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Although this ingredient is more commonly known in human food circles as a dessert, recently it has proven to be a great addition to grain free specialty pet foods. Unlike tapioca desserts which contain added sugar, this unique ingredient provides a novel source of energy. Protein in foods is responsible for food reactions. Because tapioca does not contain protein, it is not considered a potential allergen or source of food sensitivity. This is especially important in limited ingredient diets that are designed for hypersensitive dogs.
Carbohydrates such as tapioca are a highly digestible food source and are also important in kibble for a variety of reasons. The shape, texture and density of kibble is dependent on the carbohydrate (starch) content of the food. This is very important, as mouth feel and the structure of the kibble helps to determine palatability, particularly for small breed dogs. Since tapioca only supplies starch in a recipe, it allows more flexibility to create recipes with different nutrient profiles. This is important for animals requiring less protein in the diet, or a specific nutrient level. As well, tapioca contains a small amount of resistant starch. This type of starch has benefits similar to fiber, which can aid digestion.
Petcurean July 2016