Can Beans Help Manage Weight in Dogs?

What is in Beans?

Soybeans, alfalfa sprouts, bean sprouts, mung and green beans and cowpeas contain chemicals known as isoflavones. Many know of these naturally occurring chemicals for their antioxidant activity. The isoflavones found in the bean family have estrogen-like qualities. It turns out that those same isoflavones increase the daily energy expenditure in dogs and helps reduce body fat even without restricted calorie intake.

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A Dog Study

A recent study looked at neutered Labrador Retrievers, a dog breed with a known propensity to gain weight after sexual alteration. Two groups of dogs were fed a generous daily amount of food (25% more than their calculated calorie requirement for 9 months) containing identical amounts of protein, carbohydrates, fat and calories. The difference was that one group had isoflavones in their diet and the other group did not.

The isoflavone group had significant increases in daily energy expenditure and much less body fat compared to the non-isoflavone group. Researchers attributed the findings to the estrogen-like hormone activity of isoflavones.

Beans and Bean Products in Your Dog’s Diet

Sexual alteration is known to be a risk factor for obesity in pets. The removal of the estrogen and testosterone are thought to alter metabolism and reduce the overall activity levels of neutered pets. The findings in this study suggest that replacing these hormones with plant based estrogen-like chemicals may help manage your dog’s weight after surgical neutering.

Green and mung beans, soybeans, cowpeas, tofu (a soybean cake) and humus (a soybean spread) can easily be fed as treats or incorporated into the overall diet. Why not try it? What has your dog got to lose besides weight?

~Dr Ken Tudor

THE DOG DIETITIAN

Homemade Dog Food Recipes and Supplements

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