What's 𝑹𝒆𝒂𝒍𝒍𝒚 In The Bag: Purina ProPlan Sport Ingredient #4
Updated: May 26
The drive of this deep-dive series is to be able to empower you with the information you need the be the best possible health advocate for your dog! So, welcome to the 4th ingredient animal fat.
More specifically... "Animal Fat Preserved with Mixed-Tocopherols (Form of Vitamin E)".
That's quite a mouthful of an ingredient!
The sourcing of fat plays a huge role in determining the quality of food. When a company uses "animal fat" it allows them to not be specific about what particular animal fat is added. You want to see what specific type of fat is added. Usually, the vaguer the fat is called, the worse of a quality it is.
If "beef fat" or "chicken fat" was labeled, then you would know that the fat is specifically from beef or chicken. Fat is also commonly sprayed onto kibble for palatability.
Generic animal fats can be sourced from quality sources but more often than not...
"animal fat" will be sourced from:
Expired grocery meats
Dead zoo animals
AAFCO defines animal fat as "obtained from the tissues of mammals, and/or poultry in the commercial process of rendering".
This means that the generic fat used is extracted from the same intense heat and processing as a meat meal. The high temperatures and pressure only add to the oxidation and rancidity of the fat.
Rancid fats have been studies ever since the 1800s. Scientists are constantly looking for ways to attempt to slow oxidation. A common way to do this is the use of artificial antioxidants.
Lipid (fat) oxidation happens through a chain reaction. Fats are several carbon atoms liked together. Initiation is the event that begins the chain reaction by removing an electron from a carbon in the fat. Exposure to oxygen increases the rancidity, aka being stored in air-penetrable bags for months and months.
Rancid fats cause toxic consequences such as...
Oxidized fats lead to depletion of vitamins & minerals which can lead to deficiencies over time
Fat is essential in any diet. And any fat can go rancid given the right environment and time. This doesn't mean you should stop feeding fat. It just means to be smarter about the quality of fat and storage.
But the generic, low-quality fat added into Purina Pro Plan, not only adds onto the inflammation added by sugars, starches, and carbohydrates but also oxidizes and goes rancid before it even hits the shelves. And sitting on store shelves several months or even years only adds to the toxicity of the fat.
Mixed-Tocopherols are a preservative to prevent the oxidation of fats. Specifically, low-quality fats... like "animal fat".
Like I mentioned above, humans have been searching for a way to prevent spoilage for ages but the question is... how effective are these tactics?
Mixed tocopherols are classified as vitamin E but are an isolate of vegetable oil. The most effective tocopherols are gamma tocopherols from cereal grains and oils.
While tocopherols are a more "natural" than artificial antioxidants... According to the Canadian Veterinary Association, "are by-products of the soybean industry".
Soy is a known endocrine disruptor which means soy is "unique in that it contains a high concentration of isoflavones, a type of plant estrogen (phytoestrogen) that is similar in function to human estrogen but with much weaker effects. Soy isoflavones can bind to estrogen receptors in the body and cause either weak estrogenic or anti-estrogenic activity".
While soy has been linked to several health benefits such as the lowered risk of osteoporosis, heart disease, breast cancer, and menopausal symptoms... it also can have adverse health effects on hormones.
Personally, I believe there are better choices for preservatives/antioxidants to slow the oxidation process such as natural citric acids such as blueberries, cranberries, and apples are the safest but the more natural the preservative the shorter the shelf life of the food and faster it will oxidize.
The 4th ingredient in these foods adds calories and therefore why this food is highly recommended for hard keepers in the pet world. although this food may help dogs gain weight quickly, it is depriving them of real nutrients and rotting their bodies. Quality fats are an upmost necessity in any living being's life but when it comes to rancid, very questionable quality fats mixed with a preservative to stabilize it... I'll pass.
As always, thank you so much for stopping by and Always Keep Exploring!