Monday, June 07, 2010

Is Dietary Fat Really Healthy? - Full Article

by: Ray Geor, BVSc, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM
November 01 2002, Article # 3895

Marketing claims regarding the virtues of fat in equine diets are plentiful. Statements such as "Added dietary fat for improved performance," "Increased stamina," "Calm energy," or "Improved coat and hoof condition" abound. Indeed, at times it is easy to conclude that an increase in dietary fat is the solution to anything that ails a horse--the proverbial "best thing since sliced bread." Contrast this sentiment with the prevailing attitude toward dietary fat among human nutritionists and physicians. Diets high in saturated fat and cholesterol have long been associated with the development of coronary heart disease (when deposits of fat and cholesterol cause a narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to the heart, resulting in damage to the heart muscle). High-fat diets have also been blamed for the current epidemic in obesity throughout the Western world. However, this issue is hotly debated, and there now is evidence that consumption of excess sugar, rather than fat, underlies the tendency to gain weight.

Should we have similar concerns regarding dietary fat for horses?

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