Patented Technology Helps Pets Lose Weight without Food Restriction

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Released: Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Baton Rouge, Louisiana — A new pet food that utilizes technology invented and patented by Pennington Biomedical scientists promises to speed metabolism in dogs and cats, helping them lose weight and live longer.

"The animals that are on a methionine-restricted diet actually eat more, but the increase in metabolic rate more than compensates, causing the animals to lose weight," said Dr. Thomas Gettys, Professor and Director of the Nutrient Sensing and Adipocyte Signaling Laboratory at LSU's Pennington Biomedical Research Center.

Pennington Biomedical is one of the top obesity research centers in the world and is also a leader in the effort to understand the triggers for other chronic illnesses, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, dementia and cancer.

Gettys; Dr. Frank Greenway, Professor and Chief Medical Officer at Pennington Biomedical; and Dr. John Finley, Adjunct Professor at the LSU AgCenter; invented the technology, which has been licensed by Slim Health Nutrition Pet Food.

The technology could address what the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention describes as the top health threat to pets: obesity.

Pets with obesity face a number of health issues, including type 2 diabetes, cancer, kidney diseases, joint problems and other chronic illnesses, according to APOP. An estimated 50 million dogs and 56 million cats in the United States are either overweight or have obesity.

The patented pet food technology restricts methionine, an amino acid. When the liver senses a low level of the amino acid, it releases the hormone FGF21. The hormone makes the animals burn more calories, reduces their body fat, decreases circulating and liver fats, and increases their insulin sensitivity.

Slim Health is starting with dog food and will tackle cat food next.

U.S. pet owners spent an estimated $30 billion on pet food in 2018, according to the 2017-18 APPA National Pet Owners' Survey. More than half of that spending went for dog food.

Slim Health pet food is not yet available commercially. The company said it is still formulating dog food flavors and seeking investment.

For more information about Pennington Biomedical inventions and technologies, contact Leslie Smith, director of the Pennington Biomedical Office of Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer, at or (225) 763-2627, or go to



About the Pennington Biomedical Research Center

Pennington Biomedical Research Center is at the forefront of medical discovery as it relates to understanding the triggers of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia. The Center conducts basic, clinical, and population research, and is affiliated with Louisiana State University. The research enterprise at Pennington includes over 450 employees within a network of 40 clinics and research laboratories, and 13 highly specialized core service facilities. Its scientists and physician/scientists are supported by research trainees, lab technicians, nurses, dietitians, and other support personnel. Pennington Biomedical is located in state-of-the-art research facilities on a 222-acre campus in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.