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I am excited to share with you the difference in the nutritional value of cooked foods vs. raw for your pets!

Nutrition is the foundation and basis for health.

Eighty million species of life on the earth, (about 700,000 of which are animals) thrive on raw food. In fact, humans are the only ones that apply heat to what they eat. Humans on average as a race, die at or below half their potential life span of chronic illness that is largely diet and lifestyle related. Domesticated pets also are fed cooked, processed, packaged food that likewise is denatured by heat. As a consequence, they suffer human-like chronic ailments including cancer, arthritis and other degenerative diseases.

The Effects of Heat

What if you were to burn your finger, what happens? The skin tissue dies. When you apply heat to food the nutrients are progressively killed/destroyed as the temperature rises. It should be well understood and recognized in scientific literature that heat breaks down vitamins, amino acids and produces undesirable cross-linkages in proteins, particularly in meat.

At only 110 degrees Fahrenheit (approximately 43 degrees Centigrade), two of the 8 essential amino acids, tryptophan and lysine, are destroyed.

When food is cooked above 117 degrees Fahrenheit for only three minutes the following deleterious changes begin and progressively cause increased nutritional damage as temperatures are increased or as they are applied over prolonged periods of time:

*proteins coagulate

*high temperatures denature protein molecular structure, leading to deficiency of some essential amino acids

*carbohydrates caramelize

*overly heated fats generate numerous carcinogens including acrolein, nitrosamines, hydrocarbons, and benzopyrene (one of the most potent cancer-causing agents known)

*natural fibers break down, cellulose is completely changed from its natural condition: it loses its ability to sweep the alimentary canal clean

*30% to 50% of vitamins and minerals are destroyed

*100% of enzymes are damaged, the body's enzyme potential is depleted which drains energy needed to maintain and repair tissue and organ systems, thereby shortening the life span.

Cooked or Heat Processed Pet Food

In my opinion, it is no coincidence that since 1950, as processed food proliferated for both humans and pets, that cancer rates, irritable bowel disease, kidney and liver disease rates in the United States have steadily increased and are now at the highest point in history (for pets as well as humans). The effect from consuming overly cooked food equates to, at best - minimal to no true nutrition. The body is forced to raid its dwindling supply of nutrient and enzyme reserves and as a result, remains hungry for quality nutrients after a typical meal. This leads to further hunger even though the stomach is full. The result can be malnutrition, chronic overeating and rampant obesity that is now seen in our dogs and cats as well as ourselves - world-wide.

Scientific Research shows what Denaturation/Cooking Does to Protein:

Cooking denatures protein. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, denaturation is a modification of the molecular structure of protein by heat or by an acid, an alkali, or ultraviolet radiation that destroys or diminishes its original properties and biological activity.

Denaturation alters protein and makes it unusable or less usable. According to Britannica, protein molecules are readily altered by heat: Unlike simple organic molecules, the physical and chemical properties of protein are markedly altered when the substance is just boiled in water. Further: All of the agents able to cause denaturat-ion are able to break the secondary bonds that hold the chains in place. Once these weak bonds are broken, the molecule falls into a disorganized tangle devoid of biological function.

Again, according to Britannica the most significant effect of protein denaturation is the loss of its biological function. For example, enzymes lose their catalytic powers and hemoglobin loses its capacity to carry oxygen. The changes that accompany denaturation have been shown to result from destruction of the specific pattern in which the amino acid chains are folded in the native protein. In Britannica is the acknowledgment that "cooking destroys protein to make it practically useless"

There are two ways to denature the proteins:

1. Chemically using digestive enzymes
2. Through the use of heat.

Via heat, the body does not have the recombinant ability to utilize damaged denatured protein components (amino acids) and rebuild them once again into viable protein molecules.

Some Physiologists claim that cooking and digestion are virtually the same: that cooking is a form of predigesting where heat is used to hydrolyze nutrients that would otherwise be hydrolyzed at body temperature through digestion. This due to the enormous heat exposure during cooking, that denatures the protein molecule past a point of being bioactive However, body heat is too low to effect the protein molecule so adversely.

