The Evolution Diet product line includes two dry dog foods, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Evolution Diet Gourmet Pasta Veggie Burger
- Evolution Diet Gourmet Fondue Veggie Cheese Burger
Evolution Diet Gourmet Pasta Veggie Burger was selected to represent both products in the line for this review.
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Non-GMO whole oats, corn gluten meal, soybean meal, soybean oil, carrots, dried tomato pomace, dried potato product, dried molasses, deflourinated phosphate, potassium chloride, calcium carbonate, salt, nutritional yeast, arginine, dl-methionine, kelp meal, taurine, garlic, enzyme bromelain from pineapple stem and fruit, enzyme papain from papaya, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Bifidobacterium bifidum fermentation product, lysine, choline chloride, zinc oxide, ferrous sulfate, vitamin A acetate, vitamin D2 supplement, vitamin E supplement, niacin, ascorbic acid, calcium pantothenate, manganous oxide, vitamin B-12 supplement, thiamin mononitrate, menadione sodium bisulfite complex, folic acid, riboflavin supplement (vitamin B-2), inositol, biotin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, calcium iodate, sodium selenite, zinc methionine complex, copper lysine complex, manganese, methionine complex, l-carnitine, arachidonic acid, rosemary extract, cobalt glucoheptonate
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 3.9%
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||31%||16%||45%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||27%||33%||40%|
The first ingredient in this dog food includes oats. Oats are rich in B-vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber.
The second ingredient is corn gluten meal. Gluten is the rubbery residue remaining once corn has had most of its starchy carbohydrate washed out of it.
Compared to meat, glutens are inferior grain-based proteins lower in some of the essential amino acids dogs need for life.
This inexpensive plant-based ingredient can significantly boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
The third ingredient is soybean meal, a by-product of soybean oil production more commonly found in farm animal feeds.
Although soybean meal contains 48% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.
And less costly plant-based products like this can notably boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
The fourth ingredient is soybean oil is red flagged here only due to its rumored (yet unlikely) link to canine food allergies.
However, since soybean oil is high in omega-6 fatty acids and contains no omega-3’s, it’s considered less nutritious than flaxseed oil or a named animal fat.
The fifth ingredient is carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.
The sixth ingredient is tomato pomace. Tomato pomace is a controversial ingredient, a by-product remaining after processing tomatoes into juice, soup and ketchup.
Many praise tomato pomace for its high fiber and nutrient content, while others scorn it as an inexpensive pet food filler.
Just the same, there’s probably not enough tomato pomace here to make much of a difference.
The seventh ingredient is dried potato product, a dried residue of the potato processing industry primarily consisting of potato pieces, peelings and culls.
With the exception of perhaps its caloric content and a small amount of protein, potato product is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.2
The eighth ingredient is dried molasses. Although molasses can be rich in minerals, it’s also a less refined form of sugar with a glycemic index in humans similar to maple syrup.
Like table sugar (and in excessive amounts), molasses has the potential to raise a dog’s blood sugar.
From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.
But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this product.
With four notable exceptions…
First, garlic can be a controversial item. Although most experts favor the ingredient for its numerous health benefits, garlic (in rare cases) has been linked to Heinz body anemia in dogs.3
However, the limited professional literature we surveyed provided no definitive warnings regarding the use of garlic — especially when used in small amounts (as it likely is here).
Next, we note the inclusion of dried fermentation products in this recipe. Fermentation products are typically added to provide enzymes to aid the animal with digestion.
In addition, this food also contains chelated minerals, mineralsthat have been chemically attached to protein. This makes them easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually found in better dog foods.
And lastly, this this recipe also contains menadione, a controversial form of vitamin K linked to liver toxicity, allergies and the abnormal break-down of red blood cells.
Since vitamin K isn’t required by AAFCO in either of its dog food nutrient profiles, we question the use of this substance in any canine formulation.
Evolution Diet Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Evolution Diet is (by design) a meatless product.
So, although we do recognize the need for some dog owners to provide (for whatever reason) a completely meat-free diet, we also respect a dog’s natural carnivorous bias.
That said, and before we determine our final rating, it’s still important to estimate how much plant-based protein might be present.
Judging by its ingredients alone, Evolution Diet looks like a below-average dry product.
But ingredient quality by itself cannot tell the whole story. We still need to estimate the product’s meat content before determining a final rating.
The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 31%, a fat level of 16% and estimated carbohydrates of about 45%.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 31% and a mean fat level of 16%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 45% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 50%.
Above-average protein. Near-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
This is clearly the profile of a kibble containing absolutely no meat.
However, it’s unfortunate the company chose to include menadionein its recipe. For without this controversial ingredient, we would have been compelled to award this product a higher rating.
Evolution Diet is a plant-based kibble using a notable amount of gluten and soybean meals as its main sources of protein, thus earning the brand 2 stars.
Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content.
Those looking for a similar wet food from this same company may wish to visit our review of Evolution Diet canned dog food.