The Science Diet Adult Light Formula is one of the numerous cat formulas in the market that promises to help your cat to lead light weight healthy lifestyle. According to the makers of this formula, this cat food contains at least 23% fewer calories compared to other formulas, and it is also said to contain vegetable fiber and L-carnitine which aids in burning excess body fat.
Is this formula as effective as it is said to be?
Ingredients in Adult Light
Chicken, Whole Grain Wheat, Brewers Rice, Corn Gluten Meal, Wheat Gluten, Powdered Cellulose, Pork Fat, Chicken Liver Flavor, Dried Beet Pulp, Lactic Acid, Calcium Carbonate, Choline Chloride, Potassium Chloride, L-Lysine, DL-Methionine, Iodized Salt, Soybean Oil, Taurine, vitamins (L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid), minerals (Zinc Oxide, Ferrous Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Calcium Iodate, Manganous Oxide, Sodium Selenite), L-Carnitine, Oat Fiber, Calcium Sulfate, Mixed Tocopherols for freshness, Beta-Carotene, Phosphoric Acid, Natural Flavors, Dried Broccoli, Dried Carrots, Dried Apples, Dried Cranberries, Dried Peas.
A review of the first five ingredients
Chicken is a very popular ingredient for pet food and in this case, they are referring to whole chicken. This is a very high quality meat source and we are pleased to see it listed. However, whole chicken loses about 80% of its content during the cooking process since the majority of whole chicken is water. After the cooking process is complete, the amount of whole chicken remaining is substantially reduced. Therefor, while whole chicken is a great source of meat protein, this ingredient alone is not enough to provide sufficient levels of meat protein in a cats diet.
Whole Grain Wheat
Whole grain wheat is a grain based product that may cause some digestion issues. In addition it is also a known food allergen for many cats. Grain based ingredients like this one are usually used by pet food companies because it is a cheap way to boost the protein percentage of the food. That said, it provides almost no nutrition for cats because cats do not have a digestive system designed for plant based proteins or nutrients. They are designed to consume and process meats. While this isn’t a bad ingredient in moderation, in higher quantities, it usually reflects a lower quality cat food.
Brewers rice is the small milled fragments of rice kernels that have been separated from the larger kernels of milled rice. It is a processed rice product that is missing many of its nutrients, but does provide a source of carbohydrates. It is a by-product of rice milling and considered a lower quality filler ingredient usually used in lower priced cat food blends. Usually, brewers rice is used to make rice flour, but if the quality is too poor for rice flour, it will then be sold to pet food or dairy feed companies. For many cats, this ingredient can cause allergies or digestion issues. Most cats will not have any problems processing this food, but it’s not one of the better ingredients, either.
Corn Gluten Meal
This is the dried residue from corn after the removal of the larger part of the starch and germ, and the separation of the bran by the process employed in the wet milling manufacture of corn starch or syrup, or by enzymatic treatment of the endosperm. The expression “corn gluten” is colloquial jargon that describes corn proteins that are neither gliadin nor glutenin. Only wheat, barley, rye and oat contain true gluten. For the most part, this ingredient is normally only found in cheaper “grocery store brand” cat foods. Corn is frequently used as a filler ingredient to help make your cat feel more full, but it does not add much of anything to the nutritional value in the food. In addition, this is a common allergen for many cats and corn based ingredients can often be difficult for cats to digest. That’s why we can’t recommend this food for cats with food allergies or sensitive digestive systems.
Powdered cellulose is a cheap filler ingredient. It is obtain as a pulp from fibrous plant material and highly refined. Once processed, it looks and feels very similar to sawdust. Cellulose is used in a wide number of ways. In addition to being added to pet food, it is used quite a bit in human foods, but can also be used for things like insulation, rope making, and textiles. Just like in humans, this ingredient is indigestible for cats. There is no hard evidence to suggest this ingredient is unhealthy, but it wouldn’t be considered a higher quality ingredient, either.
