Dr. Judy Morgan 0:00
Welcome to the naturally healthy pets podcast. Let's get to it.
Dr. Judy Morgan 0:05
Hello, and welcome back to our Naturally Healthy Pets Podcast. Today, I'm delighted to have Steve Brown as my guest. He is one of the early founders of the raw diet industry. Most of his recent work, however, is on educating veterinarians on how to formulate balanced diets for specific life stages, which is awesome, because veterinarians do not learn that in that in vet school, and lightly cooked or raw meat based diets. He's the developer of the animal diet formulator, which I use and love. It's a software program for learning about nutrient density and how to make diets that are balanced for different life stages. And he's the author of Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet. So today, what we really are going to learn from Steve is what complete and balanced even means, why it matters, and why it should change throughout your pet's life. So Steve, I'm turning this over to you hit us with some really good information. I know it's I know it's in your head.
I'm a geek. Basically, I deal with numbers and analysis. I'm not a veterinarian. I work with veterinarians to give them the best data available. I work closely with Dr. Karen Becker, Dr. Laurie Coger, Barb Royal, Tasha Lilly, and many others to release to look at data, analyze the data and determine how best we can formulate fresh meat based diets that are balanced and super healthy. So I'm gonna get into numbers.
Steve Brown 1:50
So, the first thing we need to talk about is what are the terms because when we're talking about balance, we're dealing with milligrams of nutrient per kilo gram. So I want to talk about terms a little bit, I think you can see this, this is kilograms, grams, milligrams, and micrograms. Those are what we deal with. So a kilogram, as many of you may know, is 1000 grams, about 2.2 pounds.
Steve Brown 2:21
There's 28.35 grams in an ounce, two to five grams per teaspoon of the nutrients, we use two grams of the light powder, five grams of water, and if you're measuring gold, it's going to probably be nine grams per teaspoon. The variability of nutrients per teaspoon is one reason I never use teaspoons in my formulations, I use grams.
Steve Brown 2:48
When we're talking about minerals, trace minerals like zinc, or copper or manganese, we're dealing with milligrams, which is one 1000s of a gram. So for instance, we need 20 milligrams of zinc, per 1000 calories, which I'll mention in a minute. 20 milligrams, you wouldn't even see on a teaspoon, but it's super important. So we're dealing with very tiny amounts that are measured in milligrams per kilo gram or parts per million. That zinc, copper, iron, and I'll show you a few others.
Steve Brown 3:32
When we're dealing with other nutrients such as iodine, selenium, vitamin B 12 and folate we're talking micrograms, which is one 1000s of the milligram, which is one 1000s of a gram. So we're dealing with parts per billion. So you can imagine how little iodine and selenium is essential for dogs and cats a little is essential.
Steve Brown 3:59
A milligram is not, we're dealing with micrograms.
Steve Brown 4:04
So that gives you an idea of the terms we're going to use in this short session. And the next thing I'm going to talk about, I measure everything per 1000 calories. When we're talking complete and balanced AAFCO, The National Research Council, that's the European version of AAFCO require that fresh meat based diets that are nutrient dense, a lot of fat, are evaluated and formulated on a per 1000 calories. Which is the way I formulate. A 33 pound dog, 15 kilogram dog will use about 1000 calories a day. If that dog is active. A working 23 pound dog would easily burn 1000 calories a day. Or a couch potato typical elderly, sedentary, American couch potato dog 70 pound dog will go through about 1000 calories a day. So what's the difference?
Dr. Judy Morgan 5:06
That's a huge difference. So we're using 1000 calories per day, anywhere from a 23 pound dog to a 70 pound dog. Based on activity level, that is a huge difference.
Dr. Morgan, that is key to what we're talking about. The activity level's different. And so when we look at how AAFCO is formulating on one activity level, then I can even go into the math of this in a minute.
Steve Brown 5:35
So those who want a really technical talk, will be able to get something. So we're dealing with 1000 calories, I like to look at what types of meat have 1000 calories, three quarters of a pound of 73% lean beef, or 1.3 pounds of 90% lean beef. So if we're using different types of beef or chicken, it's whether that's how much fat it has. Here I'm comparing 90% lean beef compared with 70% lean beef, raw. I'm doing this because next time I'm here I'm going to talk about feeding sedentary dogs, which need more minerals per calorie than do active dogs. So as you see 90% lean beef has 772 calories per pound and 28.2 milligrams of zinc per 1000 calories. Remember a milligram is a 1000s of a gram.
