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Excerpt Reprinted from WASHINGTON POST.COM

Corn May Contribute to Pets' Diabetes

Dear Dr. Fox:

I just finished reading your column about the diabetic cat. I found it especially interesting, as I've been wondering why there is so much cornmeal, corn gluten and other corn ingredients in cat food. I've never seen a cat stalking an ear of corn.

I think the corn in pet foods has a lot to do with the prevalence of diabetes in animals (and humans, what with all the high-fructose corn syrup found in many of our foods). I've switched my 12-year-old neutered male cat Harvey over to Innova EVO.

Is the added corn in many commercial cat foods a concern? If so, how can cat and dog food companies, in good conscience, tout their products as being healthful?

-- N.D. La Plata

Corn, cornmeal, corn gluten, cornstarch and corn syrup are cheap ingredients in a host of processed human and pet foods.

The high corn and corn-byproduct content of many pet foods is a concern, and I believe it contributes to the high incidence of diabetes in dogs and cats. Plus, many cats are allergic to corn, and inflammatory bowel disease is one possible consequence.

You ask how pet food manufacturers can, "in good conscience, tout their product as being healthy." The same question can be asked of manufacturers and processors of human food. Just look at the sugar-loaded breakfast cereals. "Good conscience" and corporate profits are so disconnected that I advocate greater consumer responsibility, as per my book "Eating With Conscience: The Bioethics of Food" (New Sage Press, 1997). And that goes for what we feed all our family members -- four-legged as well as two-legged.

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