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What's REALLY In The Bag: Purina ProPlan Sport Ingredient #2 Corn Gluten Meal

Updated: 4 days ago

Welcome back to the next ingredient in What's REALLY In The Bag?! 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. Now, let's get into the #2 ingredient...

The next on the ingredient panel is Corn Gluten Meal.

Plant Protein

Plant protein comes from human food waste. Corn gluten is the dried residue of corn after the separation of bran (not using whole grain corn). Corn is high in sugar and bad for allergies. Corn is added to boost protein content because there's not enough animal protein in the food to be sufficient. When there is corn gluten meal on the label it indicates that the food is low quality and lacks balance in the amino acids. It also indicates that the food does not provide essential amino acids. While synthetic amino acids metabolized quicker than a whole food source, the whole-body homeostasis is better supported by the whole food amino acids.

Along with low biological nutrients, plant proteins also increase the glycemic load. This spikes insulin levels leading to health problems such as obesity.

52.7% of dogs are obese and 57.7% of cats are obese. Because fats have more calories per gram, it was assumed that fat was the cause of obesity… when sugars and carbs are the real culprits of obesity.

Carbs are a long chain of glucose. These chains break down into glucose for the body’s use. Insulin, a hormone, releases to move glucose into the cells and store excess glucose as fat. A dog is trying to lose weight but her insulin levels are continually spiked (from diet), no matter how many calories she’ll have a VERY difficult time losing weight. The only foods that quickly elevate insulin are carbs and sugar. The ability for food to raise insulin is called the glycemic index. The G.I is how much food affects the blood glucose level. It should be noted that a small amount of low glycemic vegetation can be beneficial. But once insulin releases it affects fat deposit and storage.

Did you know: Cats manufacture glucose constantly and take longer to clear glucose than dogs. NRC authors state that cats may not be able to digest carbs (DUH!). Cats are more likely to cause type 2 diabetes since it’s linked to obesity and high glycemic foods

GMOs and Glyphosates

Corn and soy are GMO foods the most common and damage microbiome. Even though GMOs have benefited our agriculture and economy, there are still many unknown dangers such as glyphosate.

Glyphosate is the world's #1 used herbicide. It quickens ripening time in plants and prevents bug/weeds. Glyphosate is most commonly used on crops such as corn, soy, wheat, and rice. In 2017, the World Health Organization announced that glyphosate was "probably carcinogenic". Studies also have been conducted showing the negative effects of glyphosate on the microbiome, changing long-term changes to the microbiome. Glyphosates inhibit the growth of beneficial bacteria causing dysbiosis. Glyphosate has also been linked to gluten intolerance, synthesis of amino acids, and building resistance in pathogenic bacteria. Glyphosates have also been linked to chronic toxicity, cancer, skin irritations, toxicity in reproduction, liver/kidney damage and disease, respiratory problems and more.

GMOs and glyphosates also disrupt the mind-gut-immune connection.

[To learn more about the mind-gut-immune click here]

The University of Washington conducted a study that showed that exposure to glyphosate increases the risk of cancer by 40%. Since glyphosate disrupts the microbiome, it also greatly increases the likely hood of dysbiosis.

*Dysbiosis: disturbance of microbiome due to the overcrowding of harmful/pathogenic bacteria

In a recent study done by the University of Caen, rat's feces were analyzed to determine their microbiome health. The three concentrations of Roundup used was: 0.1 ppb, 400 ppm, and 5,000 ppm. There was a rise in the Bacteroidetes family S24-7, while the Lactobacillus bacteria family decreased in population. When pathogenic bacteria overcrowd, it allows for chronic illness to set in. Illnesses such as dysbiosis, including inflammatory bowel disease and colorectal cancer. Even less commonly associated gut diseases such as diabetes, asthma, cardiovascular disease, liver disease, obesity, and autism.


Zein is an industrialized protein from corn. Zein is an isolate and is not for human consumption due to its negative nitrogen balance and low solubility in water. So, this indigestible, low-quality ingredient is tossed into thousands of bags of pet food. Did you know that zein is used in "fiber, adhesive, coating, ceramic, ink, cosmetic, textile, chewing gum, and biodegradable plastics"?

This industrialized product is added into pet foods to hold the "food" together, boost protein, and as a filler to keep costs down.

Scientists have looked at this protein source and determined the bioavailability by multiple methods such as protein-corrected amino acid scores (PDCAAS), relative protein efficiency ratio (RRER), and relative net protein ration (RNPR). - Ryan Yamka

As you can see, zein scored 1s and 0s. This means they are UNDIGESTABLE!

When an ingredient is undigestable that means the animal consuming it gains no nutritional benefits. Zein is added purely as a filler and to meet protein requirements. Since chicken (by water weight) is the #1 ingredient that falls to the 7th after processing, corn gluten is really the #1 ingredient. Not only is this ingredient the real first ingredient but it's indigestible, gives no nutritional benefit, and causes inflammation and allergies.

That wraps up the second ingredient in Purina ProPlan Sport. As always, I hope you enjoyed and Always Keep Exploring!