Our Star Ingredient - Yeast Protein
Category_Dog Blog
The Vet's Corner

Our Star Ingredient - Yeast Protein

by Wes Chang
The secret behind our high-protein, meat-free dog food is our top ingredient: Yeast. Dried yeast is a superfood that powers our nutritious complete-and-balanced dog food. Let’s take a closer look inside the cell walls of yeast to discover what makes this ingredient incredibly healthy for your dog.

The Wonder of Cell Walls

One of the many reasons that plant- and yeast-based proteins are healthier for dogs lies within the cell walls. Animal proteins lack cellular walls, which means they lack key nutrients of yeast. Stored within the walls of yeast and fungal proteins (koji) are unique healthy fibers called beta-glucans. I’ve been interested in the importance of dietary fibers in maintaining optimal health and extending longevity in dogs for the past two decades. In my opinion, many dog foods, especially those relying on animal proteins for the majority of their nutrients, don’t contain adequate beneficial fibers, similar to many human diets. In human research, beta-glucans are known to have antitumor, anti-inflammatory, anti-obesity, anti-allergic, anti-osteoporotic, and immunomodulating activities. Research on dogs over the past decade has shown the beta-glucans contained within yeast: 1) improve overall disease resistance 2) enhance vaccine efficacy 3) aid immunity against infections, cancer, and improve wound healing among others by increasing leukocytes (white blood cells) 4) reduce chronic inflammation While the mechanism of action for how beta-glucans improve health in dogs is complex, in simplest terms, immune cells have specific receptors to recognize and bind these beta-glucans, boosting immune responses. Newer research shows beta-glucans may also provide a positive impact on health by increasing the richness and diversity of the gut microbiome.

Yeast Beats Meat

Many dog owners mistakenly believe animal meats are the best source for proteins. That’s not entirely true. According to USDA data, calorie for calorie, yeast contains more protein than any meat product. By weight, yeast is 45-49% protein, whereas beef is only 24%-26%. By combining our yeast and fungal proteins with healthy plant proteins, we were able to create the world’s first high-protein meat-free dog food. The reason we focus on proteins is because proteins provide the building blocks for health - amino acids. It’s not the ingredient that matters; it’s the nutrients the ingredient contains that provides good health. Here are some basics about how protein works and why it’s so important for your dog:
  • A dog’s body uses ten essential amino acids to build different protein molecules. These proteins are used to grow and maintain muscle, fur and nails; produce hormones; transport nutrients; and aid in the functioning of the immune system.
  • When dogs eat protein, their digestive system breaks the proteins into amino acid “building blocks.” A dog needs about twenty common amino acids.
  • A dog’s body can break down and metabolize ten of these amino acids. These ten are called “essential” and must be contained in their diet. The other ten are “non-essential” that a dog’s body can make from other amino acids.
  • The essential amino acids for dogs include: arginine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.
  • High-quality yeast proteins contain all of these amino acids essential to a healthy canine diet. Examine your pet’s food label to make sure it has an AAFCO nutritional adequacy statement on it, which will indicate whether or not the product contains enough of these amino acids.
Meat is being dethroned as “king of proteins” by yeast, plant, bacterial, and algal protein sources. The evidence is growing: Yeast beats meat in terms of nutrient density, better for the environment, eliminating factory farms, and overall health.

Tasty Yeast Proteins

Another yeast superpower is its rich, savory, meaty taste. Umami is the Japanese word used to describe the unique flavor, and dogs go wild for it! If you’re wondering, “umami” means “a pleasant savory taste.” Chances are you’re familiar with the flavor if you enjoy soy sauce, miso soup, or mushrooms. Rich, dense, smoky, and packing a powerful meaty punch, we believe yeast proteins and koji help make our high protein dog food both nutritious and delicious!

Better for Climate and Animals

In addition, yeast is a far more environmentally-friendly, sustainable, and safe way for your dog to eat protein than relying on animal meats. Yeast grows abundantly, affordably, and quickly, going from start to finished product in about three days, all on a diet of sugar that places significantly less load on precious environmental resources than raising livestock or poultry. Yeast production and plant proteins create far fewer greenhouse gas emissions than raising animals for food. This means you can feel good knowing you’re helping reduce climate change and eliminating animal cruelty by feeding Wild Earth dog food. There are many more reasons why our yeast protein is healthier for your dog and better for our planet. Thanks for joining us on this journey toward a more sustainable food future for both pets and their pet parents.

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