Steve Brown 6:37
If you're using 70% lean in your recipe you have instead of 90% you have twice as many calories, and a little more than a third the amount of zinc per 1000 calories. So when we're formulating foods that require high density of nutrients per calorie, which we do when we're formulating for sedentary dogs, we use 90% Lean. And Dr. Morgan, for your Pup Loaf, If somebody's making your pup loaf, and they're dealing with a couch potato dog that doesn't eat a lot of calories, then I would suggest using lean beef. But if you're making your Pup Loaf for a dog that burns calories like crazy, 80% lean beef would be great.
Steve Brown 7:31
So now what is complete and balanced mean? complete and balanced means that it meets AAFCO's, That's the US regulators nutrient profiles. These nutrient profiles include minerals, vitamins, fat, and proteins. Note that there is no requirement for carbohydrate at all.
Steve Brown 8:01
NRC, all the science from AFFCO come from the National Research Council of the Academies of Science, nutrient requirements of dogs and cat year 2006. That report. So all this is based upon that report that represents the best science we have. Now it's been updated since 2006. And the science is not complete. And it's by no means perfect, but it's the best science we have. So I follow that science. And these nutrient profiles are based on that science.
Steve Brown 8:40
So if you follow me here, here's FEDIAF, that's the European versions. They have two nutrient profiles for adult dogs, less active and active. AAFCO has one profile, very active.
Steve Brown 8:58
These are the equations which we can talk about at a more advanced session on on how the profiles are developed. So I'm looking at Popeye who was my favorite dog he weighed 33 pounds or 15 kilograms. The way we look at the number of calories he needs is a activity level 95, 110 or 132 times his metabolic weight, which is his he weighs 15 kilograms, his metabolic weight is 15 kilograms or three quarter power, or 7.62. So Popeye needs, in this case less active 724 calories. If he's FEDIAF active, 838. If he's AAFCO, 1006.
Steve Brown 9:53
Nutrient profiles are based upon the National Research Council has numbers on, let's say for manganese, which is a trace mineral. The amount of manganese a dog needs is 0.16 milligrams times its metabolic weight, in which case, Popeye 7.62 or needs 1.2 milligrams of manganese a day. If you take this number times this number, he gets 1.2. This many calories times this standard 1.2. For AAFCO, To get your 1.2 milligrams a day, Popeye has to eat 1006 calories. If he's eating only 838 and it's formulated to AAFCO, he won't get his 1.21 milligrams of manganese a day. And so that's what we're trying to change. What we're what we're promoting, what we're talking to FDA about is let's have a less active standard. It's more demanding, but it's going to help prevent nutrient deficiencies in very sedentary dogs.
Dr. Judy Morgan
Yeah, this makes so much sense because we know that cruciate ligament ruptures occur more commonly with a manganese deficiency. And we've got these sedentary dogs who aren't getting enough because if we feed that many calories to them, we end up with these obese dogs. And they're not getting enough. So what happens is people just put less in the bowl, they restrict the calories and we're dropping the nutrients.
Yeah. So that's a great comment. That's exactly what's happening. And I'm just going to expand here into the very inactives. These are the FEDIAF over here. These are what our group with Susan Thixton and Karen Becker and me have looked at as potential very inactive standards. So if you take the 85, which I think is American and active, this is European and active. American dogs are apparently less active than European dogs. So I think we should use this. So if you take 648 calories, which is what Popeye when he was old would probably consume, times the AAFCO standard, Yeah, divide that by 1000.
Steve Brown 12:43
You get 0.81 milligrams per day of manganese, he needs 1.2. So if you're doing it this way, you're taking the calories from the standard. Hold on a second. The standard times the number of calories divided by 1000 Because we're doing it per calorie. 1.21.
Steve Brown 13:19
He needs 1.2. If he's fed right, 724 calories as he gets older, he needs a standard of 1.67. If he's very active, burning 1000 calories a day, he could go with a standard of 1.25. So that's really what we're proposing is that as the dogs get less active, they need more nutrients per calorie because they're consuming fewer calories.
Dr. Judy Morgan 13:52
So that makes sense.
