Trained Parrot BlogParrot Wizard Online Parrot Toy StoreThe Parrot Forum

About sugar

Talk about bird illnesses and other bird health related issues. Seeds, pellets, fruits, vegetables and more. Discuss what to feed your birds and in what quantity. Share your recipe ideas.

About sugar

Postby Pajarita » Thu May 23, 2019 9:10 am

First of all, parrots cannot taste sweet so giving them stuff with sugar is not only VERY bad for them, it's also completely useless as they cannot taste it! But, there are sugars and then, there are sugars... Read about them:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sugar

https://www.ivyroses.com/HumanBiology/N ... -Sugar.php

And, no, brown sugar is not truly much 'better' than white sugar:
https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/nutrit ... ar-AABDx8Z

Then we have the ones we never heard about before:
https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/nutrit ... ar-AABKd3j
and the one that kale has:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sorbitol
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 14865
Location: NE New Jersey
Number of Birds Owned: 30
Types of Birds Owned: Toos, grays, zons, canaries, finches, cardinals, senegals, jardine, redbelly, sun conure, button quail, GCC, PFC, lovebirds
Flight: Yes

Re: About sugar

Postby GreenWing » Sun Jun 16, 2019 11:15 am

Yeah, it is interesting isn't it? That parrots have only about 350 taste buds or so, whereas humans have around 9000. So their taste is very limited, but I read that limited birds, including parrots and hummingbirds, can taste sweetness...

https://www.sciencefocus.com/nature/do-parrots-have-taste-buds/

(too lazy to BBC)

Sugar is very bad for humans -- the cause for obesity and weight gain -- not fats. Logically it would also be bad for parrots, as well. It's processed and not natural for them (and us!) to eat foods with a bunch of processed sugar. Also from an evolutionary standpoint, we are not meant to consume so much sugars. We, and parrots, are meant to move and forage.

Foods with natural sugars, though, like fruit, is obviously not what's meant here.
Image
GreenWing
African Grey
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 1145
Location: Portlandia, United States
Number of Birds Owned: 1
Types of Birds Owned: Congo African Grey ♥
Flight: Yes

Re: About sugar

Postby Pajarita » Sun Jun 16, 2019 12:23 pm

Well, I no longer go by the actual number of taste buds... I mean, a catfish has 100,000 of them and even rabbits (animals that eat their own poop!) have 17,000 so, obviously, a higher number doesn't necessarily mean them species is a gourmand, does it? :lol:

Now, table sugar is sucrose that has been processed but sucrose, the sugar itself, is as naturally occuring as sucrose or any other type of sugar. There are many types of sugars and they are all sugars... even things we don't consider sugar are sugars, like lactose, found in milk, or sorbitol, found in kale. The key is whether it's concentrated, processed, consumed in large quantities or digestible. Nobody can digest sorbitol but we can digest lactose while parrots cannot because not being mammals, they lack the enzyme for it. But they have no problem with fructose because fruits are part of their natural diet (I even had an argument with Dr. Harrison about this same subject because he advocates not giving fruits to parrots using the sugar-obesity link when fruits are what most parrots eat in the wild!)

As to the article stating that birds can taste sweet... hmmm, yes and no. The thing is that they don't have the receptors for it BUT birds that depend on sugar for energy (like the hummingbirds, for example) developed a receptor that 'senses' sweet from the umami (protein marker) one. Whether parrots are able to perceive it or not from the same genetic switch of receptors is not known as there are no studies on them but it's believed that, if they do have it, it's very weak because it is known that granivores don't have it, for example but I would be very interested in seeing a study on this done on lories and lorikeets. Everything goes down to evolution and the dietary ecology of the species because nature gives an animal the ability to perceive tastes as a tool for survival (in a very general manner, bitter indicates poison, sour unripe, umami protein and sweet ripe with spicy being nothing more than a plant defense against animals that would eat it). Cool, right?

See this article: https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opin ... ctar-36973

Here is the actual study: https://science.sciencemag.org/content/345/6199/929

And here is one done on cockatiels which is not really very good but useful nonetheless:
https://www.marionzoological.com/docs/T ... nation.pdf
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 14865
Location: NE New Jersey
Number of Birds Owned: 30
Types of Birds Owned: Toos, grays, zons, canaries, finches, cardinals, senegals, jardine, redbelly, sun conure, button quail, GCC, PFC, lovebirds
Flight: Yes

Re: About sugar

Postby GreenWing » Mon Jun 17, 2019 1:06 pm

That's some good info! Thanks for those articles, too. Now I just need to read them... :P

So, I have a question, since it's been mentioned in relation to humans: how much fat should a pet bird consume, or can consume, in a day? It's clear that nutritionally, fats are not the enemy, sugar is, and it's obvious that processed sugar is bad for birds. So, what about fats?
Image
GreenWing
African Grey
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 1145
Location: Portlandia, United States
Number of Birds Owned: 1
Types of Birds Owned: Congo African Grey ♥
Flight: Yes


Return to Health, Nutrition & Diet

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests

Parrot ForumArticles IndexTraining Step UpParrot Training BlogPoicephalus Parrot InformationParrot Wizard Store