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[RC] Carbohydrates in Beet Pulp - Bruce Weary

Okay, Kat, ya got me there. Just goes to show ya how confusing this can all be. When I refer to "carbs," I am referring to starches and sugars that can easily be broken down to glucose by the foregut, not trees and sawdust. It's true that there are structural carbohydrates in fibrous feeds like beet pulp and hay. The 200 pounds of hay that is already in the horse's gut, and not siginificantly enhanced in terms of amount of structural fiber contained in a few pounds of beet pulp. And, when metabolised, these structural carbohydrates don't yield glucose into the blood stream, else beet pulp would have a rising effect on the blood glucose levels, which it doesn't. They are fermented to produce volatile fatty acids, another form of energy usable by the horse, but NOT a substitute for glucose/glycogen. Most literature says that the sugars left behind in processed beet pulp is negligible. Again, if there were significant sugar/starch/nonstructrual carbs still in beet pulp, we would see a rise in blood glucose levels, but beet pulp only has a glycemic level of 1 or 2. And, if beet pulp were "loaded" with sugars, and processed in the hind gut, wouldn't that potentially cause acidosis in the gut as the bacteria feed on those "loads" of sugars? Tired horses will have a gut full of fiber, and fatty acids, as well as plenty of fat reserves still on board. The thing a tired horse runs out of, all other things being equal (fitness, proper hydration and electrolyte presence) is glycogen/glucose. Your turn. Dr Q


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