Raw vs. Cooked

This is the place to share your best homemade dog food and treat recipes with each other! Remember to use caution if your pet has allergies and to make any diet changes gradually so that your dog's stomach can adjust to the new foods you are introducing.

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Macho Mutt
Barked: Fri Nov 4, '11 10:15pm PST 
thanks for all the input.. wow, when I started this journey of learning about raw feeding I never imagined I would spend so much time reading and researching and learning!
Addy, CGC

Let's go for a- walk!
Barked: Sat Nov 5, '11 1:21am PST 
This is my guess out of thinned air. Did human start cooking meat because of the religion? Almost all religion states, at the least, no eating the blood of mammals I believe? I think that was mainly because human got disease from raw meat.

Cooking started with homo erectus.

The first evidence of symbolic thought--without which religion isn't even a possibility--is at least 30-50,000 years after physically fully modern homo sapiens emerged.

Bans on consuming blood are rare, not something "nearly all religions" have.

As unwelcome as the idea is to some, humans started cooking food, both meat and veggies, because it breaks down the internal structures that resist digestion, and renders both otherwise-indigestible portions of the carcass and hard-to-digest vegetation more digestible, thus creating a greater amount of usable food.

Not the ideal time of day for turning on the brain and digging out references, but The Energetic Significance of Cooking, Rachel N. Carmody, Richard W. Wrangham, Journal of Human Evolution, 57(2009)379-391, covers some of the issues. That's a full-text PDF, so those who want to can read the whole paper.

The abstract:
While cooking has long been argued to improve the diet, the nature of the improvement has not been well defined. As a result, the evolutionary significance of cooking has variously been proposed as being substantial or relatively trivial. In this paper, we evaluate the hypothesis that an important and consistent effect of cooking food is a rise in its net energy value. The pathways by which cooking influences net energy value differ for starch, protein, and lipid, and we therefore consider plant and animal foods separately. Evidence of compromised physiological performance among individuals on raw diets
supports the hypothesis that cooked diets tend to provide energy. Mechanisms contributing to energy being gained from cooking include increased digestibility of starch and protein, reduced costs of
digestion for cooked versus raw meat, and reduced energetic costs of detoxification and defence against pathogens. If cooking consistently improves the energetic value of foods through such mechanisms, its
evolutionary impact depends partly on the relative energetic benefits of non-thermal processing methods used prior to cooking. We suggest that if non-thermal processing methods such as pounding were used by Lower Palaeolithic Homo, they likely provided an important increase in energy gain over unprocessed raw diets. However, cooking has critical effects not easily achievable by non-thermal processing, including the relatively complete gelatinisation of starch, efficient denaturing of proteins, and killing of food borne pathogens. This means that however sophisticated the non-thermal processing methods were, cooking would have conferred incremental energetic benefits. While much remains to be
discovered, we conclude that the adoption of cooking would have led to an important rise in energy availability. For this reason, we predict that cooking had substantial evolutionary significance.
! 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

The effects of cooking on digestibility are a matter of the physical effects of cooking on food, and completely separate from such issues as just not having the right enzymes to digest milk, having longer or shorter intestines giving the body more time to process more challenging foods like most vegetables and grains, or dogs being better designed for digesting meat than we are.

It's an overall effect; however good you are at digesting the food raw, cooking makes it somewhat easier to digest.

However, digestibility is not the only issue in food choice. Within rational limits, of course. Most of us are not concerned about keeping weight on our dogs if they are basically healthy dogs; keeping weight off is a far more common concern.

This means that for healthy dogs, greater digestibility/more efficiently getting energy from food is not an unmixed blessing.

And because dogs are better designed for digesting meat, and can get or manufacture from a good raw diet without veggies all the nutrients they need, the benefits of cooking are not as great, the loss of nutrients in cooking, while much less of an issue than it's usually made out to be, is more significant for dogs than humans, and so if you cook your dog's diet, you need to make sure you're supplementing appropriately.

I'm triple- superior MAD- now!
Barked: Sat Nov 5, '11 8:36am PST 
I suspect one reason the potential loss of nutrients isn't important is because we have to provide more than required to get enough calories into the dog anyway. When you are using fresh foods with the associated minerals and vitamins to provide those calories the potentially destroyed nutrients are in more than adequate supply. Max only requires something like 10 grams of fat and 25 grams of protein a day but that would only be about 200 calories a day and he needs more that he gets from fresh meats that are rich in minerals and vitamins. If we only provide the minimum required amount of fat and protein then we scramble to find the required vitamins and minerals with pills and powders or grains and veggies that can supply them.


Vaccine free- -Disease free- goes pawinpaw
Barked: Sat Nov 5, '11 9:31am PST 
Addy there are restrictions about meat in every religion I can think ofshrug Blood was one example I gave. I think that's for Judism and early Christianity. But in another thread a dogster pointed out that "Homo erecutus may have used fire to a very limited extent some 300,000 years ago, but the evidence is sparse and questionable. Fire's general use, according to both paleontological and archaeolgical records, began only about 40,000 to 50,000 years ago." So religion, especially ones like paganism, might really be plausable for an excuse why meat was cooked. As I said though, this is all my guess, and another one like I also said would be cooking due to diseased meat or getting sick from it.