When proteins are subjected to high heat during cooking, enzyme resistant linkages are formed between the amino acid chains. The body cannot separate these amino acids. What the body cannot use, it must eliminate. Cooked proteins become a source of toxicity: dead organic waste material acted upon and elaborated by bacterial flora.

When wholesome protein foods are eaten raw, the body makes maximum use of all amino acids without the accompanying toxins of cooked food.

According to the textbook Nutritional Value of Food Processing, 3rd Edition, (by Karmas, Harris, published by Van Nostrand Reinhold) which is written for food chemists in the industrial processed food industry: "changes that occur during processing either result in nutrient loss or destruction. Heat processing has a detrimental effect on nutrients since thermal degradation of nutrients can and does occur. Reduction in nutrient content depends on the severity of the thermal processing."

Protein molecules under ideal eating and digestive conditions are broken down into amino acids by gastric enzymes. Every protein molecule in the body is synthesized from these amino acids. Protein you consume IS NOT used as protein: it is first recycled or broken down into its constituent amino acids AND THEN used to build protein molecules the body needs.

There are 23 different amino acids; these link together in different combinations in extremely long chains to create protein molecules, like individual rail cars form a train. The amino group gives each amino acid its specific identifying characteristic that differentiates it from the others. Excessive heat sloughs off or decapitates the amino group. Without this amino group, the amino acid is rendered useless and is toxic.

Cooked vs. Raw Food and Pottenger's Cats

Dr. Francis M. Pottenger Jr. MD wrote about his experiments with 900 cats over a period of ten years. Pottenger fed raw meat to a portion of his test cats, and fed cooked meat to the other test cats. Pottenger wrote, Cooked meat fed cats were irritable. The females were dangerous to handle, occasionally biting the keeper.

Cooked meat and a pasteurized milk diet led to progressive degeneration of the animals. He compared healthy cats on raw foods with those on heated diets with mention of parallel findings among humans in Dr. Weston A. Price’s worldwide studies. Behavioral characteristics, arthritis, sterility, skeletal deformities and allergies are some of the problems that were associated with the consumption of all-cooked foods.

The cooked meat fed cats suffered with pneumonia, empyema, diarrhea, osteomyelitis, cardiac lesions, hyperopia and myopia (eye diseases), thyroid diseases, nephritis, orchitis, oophoritis (ovarian inflammation) and many other degenerative diseases. No cooked food is benign. Cooked foods act malignantly by exhausting energy, inhibiting healing, and decreasing alertness, efficiency and productivity.

Dr. Kouchakoff of Switzerland conducted over 300 detailed experiments, which pinpointed the pathogenic nature of cooked and processed foods. Food heated to temperatures of just 120 to 190 degrees F (a range usually relegated to warming rather than cooking which, nevertheless destroys all enzymes), causes leukocytosis in the body. Leukocytosis is a term applied to an abnormally high white corpuscle count.

These facts apply to all animals - birds (pet birds), horses, rabbits and our carnivorous companions - dogs and cats.

So, you decide - which do you believe is healthier for our pets - Kibble, pellets or fresh raw, whole foods?

Are you ready to be liberated by this information and be free from dependency upon the status quo? - the current pet food and veterinary industry paradigm? Are you ready to stop listening to the fear mongering and step out in faith and watch your dog's (or cat or bird or horse) health improve by eating a raw species specific diet?

Note: Before switching your dog (or cat) to a raw diet, especially if the animal is not in good health or is a senior, please set up a consultation or look at our new, online, Total Wellness For Pets Program

Copyright 2003 -2014 This article is the sole property of Dr Jeanette (Jeannie) Thomason and The Whole Dog. It is for educational purposes and cannot be reproduced in any form whatsoever without the expressed written consent of the author.

NOTE: The information in this article is based on the traditional and historic use of naturopathy and species specific nutrition as well as the author’s personal experience. This information is provided for general reference and educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose or prescribe. This information is not intended to replace professional medical advice.