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Epigen™ ingredient concerns...

Show DivHow is it that Epigen™ is Starch Free™? I see that it contains plants.

Patented methods have been developed to separate the protein fraction from the starches. Such fractions have long been used in medicine, sports, and bodybuilding to encourage anabolism, rather than fat deposition and catabolism (muscle wasting).

This is also a "green" use of vegetable material in that the separated starches can then be used for industrial and fuel purposes.

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Show DivIs the term "vegetable protein" just a new term used to hide byproducts like glutens, etc.?

No, the types of vegetable proteins used are stated: rice, potato, corn and wheat.

One must be careful of how the term byproduct is construed and used when speaking about health and nutrition. While a byproduct has historically been the least nutritional of the fractions derived from a food, in modern times the opposite has become true. Many byproducts of the human food industry are, in fact, the most nutritious. That’s because people prefer white refined substances such as white sugar, white starch, white salt, white meat, and white fats. To do this, processors must separate the white part from everything else. The "everything else" is then called "byproduct."

So "byproduct" has wrongfully become a word taken in the pejorative -- as akin to garbage, something suited for a land fill or toxic waste dump. In many instances, however, a byproduct is something of great nutritional value.

A good example is the milling of rice to get white rice. The "byproduct" bran contains all the more important nutrients such as essential fatty acids, minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins such as thiamin. Thousands around the globe have suffered and died from both overt and idiopathic/pleomorphic beri beri (thiamin deficiency) as a result of casting aside the bran "byproduct" that is then used in animal feed. The animals thrive, the humans suffer and die. (Not to mention the degenerative diseases that result over time from eating the high glycemic, nutrient denuded white rice starch.)

Vegetable proteins are the prizes to be mined from potato, rice, corn, etc. The starches are the inferior byproducts. This is exactly opposite to prevailing pet food mythology. When proteins, be they glutens or others, are separated from the starches in grains, the starches are the true byproducts.

The proprietary protein mix used in Epigen™ consists of the most nutritious parts of the grains and tubers from which they are derived. The starch byproducts are absent.

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Show DivI'm confused by the section in the Epigen™ ingredient list that lists the vegetable proteins and says "consisting of one or more of the following." Are you trying to mislead, or veil what is in the product?

Please presume that all of the listed vegetable proteins are in the product, though this may not be the case.

From batch to batch of Epigen™ we plan to rotate these vegetable proteins in an effort to reduce the antigenic properties of the product. The less often an animal has a particular ingredient or ingredients, the less likely he/she is to develop intolerances (allergies) to those ingredients. Rotating the vegetable proteins from batch to batch will help this cause.

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Show DivAren't vegetable proteins such as those found in Epigen™ responsible for most of the pet allergies?

The main reason for allergies and food sensitivities in pets is the exclusive feeding of one diet meal after meal. This stems from the pet food, veterinary, and nutritional industries promoting the notion of “complete and balanced” pet foods, and people believing it.

As explained elsewhere, there can be no one “complete” manufactured food because complete knowledge is not available. Relentless feeding of any one food can (epigenetically) result in allergies and sensitivities to just about anything, not just “corn,” “gluten,” etc. Unfortunately, ideas that may have a shallow basis, when repeated often enough, become lore and then, with time, axiomatic truth. When a company sees a commercial opportunity and then spreads far and wide, with advertising, slogans like “gluten free” and “Grain Free,” the fable becomes the bedrock of a belief that can take on the nature of fervent religion.

Be that as it may, yes, pets can develop allergies and sensitivities to vegetable proteins as with thousands of other ingredients. That is why for some 30 years Dr. Wysong has taught food variety and rotation.

Dr. Wysong has also argued that much of the paranoia about ingredients and allergies is based upon faulty science, i.e. testing antigens that are entirely unlike those found in a mixed processed food product. Allergies and sensitivities are in large part dependent upon the three dimensional tertiary structure of native proteins. Heat processing disrupts this structure and can recombine proteins with other ingredients such as lipids and polysaccharides. This changes antigenicity. We have thousands of cases of people coming to us claiming allergies to this or that ingredient only to find that when they feed our food with the suspect ingredient, that usually health, not allergies, results. The only way to know is to test feed. If fed as we suggest, we believe Epigen™ can be an excellent adjunct to menu planning for pets. If for some reason it is not tolerated, then of course it should not be fed. But that will not be determined by looking at the label or following preconceived biases based upon weak evidence or commercial slogans.

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Show DivAren't the vegetable proteins in Epigen™ highly processed?

“Highly processed” is another loaded word used by consumers to make delineations between, and decisions on products. The phrase does little other than create demons that have little basis in reality.

For one, what does “highly” processed even mean? How is it differentiated from low and intermediate processing? Well, that all depends on a whole range of specifics about food technology that scientists cannot even properly define, much less the public. Although it is true that whole natural foods are meritorious, that is not true for all foods. For humans and carnivorous pets, the only whole natural foods they can consume without toxicity are those they are genetically adapted to and can consume raw. That would include meats, organs, fruits, some vegetables, nuts, dairy, and honey. Essentially everything else has to be processed in order to remove or inactivate the toxins and render the components digestible.

