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Low Carb and Low Starch have become buzzwords in equine feeds recently. The reasons for needing a feed with these properties usually centre around important equine health and behavioral issues. For this reason we feel it’s important to help you understand the different types of carbohydrates and their essential role in equine diets.
WSC – This is an acronym for Water Soluble Carbohydrate. These carbohydrates are extracted from a sample by dissolving them in hot water and then hydrolysing with a strong acid. It consists of simple sugars + all fructans + some glucans and pectin. The simple sugars are digested in the small intestine and influence glycaemic response (blood sugar). The fructans are typically fermented in the large intestine and should not impact blood sugar in horses, although research is lacking.
ESC – This is an acronym for Ethanol Soluble Carbohydrate. These carbohydrates are extracted from a sample in an 80% ethanol solution. This carbohydrate fraction is a subset of the WSC number and represents the sugar fractions that directly influence blood sugar, and the most rapidly fermentable fructans. It consists of simple sugars and short-chain length fructans.
Starch – A polysaccharide composed on repeating glucose units. Starch is found mainly in grains and is typically digested in the small intestine. Starch is also found in small amounts in many types of hay.
Fructans – carbohydrates that are made of fructose chains, sometimes with glucose molecules included. These can vary in the number of fructose molecules (chain length). Fructose is considered to be a complex carbohydrate that requires fermentation to be digested. Thus, fructans are thought to be digested in the large intestine. This issue requires some research to clarify the digestive process in horses. Fructans are rarely analysed separately in a feed sample since they are completely included in the WSC fraction and partially included in the ESC fraction.
Library | 08.08.23
Library | 01.03.22
Library | 23.02.22