The Science Behind Ketogenic Pet Foods™

Pouring Keto Kibble into Bowl
The ultimate science is nature. Therefore, the most scientific diet is one that emulates the natural canine/feline diet; this is the aim of Ketogenic Pet Foods™.

In proof, below is a small collection of scientific references that demonstrate the negative health effects of carbohydrate-based diets -- for both humans and pets -- as well as the health benefits of high protein, high fat, low carbohydrate diets (find a more complete list of relevant references here).

Note that although the ketogenic diets for humans consist of high fat, moderate protein, and small amounts of carbohydrates, humans are not carnivores. An appropriate ketogenic diet for carnivores (dogs and cats) is similarly high fat and low carbohydrate, but also includes higher protein levels than advisable for human ketogenesis.

A study of obese cats found that those fed an ad libitum high protein diet experienced an increase in resting and total energy expenditure over those fed a free choice moderate protein diet.

A. Wei et al., 2010. Influence of a high-protein diet on energy balance in obese cats allowed ad libitum access to food. JAPAN Online. October 2010. doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0396.2010.01062.x.

“…consumption of diets with low carbohydrate, high protein, and moderate fat content may be advantageous for prevention and management of obesity, impaired glucose tolerance, and diabetes…”
Rand, J.S., et al. Diet in the prevention of diabetes and obesity in companion animals. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr, 12 (S6), 2003.

“…a high-protein diet may promote an increased lean tissue mass in cats…helpful in preventing or treating obesity…”
Nguyen, P. High Protein Intake Affects Lean Body Mass but Not Energy Expenditure in Nonobese Neutered Cats. The Journal of Nutrition, 134, 2084S-2086SA, 2004.

“…high protein diets allow a higher energy intake to weight loss in cats…”
Vasconcellos, R. S., et al. Protein Intake during Weight Loss Influences the Energy Required for Weight Loss and Maintenance in Cats. Journal of Nutrition, 139 (5), 855-860, 2009.

“…change from high-carbohydrate to high-protein content has a greater effect on increasing weight loss…increased loss of fat mass while maintaining lean muscle mass.”
Bierer, T. L., and L. M. Bui. High-Protein Low-Carbohydrate Diets Enhance Weight Loss in Dogs. The American Society for Nutritional Sciences, 134, 2087S-2089S, 2004.

“…did not show any effect of a high vs medium protein diet on glucose intolerance or insulin sensitivity…feeding of a high protein diet decreased plasma IGF-1 in normal-weight cats…” 
Leray, V., et al. Protein Intake Does Not Affect Insulin Sensitivity in Normal Weight Cats. The Journal of Nutrition, 136, 2028S-2030S, 2006.

“…higher protein intake might reduce lean body mass losses…” 
Diez, M., et al. Weight Loss in Obese Dogs: Evaluation of a High-Protein, Low-Carbohydrate Diet. Journal of Nutrition, 132, 1685S-1687S, 2002.

“...carbohydrates cause nearly all age-related diseases…high carbohydrates, which turn to glucose, hype the metabolism and trigger the release of disease-causing hormones like insulin, cortisol and adrenaline…”

Rieske, K. Absolute Scientific Proof Carbohydrates Are Pathogenic, from Absolute Truth Exposed. Boulder, Exalt Publishing, 2010.

Researchers have concluded that starch that is resistant to digestion (in effect canceling dietary starch) results in decreased intestinal fat deposition and may prevent or treat obesity.

Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
“...eating refined, processed, packaged high-carbohydrate foods, the disease [Type 2 diabetes] will progress until you suffer ghastly complications.”

Lecky, P. Avoid the #1 Cause of Type 2 Diabetes: Bad Food! Diabetic Warrior Newsletter, October, 2002.

