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[RC] Mammal Bodies and Fuel - k s swigart

Cheryl Winter said:

Mammal bodies and fuel are probably all about
the same.

This statement is actually not entirely true.  While it is true that the
metabolic pathways for using glucose and VFA and protien for fuelling
effort are pretty much the same in all mammals (and possibly even
non-mammals, I don't know), it is not true that all mammals' digestive
tracts are the same with respect to how they convert the stuff they eat
into glucose, VFAs and protien that can be then used for fuel.

Humans have very little capacity to process structural carbohydrates
into a fuel source, so it passes out undigested.  Horse do have this
capacity, but no where near as good as that of a cow (or any other
rumen).  Almost all of the stored energy in hay is unavailable to
humans, some of it is avaiable to horses, most of it is available to
cows.  As strict carnivores, it is completely unavailable to cats.

Note that cats, humans, horses, and cows are all mammals.  Yet how they
fuel themselves (i.e. how they get energy from what they eat) is quite

Since beet pulp is almost entirely made up of soluable structural
carbohydrates, it is of little use to a human for fuel but a great
source of fuel for horses.  This is why marathon runners have no reason
to eat it, but horses do.

Orange County, Calif.


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