information required on all pet food labels.

Another important issue identified in this study was the high variability in feeding recommendations for weight loss based on the labels that were evaluated. In fact, for most of the diets, pets would not lose weight or would actually gain weight if owners adhered to the labels' feeding directions and did not adjust according to their pet's individual calorie requirements.

Obesity in companion animals is associated with numerous diseases, including pancreatitis, osteoarthritis, dermatologic disease, diabetes, and respiratory tract diseases -- and may contribute to a shorter lifespan, according to earlier published studies.

Calorie density was gathered from the product packaging and by contacting manufacturers. Linder and Freeman studied 44 canine and 49 feline diets.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Tufts University, Health Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Deborah E. Linder, Lisa M. Freeman. Evaluation of calorie density and feeding directions for commercially available diets designed for weight loss in dogs and cats. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 2010; 236 (1): 74 DOI: 10.2460/javma.236.1.74

Cite This Page:

Tufts University, Health Sciences. "Wide variation in calorie content among 'low calorie' pet foods." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 January 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100126153427.htm>.
Tufts University, Health Sciences. (2010, January 28). Wide variation in calorie content among 'low calorie' pet foods. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100126153427.htm
Tufts University, Health Sciences. "Wide variation in calorie content among 'low calorie' pet foods." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100126153427.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

AP (Sep. 20, 2014) The San Diego Zoo has welcomed two Cheetah cubs to its Safari Park. The nearly three-week-old female cubs are being hand fed and are receiving around the clock care. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Considered a "national heritage" in Belgium, chocolate now has a new museum in Brussels. In a former chocolate factory, visitors to the permanent exhibition spaces, workshops and tastings can discover derivatives of the cocoa bean. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins