الإثنين 27 مايو 2024

Low Starch Diets: Manage Carbohydrates to Your Horse's Best Advantage

موقع أيام نيوز

The past century has seen big changes in the role of horses in our society. Prior to World War I horses were an essential part of our lives and were quite literally the horse power that turned the wheels of our economy. In the largely agrarian society of the day horses were found everywhere in their capacity as beasts of burden. Horses 100 years ago worked for a living and were rarely ever obese and frequently they did not live long after their functional life ceased.
In the 21st century our horses no longer occupy the same roles. Today horses commonly serve as our companions and partners in sport and recreation. In general our horses receive plentiful food and minimal activity and consequently we are seeing in them metabolic issues and diseases that were unheard of 100 years ago.
Some help for these problems may be found in a low starch diet.
Parallels between Human and Equine Health



The increase in the incidence of equine metabolic diseases such as Equine Metabolic Syndrome EMS Insulin Resistance IR and Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction PPID or Cushings disease is considered by many equine researchers to directly relate to the increasing number of senior underactive and overfed horses.
We know that as in human nutrition not only are excess calories a problem for our horses the type of calories consumed is also important. Many equine nutritionists and veterinarians are urging us to avoid starches and sugar in our horses diets choosing instead diets consisting of fibre sources such as good quality hay with fat sources being used to increase energy intake if necessary.
Digestive Function
Horses are considered anatomically to be nonruminant herbivores or hindgut fermenters. They have evolved on a diet of a variety of carbohydrates from simple sugars to more complex sugars and starches and ultimately complex polysaccharides called fibre.


Simple carbohydrate sources such as the sugar and starch found in grains and fresh pasture grass are digested in the horses stomach and small intestine to become the primary carbohydrate glucose. Glucose is essential for life and is absorbed through the wall of the small intestine into the bloodstream. Increasing blood glucose levels stimulates the pancreas to secrete a hormone called insulin. Insulin facilitates the transport of glucose out of the blood into the tissues of the animal where it is either used immediately for energy for performance or growth or stored as either glycogen or body fat for future energy