Issue 2 KEY POINTS: • Corn provides a source of high quality proteins, carbohydrates, and essential fatty acids in the diet of dogs and cats. • Corn gluten meal is a more digestible ingredient than fresh beef or fresh poultry. • Corn has important antioxidant qualities.

Corn is a High-Quality, Nutritious Pet Food Ingredient
One myth surrounding commercial pet foods concerns the digestibility and nutritional value of corn. A common misconception regarding corn is that it is a low-quality food ingredient, or filler, which contains minimal nutritional value. This Nutrition Brief will address the topic of corn as a valuable ingredient of pet food and show why this diverse grain is an excellent source of protein, carbohydrates, and essential fatty acids.

properly processed. Corn is a good example. Utilizing a wet milling process, the corn kernel is separated into starch, fiber and protein components. The protein component becomes corn gluten meal, a source of highly digestible protein for dogs and cats.

Also a High-Quality Carbohydrate Source
Dietary carbohydrates play an important role in pet foods because they provide an energy source for the animal, thus allowing the proteins in the diet to be used to meet the animal’s amino acid requirements rather than its energy needs. Corn is a very useful ingredient in pet food because it is a high-quality source of carbohydrates as well as protein. Corn meal, a major source of carbohydrate in pet food, contains approximately 75% carbohydrates.

High-Quality Protein Source
Cells of the body utilize amino acids from multiple sources: • Food proteins • Single amino acids added to food • Amino acids synthesized in the body Cells cannot distinguish whether amino acids from food proteins are provided by plants or animals. At Purina we complement highly digestible animal protein with a natural plant protein source like corn, to deliver all of the essential amino acids that pets need. Plant protein sources can provide highly digestible, high quality dietary protein for dogs and cats if they are
70 % 60 % 50 % 40 % 30 % 20 % 10 % 0


2.5% FAT



4.3% FAT 10.0% PROTEIN




1998: grades 1 and 2 are traditionally utilized for human food products. 1999: pp. 8. Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry. X. I. Oklahoma State University.NUTRITION BRIEF Issue 2 Highly Digestible Appropriate nutrient levels are very important in a balanced diet. There are five grades of corn quality according to the USDA. 5 (Some dogs reacted to more than one ingredient. In fact. 8 Nestlé Purina only selects grades 1 or 2 corn for all of its pet foods. Vol 38 No 3.. and corn oil is a major source of vitamin E. 141. through Fri. Elmadfa. Dec. a diet containing corn oil was found to reduce DNA damage more effectively than a diet containing an olive/sunflower oil combination. 4. p.G.cgi Questions? Call us at 1-800-222-VETS (8387). Vitamin E is a major fat-soluble antioxidant. Edmonton. 286-92. CT. Of equal importance is the digestibility of the nutrients.m.4% 67. 2. “Processed Sweet Corn Has Higher Antioxidant Activity”. pp. No. “Impact of Diets with Corn Oil or Olive/Sunflower Oils on DNA Damage in Healthy Young Men”. 10 % BEEF WHEAT 0 COW’S MILK SOYBEAN CHICKEN MEAT CHICKEN EGGS FREQUENCY OF SPECIFIC FOOD INGREDIENTS CAUSING PRURITIS IN FOOD-ALLERGIC DOGS5 1.) 70 % 60 % 50 % 40 % 30 % 20 % 15% 14% CORN 30% 30% 25% 25% 70% High-Quality Corn The quality of corn in pet foods can vary greatly. Dec. et al. R. 6 It is commonly thought that processed ingredients have a lower nutritional value than fresh ingredients. Austria. J. to 4:30 p. No.. Small Animal Clinical Nutrition. 8:00 a. Vevey. E.. Jeffers. V. 2002. an essential fatty acid required by both dogs and cats for healthy skin and hair. Antioxidant Activity Antioxidants in the diet help to reduce cell damage in animals and people. 4 DIGESTIBILITY OF KEY INGREDIENTS (DRY MATTER) Corn Gluten Meal Beef Meat and Bone Meal Poultry By-Product Meal Fresh Beef Fresh Poultry 87. VET 1255A-0107 Trademarks owned by Société des Produits Nestlé S.. Park. Vol 128. 1994.S. Switzerland Printed in U. OR visit our website at purinavets. Wu. H. European Journal of Nutrition.5% 75. 7 Antigenicity of Corn Another common misconception regarding the use of corn in pet food is that corn is highly antigenic and will cause food allergies.A. Stillwater Murray. 5. username: purinavets. 5. Journal of Nutrition. a study conducted by Cornell University found that cooking corn at 150 degrees Celsius for 50 minutes actually increased its antioxidant levels by as much as 53%. Vol 50 No 17. password: nutrition. University of Alberta. and corn had the lowest percentage of frequency cited. University of Vienna.3% 77. 2812S-2815S. 4th ed. 3. “Results of Dietary Provocation in Dogs with Food Hypersensitivity”. 6. 3. Dewanto. 3. 4959-4964. Mon. Vol. However.3% 76.3% Essential Fatty Acids Corn is the only grain commonly used in pet food that contains linoleic acid.rahul. Feed Commodity Bulletin. 7. Liu. USDA Nutrient Webpage: http://www. as this important first step can be the ratelimiting factor in the total bioavailability of the food. a study in Veterinary Dermatology looked at the frequency with which specific food ingredients caused a reappearance of pruritis during a food elimination trial. In a human study conducted by the Institute of Nutritional Science. . Department of Agricultural Food and Nutritional Science.A. “Raw and Rendered Animal By-Products as Ingredients in Dog Diets”. Veterinary Dermatology.

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