Do you feed your pets peas day in and day out? Do you even know if they’re in your bag or can of pet food? Well if you figured it out and are feeding peas, you’ll want to read the latest research from Dr. Jean Dodds:

“Food intolerances/sensitivities are typically chronic conditions that build up over time—perhaps even after months or years of exposure to the offending ingredient(s)—and they often do not involve an immunological response.

Although they are generally not life threatening, food intolerances/sensitivities can affect many different aspects of a pet’s physical and emotional wellbeing. Common signs  include:

  • GI tract issues similar to IBD.
  • Chronic itching.
  • Chronic burping and gas rumblings (borborigmi).
  • Chronic skin, ear and foot infections (especially with the presence of yeast).

Peas, which are a legume (the seeds of plants), are the so-called “answer ingredient” for consumers who are demanding grain-free dog and cat food formulas.

According to the Petfood Industry Community: “[…] the lowly pea (Pisum sativum) has been gaining in popularity. Not to be confused with the fresh or succulent green pea, the type that is being used in an ever widening array of applications is the dried pea.”

these pet foods have concentrated pea proteins and, when fed on a daily basis, have the potential to tear up the digestive tract and lead to inflammatory disease

So what is the main problem with your pet consuming too many dried peas?

The lectins in the peas! “Lectins are sugar-binding proteins that act as natural insecticides and fungicides to protect plants from predators.

Lectins are sticky molecules, enabling them to effectively bind to their sugars. The problem is that this stickiness can also cause lectins to bind onto the lining of the small intestine. This can cause damage to the intestinal lining, including disruption of the intestinal villi, resulting in a decreased ability to absorb nutrients. Lectin can also harm the gut microflora, the trillions of beneficial bacteria that live inside the mucosal tissue lining of the gut, resulting in leaky gut syndrome (Sisson, 2013).” – CanineNutrigenomics, 2015

Kimberly Kalander explains:

“Once lectins from the peas are in the blood stream they can attach themselves to tissues such as joints, thyroid, pancreas, and the intestinal villi therefore blocking the absorption of nutrients at a cellular level. The body’s immune system can then send out antibodies to attack the protein along with the tissue it is attached to.

Researchers believe this inflammatory process can lead to a multitude of inflammatory diseases including thyroid, diabetes, arthritis, and cardiovascular disease. These conditions are quite the opposite of what we have been taught about the musical fruit. The fact that legumes cause so much gas should have given us a clue as to their ability to disrupt the gut. I am not saying that a bowl of legumes here and there will cause havoc. Consider this: these pet foods have concentrated pea proteins and, when fed on a daily basis, have the potential to tear up the digestive tract and lead to inflammatory disease.”

Remember, the pet food manufacturer cannot get kibble to stick without starch. At 410g of starch per KG, peas seem like the golden answer in manufacturing kibble, especially a grain-free one at that! However, seeing our pets were not designed, on an evolutionary level, to consume peas daily, you may want to consider the information above when selecting a good food for your pet.

Want to know what else are full of lectins? Wheat, beans, soy and corn! So you may want to watch for those on an ingredient panel as well!

If you ask me, well, nothing beats a fresh food diet and if you are hell bent on adding peas, at least you can control the level of fresh organic peas you might want to add into your pet’s bowl!

Rodney Habib