Other ingredients in the formula
We don’t think any grain is “good” for your cat. It doesn’t mean wheat gluten is “bad” for your cat, either, but the fact it provides almost no nutritional value makes us question the quality of the ingredient. Wheat gluten can be a decent protein source for animals with digestive systems that can break it down, but as obligate carnivores, cats are not one of those animals. Their digestive systems produce only the enzymes necessary for processing animal-based proteins. There are also some allergy risks associated with wheat gluten. In addition, too much of this in a cats diet can potentially lead to weight gain and diabetes. Unfortunately, diabetes in cats is a very serious health problem, so it is important to keep a close eye on your cats weight and diabetic risk when feeding a cat food containing ingredients like wheat gluten.
Oat fiber is produced from food-grade oat hulls and is mostly added for texture and binding purposes. It is sometimes used to help give food a lighter and browner color as well. Cats and dogs have no absolute physiologic need for this ingredient, although animals eating processed commercial foods appear to benefit from the addition of fiber.
Apples are an excellent source of dietary fiber. About 81% of the fiber is soluble; most of it is of a type called pectin. Apples provide both soluble and insoluble fiber, some vitamin C and beta carotene, and potassium and boron. While cats are obligate carnivores, in nature they almost always eat the stomach contents of their prey. Frequently, the stomach contents contain fruits and vegetables. So while fruits like apples may not be essential to your cats diet, they do appear to have positive benefit for both our pets at home as well as wild cats. In minor cases, some cats can form a stomach discomfort from apples, but in most cases, this ingredient should pose no problems.
Dried Broccoli, Dried Carrots, Dried Cranberries, Dried Peas
Wild cats like lions, tigers, cheetahs, leopards, jaguars, and other big cats in the wild almost always eat the stomach contents of their prey. Ingredients like these are often found. So while cats are obligate carnivores, they are adapt to eating undigested or partially digested fruits and vegetables. In lower quantities, these ingredients can assist with digestion and provide other nutrients.
Can this formula cause allergies to my cat?
This formula does contain some common allergens. It is, therefore, unsuitable for cats with allergies.
Ingredients not to feed your cat on
Wheat, soy and corn – All three of these ingredients are known allergens for many cats. In addition, many cats have problems digesting these grain based ingredients. Since cats are obligate carnivores, their digestive systems are designed to digest meat and not grains. All of these ingredients will help to boost the protein percentage in cat food, but not all protein is created equally. Cats do not digest plant based proteins in the same way as meat proteins and in fact, gain little to no nutritional value from these grains. Several “grocery store brand” cat foods include these products to keep the price down as it is a cheap filler to help make your cat feel full as well as a cheap way to add protein to the food.
Animal by-products – One of the worst meat ingredients found in pet food today is animal by product. It’s true that this ingredient provides a very high amount of meat protein that cats need to thrive. However, animal by products are considered to be the lowest form of meat and it isn’t even approved for human consumption. Animal by-products are carcasses and parts of carcasses from slaughterhouses, animal shelters, zoos and veterinarians, and products of animal origin not intended for human consumption, including catering waste. Legally, this ingredient can even contain roadkill or euthanized animals. This ingredient may also contain what is called “4D meat” which is what the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) calls cattle that is dead, dying, disabled or diseased. This meat is considered unfit for human consumption, but is typically found in many pet food products. This is not something we recommend you feed your cat or any other pet.
Gluten – This ingredient is associated with causing allergies in cats. It is also known to raise sugar levels in cats. Over time, this can lead to diabetes. Gluten refers to the proteins found in wheat endosperm which is a type of tissue produced in seeds that’s ground to make flour. Many pet food manufactures will use this ingredient to help boost the protein percentage of the food.
Unfortunately, this formula contains some of these harmful ingredients.
The Adult Light Dry Formula is a below average formula. It contains allergens which makes it unsuitable for allergy prone cats. However, it also contains vegetables and weight management ingredients. You should steer clear from this formula if your cat is prone to food sensitivities.