Steve Brown 13:55
Yeah, but it's not Dr. Morgan, it's not going to be an easy change. There's a lot of vested interests that want to keep it the way it is now,
Dr. Judy Morgan
for sure. Anytime a company has to make a formulation change. It's going to be expensive and time consuming and you know to have so let's just say there's one dry kibble that is just formulated for "all life stages". And we're taking that kibble and trying to feed it to a very active growing puppy who's burning up a lot of calories versus the later stage dog who is very active or has become a couch potato. There's huge issues here.
Huge issues. One thing that we've learned there's no such thing as all Life stage food.
Dr. Judy Morgan 14:54
Except there's a lot on the market.
Yeah, but and I've I've designed a lot of them. I formulated a lot of all life stage foods, but now I know better. There's there's a flip side to this issue. Okay? I'm not talking about excesses not deficiencies. Okay, let me unhide these.
Steve Brown 15:26
Nope, this is by the way, the formulated in both dry matter for carbohydrate based foods are formulated in a dry matter basis, which is percentage of the minerals or milligrams per kilogram. This is for a carbohydrate type food. This is for a fresh meat diet. The other issue and I have this on a different spreadsheet is what if we have a super active dog?
So rather than consuming 1006 calories, we have a dog that's consuming 2000 calories a day.
Steve Brown 16:04
That means and let's look at copper because that's one of the things that we're concerned about. So if this dog rather than consuming 1006 calories a day is consuming 2000 calories a day, it's gonna be 3.66 milligrams of copper a day, which is starting to approach perhaps too much copper.
Steve Brown 16:39
So we are proposing a highly active standard as well, for like Border Collies working in the winter, they're going to be burning maybe 3000 calories a day, if they consumed any of these foods at 3000 calories a day, they will consume more copper, maybe more zinc, maybe more iodine, and certainly more selenium then than they should. So we're proposing a sedentary standard, more like 95 here, the FEDIAF less active 95 as my K factor, multiplied 95 times the metabolic weight to get the calories and we're proposing one that's about 200. So that for that working dog in the winter, they will not have excesses of some of the minerals and vitamins.
Dr. Judy Morgan 17:41
Then we have to figure out how to educate all the pet parents as to being honest about how much of a couch potato their dog is.
That is crucial. That's step one. And that the Animal Diet Formulator, Dr. Susan Becker is taking care of that.
Steve Brown 18:02
She's looking at the different activity levels and trying to describe them in detail. Because when we formulate we have to have the right activity level, most people overestimate the activity level of their dogs and underestimate how fat the dogs are. We want to reverse that.
Dr. Judy Morgan 18:24
Yeah, I got that. I mean, that is definitely a huge issue. And you know, it's it's interesting because people also want to be able to buy one food and feed it to every dog in the household. And if I just look at the four dogs in my household, the the activity levels are very, very, very different. I have a super couch potato I have a super active and I've got a couple in between. So it's very difficult to say well, this is one size fits all.
Yeah, you have the the two extremes. Yeah. We're looking at solutions, temporary solutions until the pet food companies can reformulate. there are easy solutions to these issues, which we could talk about it another time. But that's one of the things we're doing.
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Dr. Judy Morgan
So so one of the things like if we want if we need something to be more nutrient dense, like to pack more calories in without having excesses like the copper and that sort of thing. Do we get away with just maybe using like you said a higher fat meat? Would that help solve that problem? Like using the 80% instead of the 90?
Well, when we go from the, I design a lot of diets that are at FEDIAF active, and we then went to FEDIAF less active, and we switched from 85%, lean to 90% Lean for the less active. And that was sufficient because the 90% Lean gives us more zinc per calorie than the 85%. Lean. So it's counterintuitive. The when I first thought about this, I said, Well, a less active dog should have more fat. No, it's the opposite. Because we're trying to get more nutrients per calorie that less active dog, Popeye when he was less active, still needed 1.2 milligrams of manganese per day, but rather than 1000 calories, he's now getting to 600 calories.
Steve Brown 20:59
So we switch to a leaner meat.
Dr. Judy Morgan 21:04
Right. Yeah, I mean, it, it makes perfect sense. And I mean, that is one of the things I like about the Animal Diet Formulator is that I can put in there. This is a growing animal. This is a senior, sedentary, active, very active, working, because it does come up really different. so for the pet food companies, though I get the problem that we've got to formulate. Okay, this is your less active dogs and this is your very active dogs. While I get back to the drawing board on a couple of things.
