What is Sorghum?
Sorghum is a cereal grain that grows in a similar fashion to Corn. It originated from Africa and was likely brought over by the slave trade or slaves themselves. In the more recent past, it was grown and consumed in the southern United States as a cheap sweetener. Sorghum was a popular crop in difficult climates and conditions as it is more resistant to drought than other staples.
Sorghum has been used for other purposes than as a sweetener. It has also been used as livestock feed and to create bio-ethanol. Sorghum can commonly be found in bird seed or bird feed that is sold at grocery or specialist stores. However, one of Sorghum’s more recent uses has been as a carbohydrate providing ingredient in dog food.
While grain ingredients have become more unpopular, some manufacturers have turned to less common grains to move away from the bad press of Corn and Wheat. Other examples of grains that have become more commonly used include Millet and Barley. Find out more about Millet in our article Millet in Dog Food.
Being a cereal grain, Sorghum contains a large portion of carbohydrates. However, it doesn’t just contain carbohydrates as it also contains over ten percent protein and as much as seven percent dietary fiber. This portion of protein is similar to other grains such as Rice and Barley.
Some studies have shown that Sorghum does not cause a big as a spike in insulin as other grains like Corn do. Foods with a high glycemic index such as corn are considered by some to be problemeatic as they can worsen conditions like Diabetes.
Proponents of Sorghum will state that it is high in antioxidants which have become popular in recent years and are believed to provide some health benefits.
While there is conflicting evidence, there are some studies to show that Sorghum is more digestible than other alternative carbohydrate providing ingredients. While this is undoubtedly disputed by some, it is likely that Sorghum is capable of being digested effectively by dogs.
Sorghum contains a limited number of vitamins and minerals. Notable examples include Iron and Phosphorus. Iron, in particular, is essential and is used in the production of red blood cells.
Dog Food Brands That Use Sorghum
While the number of dog food brands that use Sorghum is not hugely expansive, there are some recognizable names. Examples include Victor, Bully Max, Sport Dog Food, Eukanuba, Hill’s Science Diet, Blackwood, and Iams.
However, there is a significant number of brands who refuse to incorporate any grains into their products including Sorghum.
There is likely a number of reasons that these brands have chosen to use Sorghum.
For some, it will be a simple motivation: cost. Sorghum, just like many other grains is a low-cost ingredient that can provide nutrition. This will allow the brands to keep their costs low and make the price point more competitive.
Other brands may choose to use Sorghum for different reasons. This could include the belief that Sorghum is less likely to cause an allergic reaction or that it is more digestible for dogs. Its use to combat allergies is linked to the fact that it is gluten-free.
We believe that Sorghum will see increased use in the coming years unless evidence emerges that there are superior alternatives.