Indeed, the history of ingredients does not always sound pleasing. But that can apply to any ingredient, including meats derived from slaughter houses. One must measure benefit versus potential harm when evaluating hot button words like “highly processed.” For example, the steps in the synthesis of amino acids and proteins may sound ghastly and a far cry from our hunter/gatherer roots. But the products have created enormous benefit and saved countless lives. Taurine, a synthetically produced amino acid in pet foods, is an example of a “highly processed” nutrient that has saved countless lives. Vitamin, mineral and other nutraceutical supplements used in humans amounts to some 154 million doses per day. During the same time (2008), not one death is reported, but hundreds of thousands of people have benefited as proven by tens of thousands of controlled scientific studies.

In summary, the vegetable proteins in Epigen™ are not “highly processed,” they are processed sufficiently to render them highly nutritious.

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Show DivIf Epigen™ is supposed to mimic the natural diet, why are there plant materials in it?

We recognize, accept, and teach that the ideal diet for any creature is that which they would find in the wild. We also believe that animals would fare best breathing fresh air, drinking natural water, having to work hard to find prey, fasting now and then, reproducing, being grounded to the real magnetic/electric Earth (not mattresses and carpet), and being bathed in natural sunlight. Short of releasing pets into the wilderness, this ideal is not going to happen. So one must compromise. The challenge is to compromise the least (see the Optimal Health Program™). No one is sure exactly what wild creatures eat in the wild or what the importance of each item is. One thing is certain, they would not be finding white bread, or steam-cleaned white meat. For many decades we have probed the scientific literature in search of ways to optimize human and animal nutrition and health. That is our purpose and what we do. We state the truth as we know it and do not simply join the parade of marketing buzzwords, or fear monger just to profit. The ingredients we use are the best we can determine based upon the facts and thirty years of feeding experience with tens of thousands of animals through multiple generations. For some of the results, click here.

We would agree that carnivores do not consume vegetation as a mainstay. They do, however, consume some, and it is proven that they can benefit from many constituents of plant materials. (For thorough documentation see the scientific monograph for our Veterinary Rx diets.)

All carnivores consume plant material by nibbling here and there and as a part of the viscera from their prey. The plant materials included in Epigen™ are a very small proportion designed to mimic what carnivores would incidentally consume (the vegetable protein part also assisting in forming the kibble). Epigen™ ingredients are chosen for the proven health benefits they provide.

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Show DivWhy use plant proteins at all? Aren't they just cheap fillers?

They are used because of their nutritional value and their ability to create a matrix around the meat so it can be formed into a kibble. This is not an attempt to merely cheapen the product. In fact, our vegetable proteins actually cost more than the meat ingredients.

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Show DivI am opposed to feeding my pet corn and I see that Epigen™ does contain corn.

Epigen™ contains vegetable proteins, including high biological value corn protein. The starch component (the true danger to health), which is unnatural to companion animals, has been removed. Some of the other beneficial components of the vegetable protein ingredients include:

Aspartic Acid
Glutamic Acid
Vitamin A
Beta Carotene
Pantothenic Acid

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Show DivI hear so much bad about corn, soy, wheat and so on. I am afraid to feed such things to my pet. Why should I not fear Epigen™?

The pet industry is filled with lore and myth because people think there is a mystery about how pets should be fed and they look for any rule of thumb that will solve the mystery. But, like all good things in life, one simple rule — like “no” this or that — does not do. Also, because the pet food industry is filled with companies vying for your dollars, they need a special bait that sets them apart to catch you. The “no corn,” “no soy,” “no wheat,” “Grain Free,” and so on are the baits being used. If the purveyors of these slogans are asked to prove with a controlled scientific study that their foods are superior, they cannot do so. The studies that do exist prove that you are wasting your money (see The Pet Food Ingredient Game) and that the new myth driven foods are no better than the old conventional ones with all the demon ingredients in them.

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Show DivHow will my pet get energy if Epigen™ is lacking in carbohydrates?

Pets can derive energy from proteins and fats. In fact, that is what they are designed to do.

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Show DivI am concerned about all the protein in a dry food. Won't it be too concentrated?

The natural diet of pets (raw prey) contains about 70% water and that constitutes a lot of the water that carnivores consume. They are also able to metabolize water out of the protein they consume. So yes, when feeding Epigen™ or any other dry food you should pay attention to water, keeping fresh clean water available at all times. Adding water to Epigen™ will also help. Mixing Epigen™ with the 95% meat Au Jus™ Wysong canned diets is good too. And don't forget to rotate the diet with canned and fresh foods as described in the Optimal Health Program™ If you follow these principles there should be no problem with high protein provided the new diet is introduced slowly and incrementally.

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