The Calcium-Phosphorous Controversy

The evolutionary diet hypothesis states that both the nutrients supplied, and the form in which they are supplied, have a direct bearing on the health, longevity, reproductive capacity and freedom

· December 13, 2010

The evolutionary diet hypothesis states that both the nutrients supplied, and the form in which they are supplied, have a direct bearing on the health, longevity, reproductive capacity and freedom from disease of the animal being fed- at all life stages. This is particularly so where calcium, phosphorus and energy are concerned in relation to skeletal growth.

Is it possible that the raw feeding philosophy may be able to make some different claims to the current AAFCO limits relating to the calcium and phosphorus limit issue, both with respect to the ratio, and also regarding the absolute levels?

The evolutionary diet hypothesis states that while absolute levels and ratios of calcium and phosphorus are important to skeletal health, equally as important are the sources of calcium and phosphorus together with the source of energy which drives skeletal and whole body growth. This is especially so when it concerns the giant breed dogs.

When considering the calcium/phosphorus ratios, the evolutionary diet is more tolerant than commercial dry food with ratios of calcium and phosphorus that fall outside the currently accepted limits.

The difference, and what becomes the advantage to feeding an evolutionary diet, lies in the very low level of soluble carbohydrates and with the main energy source supplied by protein and lipids. When protein and fat supply the energy as opposed to carbohydrates, growth is driven at a slower rate which does not allow the non-skeletal tissue to out-grow its fundamental support structure-the skeleton. When the major source of calcium and phosphorus comes from raw bones, along with muscle meat, organ meat, raw cartilage, and other key proprietary ingredients, the bone growth which is also driven by energy from protein and fat proceeds in a fundamentally more integral fashion. This produces a skeleton (bones and joints) which grows in a fundamental sound fashion. Thus the normal skeleton is more than capable of supporting the rest of the body without either the bones or the joints becoming deformed or damaged in the process.

It is a major tenet of the evolutionary diet, that by supplying nutrients in the form and proportion in which they were supplied during the evolution of the species in question, that we will be supplying the correct absolute levels and the correct ratios of nutrients found in a properly formulated BARF diet and should in fact be accepted as normal.

On the contrary, modern highly processed pet food starts from an entirely different theoretical basis compared to the BARF diet. Their hypothesis maintains that the form of the food is not regarded as having any bearing on health. They contend that the energy source has no bearing on health and therefore the major energy source can be mostly carbohydrate ( starch and sugar) with no harm done to the animal. Modern processed pet foods are regarded as complete and balanced ( and therefore legal and acceptable), so long as they can be shown to contain the currently known to be essential nutrients at the currently accepted levels. In addition, it matters little, where these nutrients were sourced, so long as they are present in the diet. An important point to consider in this controversy is that the AAFCO limits have been determined ONLY on the basis of feeding commercial pet foods.

To summarize then, the important difference in the form of food between the two approaches to diet formulation includes:
• Raw vs Cooked
• Whole food vs Fractionated
• Carbohydrate vs Fat
• Protein as the energy source
• Organic sources of minerals vs inorganic sources
• And the presence of protective nutrients found in whole raw food vs their almost complete absence.

On that basis, it is further hypothesized that where the normals for the BARF diet differ from the currently accepted normals for heat processed dry food, those differences simply reflect fundamental differences in dietary formulation. Converted “BARFERS” have learned to appreciate the difference between the two philosophies. The choice is yours to make.



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What is BARF?

"BARF®" is our acronym that means Biologically Appropriate Raw Food. It is a complete and carefully balanced blend of raw meat, fruits, vegetables and bone. Our formula mimics what nature has designed our pet's to thrive on in the wild. The result is a pet free of allergies, digestive problems, and full of life!