Insect fat: what makes it so valuable and why we use it
As well as insect protein, which our Country and Natural Feast products contain, we use insect fat as an ingredient in some of our products.
Context: what insect fat contains
Like other fats and oils, insect fat naturally contains almost exclusively fats. Saturated fats make up the bulk of its composition, at 69.5%, followed by polyunsaturated fats (16.6%) and unsaturated fat at 13.4%.
The high proportion of saturated fats does not represent any cause for concern. While there is a widespread belief that saturated fats are unhealthy, this does not reflect reality.
Moreover, lauric acid accounts for a large proportion of the saturated fatty acids in our insect fat, at nearly 40%. This has a number of benefits for your dog, as you are about to see.
Lauric acid has a lot going for it
Lauric acid is what is known as a medium-chain fatty acid. It owes its name to the Latin name for the laurel (Laurus nobilis), as laurel berries contain an oil that is composed mainly of lauric acid.
A number of positive qualities are attributed to lauric acid. While research into the topic is still in its very early stages, there are some points that unambiguously suggest specific benefits of this very special fatty acid.
Among other things, lauric acid has an antibacterial, antimicrobial and antifungal effect. For instance, this means that it can make various viruses, bacteria and fungi harmless, thereby having a positive effect on your dog’s health.
In addition, the body can easily convert lauric acid (and medium-chain fatty acids in general) into energy with ease. This makes it a valuable energy source for both people and dogs when engaging in sporting activities. Last, but not least, lauric acid also has a deterrent effect for ticks and can significantly reduce the risk of being bitten by these little parasites.
Coconut oil as an alternative?
Of course, insect fat is not the only product that contains lauric acid. As well as smaller quantities that are found in milk, coconut oil is also particularly high in this valuable, medium chain fatty acid.
Some of our customers therefore ask us why we mainly make use of insect fats and only use coconut oil as a source of lauric acid in exceptional cases?
In principle, it is true that coconut oil contains at least as much lauric acid as our insect fat. Nonetheless, there are substantial quality differences in coconut fat.
A number of lower quality oils are available on the market and the differences in quality start when the coconuts are grown. As well as the climate where they are cultivated, the use of artificial fertilisers and pesticides can result in coconut oil that is of questionable quality.
There are also wide variations in the manufacturing process. Many cheaper oils are refined, which means that the coconut oil is chemically processed after pressing. This results in the oil losing its natural scent and taste, and changes its colour.
In some cases, hydrogen is also added to coconut oil to harden it. This results in so-called trans fats, which are as harmful to dogs as they are to humans.