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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Yes its grain free... But what do they replace the grain with?
Tapioca (in most cases)... Like with natures variety.

The second and third largest ingredient in most of their variety is tapioca. There isn't any more meat than grained versions of food, they've simply replaced grains with tapioca, basically a filler carbohydrate

Benefits of tapopca:
Allergen free (at least for now), good for dogs with IBS

Cons (compared to grains):
  • Tapioca has no vitamins and an extremely low amount of beneficial minerals (less than 5% of anything per human sized serving)
  • It is 99% pure carbohydrate, no protein, virtually no fiber, nothing. Its completely converted to sugars and then fat if your dog doesn't get enough exercise.

I've made this comparative chart to demonstrate the difference in nutritional value of Solid gold's brown rice and barley, compared to natures variety instinct tapioca.

Keep in mind...
Tapioca = 99.5% carbohydrate
Brown rice & barley ~= 85% carbohydrate
The carbohydrates are all complex and get processed by the liver the same way.
Tapioca also has a much higher gylcemic load which means its bad for over weight dogs (inhibits weight loss), or dogs who do not get a lot of exercise, And will spike blood sugar levels much higher after meals.


Your body creates both inflammatory and anti-inflammatory chemicals, called "prostaglandins" from nutrients in the food that you eat. Imbalances in your diet can lead to the creation of excessive amounts of inflammatory prostaglandins, which fuel your body's inflammatory response. Conversely, the consumption of certain nutrients, like omega-3 fatty acids, allows your body to produce more anti-inflammatory prostaglandins, which it uses to reduce inflammation.
Tapioca is 50% more inflammatory that pearled barley. (that means its bad). Barley is strongly inflammatory at -520 IF rating, tapioca is -700. Oatmeal another prominent grain in Solid Gold products (also very nutritious) has just -200 rating. It is recommended to balance a diet to have a positive IF rating, which is much harder with tapioca. Many health problems can be traced to diets with highly negative IF ratings.

Solid gold Wolf cub and Wold King use bison meats, which have only a -1 IF level, and their second ingredient is herring with a positive 208 IF level (moderately ANTI-inflammatory) (instinct has unnamed fish with unknown IF levels much lower on the ingredient list). Solid gold wolf cub and wolf king are much less inflammatory than non-grained foods that use tapioca.
Instincts chicken forumla is relatively poor at balancing this out, their rabbit and duck versions are on par with solid golds, So again, theres no grain free advantage there.

(and no i don't work for solid gold, its just that after researching many foods, it seems they have the best combination of ingredients, and because its what i feed my dog im using it as for the comparative analysis)

Nutrition data gathered from http://www.nutritiondata.com/




So After this research, I'm left wondering, are there any other reasons why its beneficial to replace grains with tapioca, besides for allergen reasons?

edit:
actually one of the best anti-inflammatory foods i have found is solid gold "barking at the moon" which has herring as a main ingredient, and potatoes (a non-grain starch) with only a -170 IF rating, a VERY low glycemic load, and much better nutrition that tapioca.
.. So this is an example of a good grain free food. Potatoes are a much better ingredient than tapioca... So my final recommendation after the continued research in this thread is to choose a grain-free food with potatoes or a equally nutritious replacement as a source of carbohydrate... The advantage of grain-free with potato and fish is that the food balances as anti-inflammatory.... However this advantage can still be reached with low inflammatory grains like oatmeal.

thus my conclusion remains, tapioca is no replacement for grain unless your dog is allergic to many types of grain.


I am very open to comments and more research. My dogs nutrition is very important to me and any evidence that points toward a healthier diet is very much appreciated!
 

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I had actually never heard of tapioca in dog food until now. But if a dog is allergic to corn or wheat, which are common culprits in dog allergies, switching to tapioca could make all the difference. There's a HUGE reason to switch. And as you've discovered, many (like me) prefer a potato- or sweet potato-based starch. Dogs can be allergic to the proteins, dairy, eggs, soy, oats, and other ingredients. It's all about finding what works for your dog and your budget.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well what got me all started on this was yesterday i was at Dockdogs jumping compeition sponsored by the kennelshop, where i usually buy my dog food.

I went down there and there was a sales rep from natures variety bugging me that i should be feeding my dog grain free food. I told him I fed my dog solid gold wolf cub and he said "that's a good formula, buts its not grain free" I kinda wish I knew more about tapioca when i was there so I could have confronted him about the ingredient to get his take on it.
 

