Maybe it is the interest in getting in shape this time of year but I am being asked about keto dieting for horses again.
Equine Metabolism is different!I wrote about the keto diet 3 years ago and I won't go into all that again but will emphasize a few things.
Take a Pass on the Ketogenic Diet for Horses
Click Here if you want to read my old article.Like all herbivores, the horse has evolved to get most of its calories from the fermentation of fiber. Humans can't do that. The digestive tracts of the two species are too different. Ketones are not a super fuel. They are a waste product of fact metabolism when more fat has been mobilized than the body can burn. There is a saying that "fat burns on the flames of carbohydrate". This is because fats can only be burned aerobically in the mitochondria. They have to enter the Krebs cycle. A key intermediate in that cycle is called oxaloacetate and that must come from pyruvate. Pyruvate only comes from glucose or the breakdown of some amino acids. [Those interested in the details of the biochemistry should see this short video. Note that the pyruvate they show entering the cycle as acetyl-CoA is from glucose. Fats are also metabolized to acetyl-CoA so almost must combine with oxaloacetate.] Horses with metabolic syndrome are genetically programmed to be that way. Whether it becomes a problem or not depends on diet and exercise. They can go all day on hay alone and don't require any grain. They certainly don't need more fat or ketones. Visit the ECIR Horse Website for more details and check out Uckele's line of products safe for horses with metabolic issues [here]. - Eleanor Kellon, VMD