When performance in paramount, consistency is crucial and maintaining consistent starch and sugar levels is essential. Achieving correct sugar and starch levels is not always about which feed product has the lowest values. In reality, the amount of starch and sugar your horse needs depends on what type of work they are doing and their metabolic status. The way these values are shared with you should be a determining factor in the confidence you place in your feeding program. In the horse feed market, there are two common methods for sharing starch and sugar values, which are sometimes referred to as non-structural carbohydrates (NSC).
One common way feed companies share NSC values is sharing a value on a website or sales brochure, with no reference to that value on the actual feed bag or tag. While this is a good starting place, it’s not legally required that this value be followed, or even regularly checked when it appears in only marketing materials. Without listing the value on the tag or bag, the company providing the information is less accountable to the information provided. You may think you’re buying a feed with NSC value of 11%, but it could be higher. These potential fluctuations can make it difficult to achieve your desired starch and sugar intake levels and can be particularly troublesome when dealing with a health condition requiring low starch and sugar intake like laminitis. Since starch and sugar are used as necessary sources of calories for performance horses—along with fiber, fat, and to a small degree protein—knowing where your calories are coming from can really impact performance.
In all ProElite® feeds, we state the maximum legally allowed value of each nutrient right on the bag. This small difference in reporting method is the critical difference between ProElite feeds and others on the market. By putting the value on the bag, not just marketing materials or a website, we are required to ensure the value is lower than the declared number. By doing this, we know regulators will hold us accountable to the numbers on our tag. Each individual state inspection division pulls random samples of feed throughout the year and sends them in for compliance testing and the feed company is held accountable to meeting the values listed on the tag. This is why many feed companies will not list starch and sugar levels on their bags. Because we understand the importance of consistent starch and sugar levels for optimum performance, we went this extra step with ProElite feeds to guarantee a specific value for each product in our line. You can then buy with confidence and know you are getting what you are told.
The ProElite Advantage
It is very difficult to compare a regulated versus a non-regulated starch and sugar value. Competitive products may list a lower starch and sugar level than ProElite feeds on their website, but that is a result from a single point in time and there is no guarantee that the product will not go above that level. If it’s not on the bag, it’s not guaranteed. Don’t get caught comparing a maximum level listed in ProElite feeds to non-regulated spot test level in other feeds. If you want to control your horse’s starch and sugar intake, choose a feed with a guaranteed maximum level on the bag.