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Yes its grain free... But what do they replace the grain with?
That's why I feed raw... never seen the benefit of feeding dogs grains or tapioca for that matter?!?! They very rarely have an allergy to meat.

A raw diet provides a range of benefits that commercial dog diets can never hope to even closely match.
These benefits include:
1. no doggy odour
2. naturally cleans teeth - no need for toothbrushes, de-scaling jobs, or gum disease
3. the time it takes for a dog to chew a raw meaty bones give their stomach adequate time to get the acids moving
4. much less stools produced - and they are firm, and turn chalky after a couple of days
5. decreased or non-existant vet bills (your dogs are healthier!)
6. less cost for dog food - commercial dog foods are ludicriously expensive
7. mirrors what a dog would be getting in the wild - and certainly even the modern day dog has a digestive tract exactly the same as a wolf
8. puppies develop at a more appropriate rate - and quick growth spurts are avoided. A GOOD breeder will want to stop fast growth in any pup.
the ripping and chewing involved in eating raw meaty bones develops the jaw, neck, and shoulder muscles of the dog. Commercial dog foods will never
assist in this important muscle development.

People who have switched their dogs to a raw diet from commercial dog foods have found dogs who were previously un-energetic, and sluggish become completely new dogs once the raw diet feeding begins;allergies their dogs previously had on commercial foods, disappear once they start with the raw diet; arthritis has significantly reduced or disappeared in some dogs switched to raw; better weight control; their dogs are living longer on a raw diet than what their other dogs previously had survived on commercial dog foods
 

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If there wasn't so much research, planning and work involved and if I had access to a good variety of meat (which I do not), I'd change my dogs to raw.

I don't know of a menu or a daily plan of raw eating for dogs. I have attempted several times to do the work it takes to figure out a plan and it gets so involved with vitamins and other additives and portions, I just get lost and resign myself to kibble with the occasional RMBs...
 

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What is the difference between rice and potatoes? I believe that molecularly they are identical simple carbohydrates and makes no difference to the dog.
If that is the case than why would food companies choose to put it in?

Could it be cost?

Could it be marketing?

Could it just be another fad to be different than the next guy?

If you compare the new fad diets that are out and actually break down the ingredients to what really matters. You will probably find that the bag of food cost as much to produce as other lesser foods but the cost is all rapped up in marketing and the feel good factor.

Another food for thought would be all the fish diets out today. Has anyone heard the news lately about fish in our own diets? If we should limit our intake of fish than why would it be good to feed our dog a steady daily diet of fish?


JMO....
 

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Many grain free diets pretty much replace rice and other grains with potatoes.

My dogs eat "grainy" food, and they look and feel better than they ever did on grainfree. But, every dog is different. :)
 

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EVO is grain free, and doesn't have tapioca. The ingredients of EVO:

Ingredients
Click on an ingredient to learn more.

Turkey
Turkey is the clean combination of flesh and skin with or without accompanying bone, derived from the parts or whole carcasses of turkey or a combination of thereof - exclusive of feathers, heads, feet, and entrails.

Turkey is an excellent source of highly digestible protein. Natura uses high-quality turkey in many of our formulations.

Chicken
Chicken is the clean combination of flesh and skin with or without accompanying bone, derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken - exclusive of feathers, heads, feet, and entrails.

Chicken is an excellent source of protein.

Turkey Meal
Turkey meal is the dry rendered (cooked down) product from a combination of clean flesh and skin with or without accompanying bone derived from the parts of whole carcasses of turkey--exclusive of feathers, heads, feet, or entrails.

Turkey meal is an excellent source of protein in commercial pet foods. This ingredient is very digestible and very palatable. Natura uses this ingredient in combination with fresh chicken, fresh turkey and chicken meal in some of our dog food formulas.

Chicken Meal
Chicken meal is the dry rendered (cooked down) product from a combination of clean flesh and skin with or without accompanying bone, derived from the parts of whole carcasses of chicken -- exclusive of feathers, heads, feet, or entrails.

Natura uses high-quality chicken meal in many of our foods as an excellent source of protein.

Potatoes
Potatoes are whole tubers of the plant.

Natura uses only whole, fresh potatoes. They are not pre-processed, so they retain all of their important nutrients. Potatoes provide B vitamins, carbohydrates, zinc, vitamin C, copper, iron, magnesium, niacin and potassium. Natura uses only fresh, whole fruits and vegetables, just like you would buy at the grocery store.

