Over a period of 10 years, from 1932 to 1942, in a strictly controlled experiment involving 900 cats, Francis Pottenger Jr, M.D., proved the importance of feeding raw food to animals. The study was conducted within the most rigorous scientific standards of the day, and the pathological and chemical findings were also supervised by Alvin G. Foord, M.D., professor of pathology at the University of Southern California and pathologist at the Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena.
Dr. Pottenger found a startling contrast in health between cats fed a cooked food diet and cats fed a raw food diet. The cats on a raw food diet thrived in good health. They reproduced easily and their kittens were uniform in size and vigor. The cats that were fed cooked food swiftly deteriorated in health, until, by the third generation, they could no longer reproduce. These cats suffered from behavior problems, allergies, skin problems, parasites, skeletal deformities, organ malfunctions (including those of the heart, thyroid, kidney, liver, testes, ovaries, and bladder), and inflammation of the nervous system.
When the first- and second-generation cooked-food cats were placed on a raw food diet, it took four generations for their line to recover from the ill effects of consuming cooked food. The study found that when a female cat was fed cooked diet even for only 12 to 18 months, she was unable to give birth to normal kittens. But, when her kittens were placed on a raw food diet, a gradual regeneration took place. Dr. Pottenger's theory proved true: that heat alters raw food, with a negative effect on health.
Biologists have yet to discover any wild carnivore that cooks its food. A carnivore's body has been designed to derive its needed nutrients from raw food. Many successful zoos and captive habitats have discovered that they cannot keep their animals healthy and able to reproduce unless they are fed raw food. Cooking and heat processing actually changes the molecular structure of food, binding food molecules tighter together. This makes them more difficult to digest and transform them into "foreign" or unfamiliar food.
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Cooked food takes longer to digest and therefore requires more of the animal's energy. Heat also destroys enzymes and antioxidants, which are very important for good health. In fact, enzymes are very important for every biochemical activity in your dog's or cat's body. And, unfortunately, the body has a limited supply of its own enzymes. It is designed to consume enzymes in raw food. When the pancreas is called upon to produce enzymes because the ingested cooked food has none, the pancreas gets enlarged and works harder than it is designed to. When stressed, the pancreas sends white blood cells or leukocytes, to the digestive system to aid in digestion. But when the leukocytes use their enzymatic activity to aid in digestion, they are less able to help destroy bacteria and foreign invaders in the body. This impairs the immune system.
There are many biochemical interactions that occur within the body, creating necessary nutrients such some of B vitamins and vitamin K. Cooked food interferes with these normal proccesses. Studies have found that when food is cooked at high temperatures, cancer-forming compounds develop which interfere with the body's genetic structure. Heat also destroys many vital amino acids, vitamins and minerals, some of which are yet to be discovered.
Cooking food also transforms its essential fatty acids, which are so named because they are essential to your pet's health. They must come from food sources. When essential fatty acids are heated or exposed to light or oxygen, they become trans-fats -- dangerous toxins that weaken your pet. Research confirms that trans-fats have a detrimental effect on the reproductive system, immune system, cell membranes, cardiovascular system and liver function. Trans-fats also do not provide good transport throughout the body for fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin A and E.