Maxwell about what you said that dogs have a plastic DNA so different diets can be better for different dogs? It's so hard to know though because I mean dogs can be eating garbage and unbalanced and unhealthy and still not show signs for a long time. Like on other forums if someone asks what good dog dry food is, a person might say they have been feeding X badbrand and "my dog looks and acts great" for years, and it's obvious that X brand isn't healthy except for some vitamins and bulk. I'm not arguing just pondering how amazing dogs are! I think at least some dogs can go a long time without signs that their diet isn't the best.

And if anyone's reading this thread and confused by now (lol) one way to know what is right for dogs is to just look at how they are inside. The anatomy and physiology of a dog is still designed best for raw meat, but can still thrive on homecooked.

Edited by author Sat Nov 5, '11 9:35am PST


Barked: Sat Nov 5, '11 11:14am PST 
. Fire's general use, according to both paleontological and archaeolgical records, began only about 40,000 to 50,000 years ago." So religion, especially ones like paganism, might really be plausable for an excuse why meat was cooked.
Ok maybe they know that fire's general use began 40,000 to 50,000 years ago but how could they possibly know the reasons why people did what they did back then. Maybe religion has nothing to do with cooking meat. Who knows maybe it was a total accident.Maybe somebody was carrying some meat and they tripped and the meat fell onto the fire and then they removed it from the fire and ate it and liked the taste of it. I know that sounds real dumb but how could anybody possibly know why people did the things they did that long ago.
Sorry for the dumb postshrug
Stella- "Blue"

Puttin' my freak- on!
Barked: Sun Nov 6, '11 2:46pm PST 
I've done both, but I was having difficulty finding everything I needed to make a raw diet well rounded enough. I still feed raw here and there, but I find it easier to organize with home cooked. I personally think raw is the best if you can get it down, BUT I think home cooked is a very close second. In either case, whole foods are always better than highly processed foods. I look at "dog food" as the occasional back up no different than I would use a can of soup or bowl of cereal... works in a pinch, I make the healthiest choice I can, but try not to make it a habit and still with whole foods... besides, I enjoy cooking so it's fun to whip up meals for the puppers. Either case, read up on nutrition a bit, but don't get too obsessed in details... balance over time, not necessarily each meal.

ETA "This is my guess out of thinned air. Did human start cooking meat because of the religion? Almost all religion states, at the least, no eating the blood of mammals I believe? I think that was mainly because human got disease from raw meat." Addy covered it pretty well, but wanted to add... keep in mind, Homo erectus and early humans that began cooking their meat, they didn't have refrigeration and definitely had to contend with bacteria buildup in their food, so this would more likely be the source, BUT Homo erectus was likely NOT a hunter (based on the tool record, not very advanced, basically a hand axe they could use to cut things already dead) and were more likely scavenger, and most likely were scavenging things like marrow from bones (based on finds showing tools and cracked open bones... some of my own speculation, but I've put a lot of time on the subject as I teach human evolution and ancient civilizations... Homo erectus left no traces to suggest religion, there is no proof they used fire for cooking specifically either, most likely it was used to keep warm as they did live in areas where there were glaciers, and cooking does make food taste better,but as for evidence of religion (based on burials) this did not occur until Neanderthal and then Cro-magnon.

Edited by author Sun Nov 6, '11 2:57pm PST


Vaccine free- -Disease free- goes pawinpaw
Barked: Mon Nov 7, '11 10:46am PST 
Stella thanks for explaining that!

Member Since
Barked: Wed Nov 30, '11 12:02pm PST 
So, this question may sound ignorant, but i'm new to learning about the Raw food diet - could one partially cook the meat (but not fully) and feed it that way, or would that just increase growth of bacteria if it didn't actually come to boiling temperature?

Or, could one mix cooked food with high quality kibble to ensure the necessary nutrients? What about mixing it with raw food?

I'm triple- superior MAD- now!
Barked: Wed Nov 30, '11 2:53pm PST 
If you partly cook the meat, cool and serve within half an hour or so then bacteria shouldn't have a chance to get going. Not sure what the advantage would be doing it though.

Do serve the cooking liquid too and please feed as much fat as your dog tolerates, no picking all the skin and bits of fat out. Big globs, cut out if you like but kibble is like eating a human diet food fat wise - usually 20-30% fat by calories. Max does much better with a lot more fat than that.

It depends on the dog whether mixing dry and cooked or dry and raw works. You can do either if it works for you and the dog. Just start with only a taste of a given food and increase to about 25% of the balanced kibble calories. As in your dog eats 1000 calories a day, you can offer up 750 calories of kibble and 250 of meaty stuff, raw or cooked and not be concerned with balancing the diet at all.
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