Herring Meal
Herring meal is the clean, rendered (cooked down), dried ground tissue of undecomposed whole herring or herring cuttings, either or both, with or without the extraction of part of the oil.

Herring meal is a good source of Omega 3 fatty acids. Natura uses the whole herring including the oil from this excellent food fish in our cat and dog food products.

Chicken Fat
Chicken fat is obtained from the tissues of chickens in the commercial process of rendering or extracting.

Chicken fat is the highest of all animal sources in linoleic acid (over 23%), an important element for skin and coat health. Because Natura uses such high-quality chicken, this is a high-quality source of fat.

Natural Flavors
Natural flavors are flavor ingredients that do not contain synthetic or artificial components.

In the Natura products that include "natural flavor" in the formula, the exact composition is proprietary. However, it is always made from high quality all natural ingredients, consistent with Natura's nutritional philosophy.

Egg
Egg is the part or whole of the reproductive body produced by hens.

Eggs are an excellent source of protein, with naturally occurring complex combinations of amino acids. Natura uses only whole eggs in our products.

Apples
A member of the rose family, the apple has a compartmented core and is thus classified as a pome fruit.

Apples are an excellent source of dietary fiber. About 81% of the fiber is soluble; most of it is of a type called pectin. Apples provide both soluble and insoluble fiber, some vitamin C and beta carotene, and potassium and boron. Natura uses this nutritious fruit in its whole form to obtain all of its wholesome nutrients.

Tomatoes
Tomatoes are the edible berry of the tomato plant of the nightshade family.



Potassium Chloride
A chemical compound, KCl, a colorless or white, cubic, crystalline compound that closely resembles common salt (sodium chloride). It is soluble in water, alcohol, and alkalies.

Potassium plays various roles in metabolism and body functions. It assists in the regulation of the acid-base balance and water balance in the blood and the body tissue. It assists in protein synthesis from amino acids and in carbohydrate metabolism.

Carrots
Carrots are the roots of the carrot plant, and a member of the parsley family.

Innova dog and cat foods contain whole fresh carrots.

Vitamins
Vitamins are organic compounds that function as parts of enzyme systems essential for the transmission of energy and the regulation of metabolisms of the body.

AAFCO regulates minimum standard quantities of vitamins in levels that pets need to survive. All pet food manufacturers supplement their products with vitamins. Beyond meeting these minimum requirements, all Natura products contain a complete vitamin and mineral supplement program that helps pets to thrive, not just survive. Included in our foods are some of the following vitamins and minerals: Ascorbic Acid, Beta Carotene, Biotin, Calcium Carbonate, Calcium Iodate, Choline Chloride, Cobalt Carbonate, Cobalt Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Dicalcium Pantothenate, dl-Methionine, Folic Acid, Iron Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Niacin, Potassium Chloride, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin C Supplement (Sodium Ascorbate), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement (Alpha Tocopherol), Zinc Proteinate Natura adds these important vitamins and minerals, in proper balance to its foods to ensure that your pet gets all the necessary nutrients for life and good health every day.

Garlic
Garlic is the whole clove of the garlic plant.

Garlic is valued for its enjoyable flavor.

Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is the result of separating milk or cream into curds and whey. The curds are drained and pressed to form the soft, white, spoonable cheese.

Cottage cheese is an excellent source of calcium, phosphorus, protein and vitamins. Natura uses high-quality cottage cheese, straight from its retail container. The cottage cheese has only trace amounts of lactose and because of its limited inclusion in the formula, the ultimate amount of lactose in the finished product is insignificant and would not be in sufficient supply to cause an intolerance problem.

Minerals
Minerals are inorganic substances essential for a host of vital processes within the body.

AAFCO regulates minimum standard quantities of minerals in levels that pets need to survive. All pet food manufacturers supplement their products with minerals. Beyond meeting these minimum requirements, all Natura products contain a complete vitamin and mineral supplement program that helps pets to thrive, not just survive. The minerals Natura uses are chelated, providing three to ten times greater assimilation than common minerals. Included in our foods are some of the following vitamins and minerals: Ascorbic Acid, Beta Carotene, Biotin, Calcium Carbonate, Calcium Iodate, Choline Chloride, Cobalt Carbonate, Cobalt Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Dicalcium Pantothenate, dl-Methionine, Folic Acid, Iron Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Niacin, Potassium Chloride, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin C Supplement (Sodium Ascorbate), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement (Alpha Tocopherol), Zinc Proteinate Natura adds these important vitamins and minerals, in proper balance to its foods to ensure that your pet gets all the necessary nutrients for life and good health every day.

