8 Reasons You Should Eat Like Your Dog
Have you ever read a dog diet guide and thought, hey, that sounds like it could work for me? Okay, chances are you’re not going to supplement your meals with raw meat or straight fish oil. But when it comes to healthy eating, dogs and humans have a lot in common!
Read on to discover how your dog’s diet guidelines can work for you, too.
Dog Diet Advice for Humans
It’s based on real research, but the advice provided in this post is just for fun! Speak to your doctor and/or vet about specific diet questions related to you or your dog.
Eat whole foods
The first rule of healthy eating: eat real food. When it comes to dogs, that means minimally processed food with identifiable ingredients. Single-source proteins, fresh veggies, healthy carbs: sounds pretty good, right? Well, all that stuff is good for humans, too.
Obviously, you won’t be chowing down on your dog’s premium grain-free kibble. But you can follow their lead in eating real food that hasn’t been over-processed.
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When we say “no fillers” for dog food, we’re talking about starchy, carb-rich stuff used to bulk up food without adding nutritional value. Corn and potatoes are often cited as nutritionless fillers—they may fill a tummy, but they don’t offer much fuel.
Guess what: humans benefit from the same guidelines. Don’t fill up on starchy carbs. Instead, pack your plate with vitamin-rich leafy greens, whole grains, and lean proteins. And try swapping white potatoes for sweet potatoes—you can even share some with your dog!
Get plenty of protein
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Dogs thrive on meat. In fact, they need it to survive. Humans don’t require animal flesh, but even if you’re vegetarian (I am!), you should fuel your body with healthy proteins.
Some healthy proteins you and your dog can share include lean cuts of beef, chicken, and turkey. And don’t forget sustainable fish to get your Omega-3s! If you don’t eat meat, just choose whole foods whenever possible. That includes eggs, legumes, quinoa, and more.
Grain-free? Well, at least watch your carbs
Your dog can live well on grain-free diets, getting their necessary carbs from healthy binders like sweet potatoes and legumes. Most humans, on the other hand, shouldn’t go completely grain-free. But both dogs and humans benefit from eating whole grains instead of processed.
Whole grains like brown rice, oats, and whole wheat often show up on dog food labels, and they happen to be healthy for people, too. In fact, switching to whole grains can extend your life! They’re full of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and help keep cholesterol and blood pressure in check. So, next time you’re craving pasta, consider a whole wheat blend.
Choose good fats
Dogs with too much fat in their diet are at risk for pancreatitis, in addition to becoming overweight. That’s why it’s so important to watch their fat intake, especially as they age. But that doesn’t mean no fat. In fact, it’s is a necessary component of dog food.
A balanced dog diet should be comprised of about 10 to 15 percent fat. Fat provides energy, increases the absorption of certain vitamins, helps maintain healthy skin and coat, and makes food taste good.
Guess what? Fat does all the same stuff for you. For humans, it’s all about choosing the right fats. That means olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, legumes, and lean cuts of meat.
Sodium is a necessary mineral for humans and dogs, helping the body perform certain functions like regulate blood pressure, transmit nerve impulses, and maintain the acid/base balance in the body (source). However, too much sodium in the diet can cause dangerous imbalances.
For humans, cutting back on salt has been proven to lower blood pressure and reduces the chances of heart attack or stroke. So, be like your dog: stick to an appropriate amount of sodium.
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Dogs and humans both need carbohydrates for energy. But carbs that come from refined sugar are no good. Too much sugar can cause inflammation of joints and connective tissues. Plus, refined sugar is largely empty calories with no nutritional value. It causes weight gain, cavities, metabolic imbalances, and in the long term, too much sugar can lead to diabetes.
Now, I’m not about to give up the occasional sweet treat. But take a cue from your dog, and limit the amount of sugar in your diet.
There’s a reason most people don’t free-feed their dogs: if they have open access, they’ll just keep eating! Properly portioned food, given at appropriate meal times, keeps your dog energized and fit.
Turns out, those guidelines work for humans, too. Whether you eat three square meals a day, or six smaller meals and snacks spread throughout, set meals and proper portions will keep you satiated and healthy.
Enjoy your food (and have a treat once in a while)
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A post shared by Stacey Collier (@stacey.collier) on Mar 2, 2018 at 3:41am PST
Let’s be real: dogs. LOVE. food. Mine do, anyhow. And they’re not self-conscious about eating. Dogs eat when they’re fed, and don’t worry about how one liver treat will impact their waistline, or whether an evening meal will change the number on the scale.
Increasingly, human nutrition experts agree that “dieting” is ineffective. However, sustainable eating habits, not built on restriction, can leave you healthier and happier over time. So, be like your dog: eat a balanced diet. Get the nutrition you need, and try not to overdo it on the stuff you don’t. Mostly, try to enjoy your food, and don’t deny yourself the occasional treat.
If there’s one diet tip you should take from your dog, it’s this: eat your food, and enjoy it. And remember, a good meal is made better by sharing it with a friend!