Dr. Judy Morgan 21:45
I tend to look at dogs in America as more sedentary and less active, like being kind of on the lower end. Except for people that that that small percentage that have the working dogs or the barn hunt dogs, the agility dogs, but I don't think that's the majority of our dogs in America.
No, it's not I'm hearing from veterinarians, at least with cats. To figure I'm getting with cats 80% are fat. And the same everything we said for dogs holds with cats probably even more so. And with cats. The issue is if you're feeding a low cost dry food, which I would never feed to a cat, but people do and and it's a sedentary cat, they could be protein deficient. It's a lot worse to be protein deficient, than manganese deficient from what I understand. I'm not a vet. But that's what I understand. So if you're feeding a sedentary cat, and you're feeding that cat, a canned food or a dry food that's generally on the low end in cost. So it would be lower in protein, you may have a protein issue, which is not healthy when you're trying to get the cat to lose weight.
Dr. Judy Morgan 23:04
There's easy solutions to that.
Dr. Judy Morgan
Yeah, I'll feed more meat. Yeah, yeah, cats are another whole topic because cats are fed so wrong. I happen to have a clowder of 12 cats at the moment. And they have been raw fed since day one there and they're outside hunting mice. We live on a big farm and they're the healthiest, happiest cats in the world.
Steve Brown 23:37
That's a natural cat.
Dr. Judy Morgan
They are natural cats, man. They're happy cats. And I like them that way.
When the AAFCO profiles for cats were developed most which was in the 80s. Most cats were outdoors. Now most cats are indoors. It's a huge difference in energy expenditure, but the profiles have not changed. So that's another thing. I'm a dog person. Okay, you can see from Mr. Pip in my lap, but we're working with trying to change the cat profiles to get a sedentary one as well.
Dr. Judy Morgan
Yeah, absolutely. And we just need to start feeding our cats some more meat and a lot less starch and carb, crap.
Dr. Judy Morgan 24:21
Steve, this is this is I'm going to have you back because we've got to talk about a whole lot more stuff. And I know that there's some meetings that are going to be happening with the FDA. So we will see what comes of those meetings if there's changes that are going to be made. We know how AFFCO and FDA work it might take what it will take years.
Dr. Judy Morgan 24:45
But I think that you and Susan Thixton and Dr. Karen Becker, the meetings that you're having with FDA are very, very critical. And I hope that I mean, you just simplified that down
So I got it. And I think that most people that are listening or watching are going to see the the discrepancies. And I would hope that FDA and AFFCO would also say, oh, boy, we got to, we got to start making some changes, because I know from being in practice, so many of the chronic problems that we've seen, you know, copper toxicity is a huge issue. And it could have a lot to do with exactly what you're talking about the cruciate ligament ruptures, like I mentioned, we know that's associated with manganese deficiency. There's also some genetics, but that's a huge issue. And so many things that we're seeing in our pets, very, very well could be because we've got these nutrient deficiencies and excesses and the cats with not enough protein and it should it it kind of snowballs. Well, thank you. Thank you very much.
Steve Brown 25:59
Any time. Whenever you want to geek out.
Dr. Judy Morgan
I'm glad that we have, like you who are willing to do this, because I'm watching you with your spreadsheet. I don't know how to do a spreadsheet. I don't know how to do the calculations on the spreadsheet. And I'm like, Well, I'm glad somebody does
Steve Brown 26:12
Well, that's my job. I just want people's at times when you're dealing with adult dogs if we're close to the spreadsheet on that.
Dr. Judy Morgan
There you go. Well, thank you very much. We will definitely invite you back. And yeah, it's it's eye opening. Thank you!
Dr. Judy Morgan
Thanks for listening to another great Naturally Healthy Pets episode. Be sure to check out the show notes for some helpful links. And if you enjoy the show, please be sure to follow and listen for free on your favorite podcast app. We value your feedback and we'd love to hear from you on how we're doing. Visit DrJudyMorgan.com for healthy product recommendations, comprehensive courses, upcoming events and other fantastic resources. Until next time, keep giving your pet the vibrant life they deserve.
The purpose of this podcast is to educate and to inform. It is no substitute for professional care by a veterinarian, licensed nutritionist or other qualified professional. You're encouraged to do your own research and should not rely on this information as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Dr. Judy and her guests express their own views, experience and conclusions. Dr. Judy Morgan's Naturally Healthy Pets neither endorses or opposes any particular view discussed here.