A ketogenic diet is one that is higher in fat, contains low (to no) carbohydrates whilst providing adequate protein for energy, key nutrients, body growth and repair. When in ketosis, the goal of a ketogenic diet, the body burns fat to provide energy. This is achieved by including high fat products while excluding foods very high in carbohydrates such as grains, pasta, bread, sugar and starchy fruits and vegetables. The result is lowered glucose levels and improved insulin resistance. The pancreas does not need to work as hard to try and produce enough insulin to manage the high glucose load that exists within a high carbohydrate diet.
Veterinary oncologists have found a strong correlation between cancer and high levels of sugar, carbohydrates and starch. All this sugar, carbohydrates and starch is provided solely through the diet fed to the animal. Cancer cells feed upon sugar within the diet. Reduced carbohydrate intake reduces glucose (sugar) levels within the body, removing the food source for cancer and therefore reducing growth and replication of cancer cells. Considerable evidence exists to show that a ketogenic diet may help reduce the likelihood of suffering cancer, obesity, diabetes and a range of neurological conditions including seizures for both humans and animals.
Fat is a much more efficient source of energy than carbohydrates. One gram of fat provides 9 calories of energy whereas one gram of carbohydrates only provides 4 calories of energy. The body must work much harder when eating a high carbohydrate diet to gain the energy that would be provided by a higher fat diet. Considering the lack of carbohydrate digesting enzymes within canines, this results in unnecessary taxing of all body systems. This is not a good thing.
Providing a diet that is higher in fat does not need to be as large as a carbohydrate based diet in order to provide the animal with the required energy to thrive. Whilst some owners feel their dog likes to eat a large meal, there are negative impacts on the digestive system and the animal’s ability to absorb nutrients prior to defecation.
So how do you provide a ketogenic diet to your pet? Provide them with a species appropriate diet high in meat, raw meaty bones, offal and low glycaemic vegetables (if following BARF protocols). Avoid all fruits and grains. This is in vast comparison to a typical dry food diet which is very high in carbohydrates and questionable protein sources. You do not need to worry about calculating caloric content of your pet’s food. Just feed a natural, unprocessed species appropriate diet and monitor their weight and body condition.