Pennington Biomedical invents pet food that can help animals lose weight, live longer

Pennington Biomedical invents pet food that can help animals lose weight, live longer
Obesity is the number one problem facing pets in the U.S., says the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. (Source: unsplash.com)

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A new pet food that uses technology invented and patented by LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center promises to speed metabolism in cats and dogs in order to help them lose weight and live longer lives.

“The animals that are on a methionine-restricted diet actually eat more, but the increase in metabolic rate more than compensates, causing the animals to lose weight,” said Dr. Thomas Gettys, professor and director of the Nutrient Sensing and Adipocyte Signaling Laboratory at Pennington.

Pennington is one of the top obesity researchers in the world and also leads the effort to understand triggers for chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, dementia, and cancer.

Dr. Gettys, along with Dr. Frank Greenway, professor and chief medical officer at Pennington, and Dr. John Finley, adjunct professor at the LSU AgCenter, created the food, which has been licensed by Slim Health Nutrition Pet Food.

Pennington says the food could help address what the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) says is the top health threat to pets: obesity. Pets with obesity face a number of problems, including type 2 diabetes, cancer, kidney disease, joint problems, and other chronic disease, APOP says. According to APOP, about 50 million dogs and 56 million cats in the U.S. are either overweight or obese.

Pennington says the food restricts methionine, an amino acid. When the liver senses a low level of methionine, it releases the hormone FGF21, which makes animals burn more calories, reduces their body fat, decreases circulating and liver fats, and increases insulin sensitivity.

Slim Health says it plans to produce dog food first, then cat food. The food is not yet available commercially. Slim Health says it’s still seeking investment for the product.

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