Although most published research didn’t mention any conflicts of
interest, many of those studies did receive funds from pet food manufacturers.
One veterinarian’s scientific literature review didn’t reveal any evidencethat grain-free cat food reduces the risk of feline obesity compared toconventional formulations. While grain-free cat foods’ influence on obesitywas the main subject of her review, she also noted that undisclosed conflictsof interest could erode consumer and veterinarian’s trust in the objectivityof many studies results.
Potential conflicts of interest in cat food research
Although most published research didn’t mention any conflicts of interest,many of those studies did receive funds from pet food manufacturers, wroteYaiza Gomez-Mejias in Veterinary Evidence. She speculated that funding couldmake some question the possible bias of the research. She didn’t claim thatthese studies actually were biased. She raised the concern that pet owners andveterinarians could perceive there to be a conflict of interest.
Since the researchers didn’t explicitly state that their funding sources couldhave influenced their results, yet their funding came from pet food companies,people could see that as an omission at best or a cover-up at worse.Considering the tendency of some consumer advocates to see conspiracy in thepet food industry, future research may benefit from explicitly stating fundingsources as potential conflicts of interest and therefore possible sources oferror. Scientists are humans too, and funding sources may have subconsciousinfluences on researchers behavior, even if they are not explicitly cookingthe books and claiming cold fusion.
Grain-free cat food and obesity
As for the actually research review, or Knowledge Summary as Veterinaryevidence called it, Gomez-Mejias found no published research on the role ofgrain-free diets in preventing obesity in cats. However, she did find researchthat suggested grain did not contribute to obesity in cats. Ultimately, sheconcluded that more research was need comparing grain-free and conventionalcat food formulations’ influence on cat obesity.
Source:Tim Wall Petfood Industry
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