All horses must eat carbohydrates, which make up the largest portion of their diets, but they need to be the right ones. Some horses benefit from low-starch diets because of existing health issues that make them more sensitive to sugars and starches. For example, horses dealing with metabolic issues, pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID, formerly known as equine Cushing’s disease), gastric ulcers, and certain muscle disorders might benefit from a low-starch diet.
Whether such a diet is right for your horse depends on his or her caloric requirements, type of work, and heath history. We combed through our archives and compiled some of our best resources on low-carb diets, plus we took a look at a few new studies on starches and sugars in horses, which remains an important research focus.
ARTICLE: Carbohydrates 101 for Horses Carbohydrates are important energy sources for horses, and they are required for digestive health. READ NOW
ARTICLE: High-Starch Meals Induce Systemic Inflammation in Older, Heavier Horses Younger age and lower body condition appear to protect horses against occasional spikes in nonstructural carbohydrate consumption. READ NOW
SPONSORED CONTENT: ZERO: A Low-Starch, Low-Sugar Complete Horse Feed Hygain recommends the fully fortified, nutrient-rich, low-NSC product for horses at risk of developing metabolic issues. READ NOW
ARTICLE: Two Keys to Ulcer-Free Horses: Forage and Starch/Sugar Intake Consider these nutritional factors when formulating your horse’s diet to avoid GI issues such as equine squamous gastric disease. READ NOW
ARTICLE: Does Your Horse Need a Low-Starch Diet? Your horse’s health status might call for a low-starch diet. Learn which conditions benefit from low starch levels and how to make the change. READ NOW
ARTICLE: Does Sugar Make Horses Anxious or Hyper? How diets high in starch can impact hindgut function and performance, potentially leading to problems with the ‘gut-brain axis.’ READ NOW
ARTICLE: Low-NSC Horse Feeds: What Kind Does My Horse Need? Our nutritionist helps a reader make sense of horse feeds advertised as low-sugar, low-starch, lite, and more. READ NOW
ARTICLE: Does Low-Starch Horse Feed Equal Low-Calorie? Find out why a horse might gain weight when switched to a feed marketed as “low-starch.” READ NOW
ARTICLE: Feeding to Prevent Colic Horses are more prone to digestive upset than other domestic animals because of how their GI tract functions. READ NOW
ARTICLE: Planning a Diet for a Laminitic Horse Feeding a laminitic horse can be a challenge. Here are some tips for planning a diet suitable for such horses. READ NOW
ARTICLE: EMS and ‘Low-Carb’ Diets: What’s Right For Your Horse? Not all carbohydrates are created equal, and “low-carb” definitely doesn’t mean “no-carb.” A nutritionist explains. READ NOW