Alfalfa Sprouts
Alfalfa sprouts are a member of the legume family.

Alfalfa sprouts are an excellent source of key nutrients, including vitamin C, iron, magnesium and manganese. Natura uses fresh, high-quality alfalfa sprouts to add these important nutrients to our foods.

Ascorbic Acid
Ascorbic acid is a white, crystalline, water-soluble vitamin, occurring naturally in citrus fruits, green vegetables, etc.

Ascorbic acid is a form of vitamin C, which is an antioxidant good for normal metabolism. Natura also uses the sodium ascorbate form of vitamin C for a preservative.

Dried Chicory Root
Dried Chicory Root is the dried, non-roasted root Cichorium intybus L., used as a source of inulin, as soluble, fermentable fiber. It shall contain no less than 50% inulin and no more than 13% moisture. Chicory Root is a thick-rooted blue-flowered European perennial composite herb widely grown for its roots and as a salad plant.

Commonly known as a soluble fiber, the inulin derived from the Chicory Root is a fructooligosaccharide added to help maintain digestive tract health and function.

Direct-Fed Microbials
This is the regulatory term given to microorganism cultures added to food.

Direct-fed microbials are living microbes that can be found in a healthy digestive tract. As cooking would kill these microbes, Natura adds them to the outside of the kibble after the dry food has been gently cooked. Since the entire contents of our canned foods must be cooked as part of the canning process, we are unable to add viable microorganisms to our canned products.

Vitamin E Supplement
Lecithin
Lecithin is a specific phospholipid and the principal constituent of crude phosphatides derived from oil-bearing seeds.

Lecithin is a good source of choline, essential for normal fatty acid transport within cells. It is obtained chiefly from soybeans, corn and egg yolk.

Rosemary Extract
Rosemary is an evergreen shrub of Rosemarinus Officinalis.
 

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EVO Red Meat formula:

Beef
Beef is the clean flesh derived from slaughtered cows and is limited to that part of the striate muscle which is skeletal or that which is found in the tongue, in the diaphragm, in the heart, or in the esophagus; with or without the accompanying and overlying fat and the portions of the skin, sinew, nerve, and blood vessels which normally accompany the flesh.

Natura uses only high-quality beef, not beef by-products found in some other products.

Lamb Meal
Lamb meal is the dry rendered (cooked down) product from lamb tissues, exclusive of any added blood, hair, hoof, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents except in such amounts as may occur unavoidably in good processing practices.

Potatoes

Egg

Sunflower Oil
Sunflower oil is obtained by extracting oil from sunflower seeds.

Natura uses sunflower oil to provide the essential fatty acid, linoleic acid, which is important for good skin and coat health.

Buffalo
The American Bison is known to most Americans as simply "Buffalo." The American Buffalo is a massive animal that weighs from 800 to 2,000 pounds and stands nearly six feet high at the shoulder. A large head, high hump on the shoulders and dark brown shaggy hair characterize the buffalo. Bison are part of the family Bovidae, to which cattle and goats belong.

Buffalo meat is more in demand as increasingly health-conscious people are seeking a lean red meat.

Lamb
Lamb consists of lamb striated muscle tissue.

Natura uses only high-quality lamb meat, not the lamb by-products found in some other products.

Venison
Venison is a very lean, low fat source of protein. It is very digestible and highly palatable, with a very distinctive flavor.

Natura uses this expensive meat as an alternative to chicken or lamb.

Beef Cartilage
Beef Cartilage
This is the cartilage of beef.

Chondroitin was first extracted and purified in the 1960s. It is currently manufactured from natural sources such as beef cartilage or by synthetic means.

Herring Oil
Herring oil is the oil extracted from whole herring.

Herring oil provides a rich source of Omega 3 fatty acids. Because the herring that Natura uses is of such high quality, the herring oil helps produce healthy skin and lustrous coats.

Natural Flavors

Apples

Carrots

Tomatoes

Alfalfa Sprouts

Garlic

Cottage Cheese

Potassium Chloride

Vitamins/Minerals

Ascorbic Acid

Dried Chicory Root

Direct-Fed Microbials

Vitamin E Supplement

Lecithin

Rosemary Extract
 

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That's a lot of research! Very interesting.

My pup's on Solid Gold Barking at the Moon. He has allergies and scratches like crazy. (In fact we were at the vet again today for a really bad rash :( )

I tried many grain free, chicken-free products incl Orijen, GO!, Instinct (Rabbit) which he wouldn't eat!!!, and finally Barking at the Moon which he loves. He loves fish more than anythign else, lol.