“Compared with a low-fat diet, a low-carbohydrate diet program had better participant retention and greater weight loss. During active weight loss, serum triglyceride levels decreased more and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol level increased more with the low-carbohydrate diet than with the low-fat diet.”
Yancy, W. S., et al. A Low-Carbohydrate, Ketogenic Diet versus a Low-Fat Diet To Treat Obesity and Hyperlipidemia. Annals of Internal Medicine, 140 (10), 769-777, 2004.

“…the high protein diet resulted in greater retention of lean body mass compared with the control diet…”
Laflamme, D., and S. Hannah. Increased Dietary Protein Promotes Fat Loss and Reduces Loss of Lean Body Mass During Weight Loss in Cats. Intern J Appl Res Vet Med, 3 (2), 2005.

“…an increase in dietary protein…results in significant weight loss…”
Weigle, D. S., et al. A high-protein diet induces sustained reductions in appetite, ad libitum caloric intake, and body weight despite compensatory changes in diurnal plasma leptin and gherlin concentrations. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 82 (1), 41-48, 2005.

“…a 20% higher protein intake…resulted in a 50% lower body weight…”
Westerterp-Plantenga, M. S., et al. High protein intake sustains weight maintenance after body weight loss... International Journal of Obesity, 28, 57-64, 2004.

“…greater reductions in total and abdominal fat mass…on the high protein diet…”
Parker, B., et al. Effect of a High-Protein, High-Monounsaturated Fat Weight Loss Diet on Glycemic Control and Lipid Levels in Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes Care, 2001.
“A low-carbohydrate, HP (high-protein) hypoenergetic diet could be the weight composition of choice for a weight reducing regimen…”
Baba, N. H., et al. High protein vs high carbohydrate hypoenergenic diet for the treatment of obese hyperinsulinemic subjects. International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders, 23 (11), 1202-1206, 1999.
“…blood sugar levels were lowered by 40% among the high-protein group.”
Gannon, M., et al. An increase in dietary protein improves blood glucose response... The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 78 (4), 734-741, 2003.
“…there was an obvious evidence of parallelism between seizures, increase in carbohydrate levels…”
Hevor, T. K., et al. Correlation between carbohydrate and catecholamine level impairments in methionine sulfoximine epileptogeni... Neurochemical Research, 15 (9), 861-868, 2005.
A 2009 study reviewed the effect of a low carbohydrate diet on the incidence of seizures in epileptic children. It was found that reducing the carbohydrate content of the diet to 40-60 grams per day significantly reduced the number of seizures, but up to as much as 66% over a period of 1 year.

Muzykewicz, D.A, et al. Efficacy, safety and tolerability of the low glycemic index treatment in pediatric epilepsy. Epilepsia. 2009;50:1118-1126.
Researchers have found that a diet high in carbohydrates (starches) increases the chances of Breast Cancer recurrence.

Study participants who had a cancer recurrence increased their daily starch intake, while those that did not experience recurrence decreased the amount of starch in their diet.

The researchers called for cancer survivors to limit their starch intake.

There is growing awareness of the detrimental effects of high starch diets for humans. This, in spite of the fact that we have been consuming starchy foods since the advent of agriculture some 10,000 years ago. We may try, but we cannot alter our basic genetic expectation – which is tuned to eons prior to agriculture and essentially no starch. There is absolutely no logical or historical basis for carnivorous companion animals consuming a constant diet high in starch either. But this wisdom is ignored, which explains why, in staggering numbers, pets fall victim to starch-related degenerative disease conditions and illnesses.

Jennifer Emond, M.S., public health doctoral student, University of California, San Diego; Marji McCullough, Sc.D., R.D., strategic director of nutritional epidemiology, American Cancer Society; abstract, San Antonio Breast Cancer Conference, Dec. 6-10, 2011.
“…our results indicate…a comorbidity of malnutrition and neurological disorders…”
Nunes, M. L., et al. Evaluation of the Nutritional Status…and its Relationship to the Development of Epilepsy. Nutritional Neuroscience, 2 (3), 139-145, 1999.