Ingredient Spotlight: Beet Pulp

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions that we get about Beet Pulp. We invite you to read this ingredient spotlight as we answer those questions and discuss the reasons why we use beet pulp in our Precise Naturals pet foods and consider it to be an excellent source of fiber.

Q: Is beet pulp bad for my pets?
A: No. Beet pulp is probably the most misunderstood ingredient in pet foods today. Most people who believe it to be an undesirable ingredient don’t understand the function of beet pulp in pet food. Misinformation that was started many years ago has spread over the years, via the internet, and caused a movement to get beet pulp removed from pet foods. The information has no scientific basis. It is a myth.

Q: What is beet pulp and where does it come from?
A: First of all, beet pulp is not the same as garden beets. Sugar beets are commercially grown for the production of sugar. After the raw sugar is extracted, the remaining product is beet pulp, which is valuable as a source of fiber and energy and is widely used in commercial pet foods. There is very little, or no sugar remaining in the pulp.

Q: Isn’t beet pulp just a cheap filler that has no nutritive value?
A: No. While beet pulp is a readily available and therefore, affordable source of fiber, it is not just a filler. Fillers serve no purpose other than adding weight. It is true that beet pulp does not contain vitamins or minerals, per se, but it serves a specific purpose in pet foods. Beet pulp is often recommended as one of the best sources of fiber for pets.

Q: What are the benefits of beet pulp?
A: Beet pulp is a moderately fermentable, mostly insoluble fiber that adds bulk and moisture to animal stools while providing an energy source that can improve the health of the colon. This natural fermentable vegetable fiber is a food source (prebiotic) for pre-existing beneficial bacteria in the gut. In other words, it helps the good bacteria flourish and grow to create a healthy gut and that aids digestion. It is also helps to promote firm stools by adding bulk, which allows it to move through the digestive tract at a rate that insures maximum digestion and absorption of nutrients. This benefit is a contributing factor to the high digestibility of our pet foods. In cats, this aids in the prevention of hairballs.

Q: Will beet pulp turn my dog’s coat red or cause his saliva and tears to be red?
A: No. This is a myth that has generated momentum over the years, via the internet. However, we believe there is no scientific basis to support this. It is important to know that sugar beets are white in color, and that beet pulp that is used for fiber is actually gray in color and has no flavor.

Q: Does the presence of saponins in beet pulp cause bloat?
A: No. Saponins are chemical compounds that are found in over 100 plant families including most vegetables, beans, legumes, etc. They have the unique ability to form a stable foam and are actually added to many human products such as beer and root beer. Like many chemicals found in plants, saponins can be beneficial in small amounts but dangerous in large amounts. While micro-amounts are present in many pet foods, saponins provide health-enhancing benefits. For example, the ability to aid digestion and decrease of fecal odor. There is no documented proof that saponins cause bloat.

Q: Can beet pulp clog the villi in the small intestine?
A: No. There are no scientific studies that support this theory, but there are several studies that support the beneficial properties that beet pulp has in promoting a healthy digestive system. The villi are the finger-like structures in the lining of the small intestine that facilitate the rapid absorption and digestion of nutrients. When they become blocked, the culprit is not beet pulp, but usually the result of an insufficient or total lack of a probiotic colony in the gut. Another cause is the use of bentonite, an edible clay, that is sometimes used as a filler in cheap dog foods.

Q: Do you make any pet foods that are free of beet pulp?
A: Yes. Our entire holistic line of pet foods, Precise Holistic Complete®, uses citrus fiber instead of beet pulp. However, it is more expensive than beet pulp. But it offers an excellent alternative to beet pulp for those people who want to avoid it. Our Precise Naturals® line, which is our flagship brand, contains beet pulp. We would not use it if we were not convinced that it is safe and beneficial to pets.

 

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