Aftr all that, we've come to the conclusion his allergies probably aren't food related anyway!!! But I still like the sound of grain free/high protein.

Nevertheless I'm so wary of ALL commercial dog food, you just don't know what to believe any more. I supplement with homemade food too ... but!! ... who knows what goes in a lot of human food these days also! ........ I just try to do what feels the best and hope for the best ................. (??!)
 

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Well, my foster has alot of allergies. She is allergic to chicken as well. :rolleyes: We have her on Instinct venison with rabbit moist food mixed in with her breakfast. Her skin looks so good without any flare ups. I'm pretty happy with it.
 

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Is the tapioca part of a new formula for Nature's Variety Instinct? I really thought the used potatoes in the formula for the carb source. Even so, I do think it it pretty rare to see tapioca in dog food. Most grainless foods are made with potatoes or sweet potatoes. The last dog food my dogs were on before RAW was TOTW. And I know they use potatoes.
 

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Another interesting tidbit is that often a meat that a dog is allergic to when it's part of a kibble formulation, the dog is not allergic to it when fed the actual meat as part of a raw diet. I wonder why that is?
 

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Another interesting tidbit is that often a meat that a dog is allergic to when it's part of a kibble formulation, the dog is not allergic to it when fed the actual meat as part of a raw diet. I wonder why that is?
Maybe the same reason many humans who are lactose intolerant can drink raw milk (unpasteurized/non-homogenized...basically, straight from the cow) with no problems. Foods in their natural, unprocessed, whole state are superior (usually) to anything that's been cooked, processed, mixed, supplemented, preserved, etc....

Dogs bodies were designed to eat raw meat and bones.
 

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Great thread, Boon. I just started reading 'Dr. Pitcairn's complete guide To Natural Health for Dogs & Cats". And find all this very interesting!
 

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So I guess we're good with Orijen 6 Fish, Akira does not do well on chicken and grains so it's pretty much the only thing he can eat and feel good on it.

I'd like to feed raw but the cost of meat combined with the size of my mini-fridge makes it impossible right now.
 

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It seems to me that grain free kibble is still a mixture of rendered animal products, filler, additives and preservatives that is extruded out of a machine. Sure, it may keep your animal alive and healthy to some degree, but imagine if you were only given nutrition bars to eat, you might not die right away, but you probably would develop some sort of heath probelms eventually. Why do we put our dogs through that exact scenario?
Feeding raw is really the best thing you can do for your pet. It is easy and inexpensive. There are a few simple, common sense guidelines to follow, and anyone really can do it. I feed my dog raw food excusively, she is amazingly healthy and energetic, I spend less money than I would if I bought kibble, it was easy to learn all about raw feeding, I just can't understand why every pet owner doesn't feed raw.
 

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It seems to me that grain free kibble is still a mixture of rendered animal products, filler, additives and preservatives that is extruded out of a machine. Sure, it may keep your animal alive and healthy to some degree, but imagine if you were only given nutrition bars to eat, you might not die right away, but you probably would develop some sort of heath problems eventually. Why do we put our dogs through that exact scenario?
Feeding raw is really the best thing you can do for your pet. It is easy and inexpensive. There are a few simple, common sense guidelines to follow, and anyone really can do it. I feed my dog raw food excusively, she is amazingly healthy and energetic, I spend less money than I would if I bought kibble, it was easy to learn all about raw feeding, I just can't understand why every pet owner doesn't feed raw.

I'm glad it works for you...but to ME(a beginner) its not simple (or less simple then putting kibble in a bowl)..it is time consuming....and at this time a little more complicated then I can handle....yes at some point I would love to go raw....but its just not for my family at this time....I just can't understand why some raw feeders don't get it :rolleyes:
 

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Another interesting tidbit is that often a meat that a dog is allergic to when it's part of a kibble formulation, the dog is not allergic to it when fed the actual meat as part of a raw diet. I wonder why that is?
It's because raw digests at a slower rate than kibble does. When kibble is eaten, it begins getting digested almost immediately which flood the body with whatever the dog is allergic to. With the raw food digesting slower, it spreads the breakdown of whatever protein over a longer period of time so the dog is less likely to have an allergic reaction.

My dog is allergic to chicken in kibble and treat form, but I accidentally fed her a little patty of raw chicken meat at my store the other day as a treat and she was just fine.
 
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