Iams Simple and Natural (Dry)

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Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

This Review Has Been Merged with
Iams Naturals Dog Food

Iams Simple and Naturals dog food receives the Advisor’s above-average rating of 4 stars.

The Iams Simple and Natural product line includes just one dry dog food… claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance.

Iams Prime Naturals Chicken, Rice and Barley

Dry Dog Food

Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content

Protein = 28% | Fat = 18% | Carbs = 46%

Ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, brewers rice, ground whole grain sorghum, ground whole grain barley, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols, a source of vitamin E), chicken flavor, dried beet pulp, dried egg product, potassium chloride, fish oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols, a source of vitamin E), monosodium phosphate, salt, dried apple pomace, dried carrots, dl-methionine, dried peas, choline chloride, fructooligosaccharides, minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, manganous oxide, potassium iodide, cobalt carbonate), dried spinach, dried tomatoes, vitamins (ascorbic acid, vitamin A acetate, calcium pantothenate, biotin, thiamine mononitrate (source of vitamin B1), vitamin B12 supplement, niacin, riboflavin supplement (source of vitamin B2), inositol, pyridoxine hydrochloride (source of vitamin B6), vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid), calcium carbonate, vitamin E supplement, brewers dried yeast, beta-carotene, rosemary extract

Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 5.6%

Red items indicate controversial ingredients

Estimated Nutrient Content
MethodProteinFatCarbs
Guaranteed Analysis25%16%NA
Dry Matter Basis28%18%46%
Calorie Weighted Basis24%37%40%
Protein = 24% | Fat = 37% | Carbs = 40%

The first ingredient in this dog food lists chicken. Although it is a quality item, raw chicken contains about 80% water. After cooking, most of that moisture is lost… reducing the meat content to just a fraction of its original weight.

After processing, this item would probably account for a smaller part of the total content of the finished product.

Which brings us to chicken meal… the second and (more likely) the dominant ingredient in this recipe.

Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.

The third ingredient is brewers rice. Brewers rice represents the small grain fragments left over after milling whole rice.

This is an inexpensive cereal grain by-product and not considered a quality ingredient.

The fourth ingredient lists sorghum. Sorghum is a starchy cereal grain with a nutrient profile similar to corn.

Since it is gluten-free and boasts a smoother blood sugar behavior than other grains, sorghum may be considered an acceptable non-meat ingredient.

The fifth ingredient lists barley. Barley is a starchy carbohydrate supplying fiber and other healthy nutrients. Unlike grains with a higher glycemic index (like rice), barley can help support stable blood sugar levels in dogs.

The sixth ingredient is chicken fat. Chicken fat is obtained from rendering chicken… a process similar to making soup in which the fat itself is skimmed from the surface of the liquid.

Chicken fat is high in linoleic acid… an omega-6 fatty acid essential for life. Although it doesn’t sound very appetizing, chicken fat is actually a quality ingredient.

After the chicken flavor, we find dried beet pulp. Beet pulp is a controversial ingredient… a high fiber by-product of sugar beet processing.

Some denounce beet pulp as an inexpensive filler while others cite its outstanding intestinal health and blood sugar benefits.

We only call your attention here to the controversy and believe the inclusion of beet pulp in reasonable amounts in most dog foods is entirely acceptable.

The ninth ingredient is dried egg product… a dehydrated form of shell-free eggs. Quality can vary significantly. Lower grade egg product can even come from commercial hatcheries… from eggs that have failed to hatch.

In any case, eggs are easy to digest and have an exceptionally high biological value.

We also note the inclusion of fish oil. Fish oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids. These two high quality fats boast the highest bio-availability to dogs and humans.

Depending on its level of freshness and purity, fish oil should be considered a commendable addition.

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 five notable exceptions

First, apple pomace includes the pulpy solids that remain after pressing apples to extract the juice. It is most likely used here for its fiber content.

Next, this recipe contains fructooligosaccharide… an alternative sweetener1 probably used here as a prebiotic. Prebiotics function to support the growth of healthy bacteria in the large intestine.

Thirdly, we find no mention of probiotics… friendly microorganisms applied to the surface of the kibble after processing.

Fourthly, the minerals listed here do not appear to be chelated. And that can make them more difficult to absorb. Non-chelated minerals are usually associated with lower quality dog foods.

And lastly, we note the addition of brewers dried yeast. Brewers yeast can be a controversial item. Although it’s a by-product of the beer making process, this ingredient contains about 45% protein… and is rich in other healthy nutrients.

Fans believe yeast repels fleas and supports the immune system.

Critics argue yeast ingredients can be linked to allergies. This may be true, but (like all allergies) only if your particular dog is allergic to the yeast itself.

What’s more, a vocal minority insist yeast can increase the risk of developing the life-threatening condition known as bloat. However, this is something we’ve not been able to scientifically verify.

In any case, unless your dog is specifically allergic to it, yeast can be considered a nutritious additive.

Iams Simple and Natural Dog Food
The Bottom Line

Judging by its ingredients alone, Iams Simple and Natural looks to be an above-average dry dog food.

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 28%, a fat level of 18% and estimated carbohydrates of about 46%.

Average protein. Near-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

Free of any plant-based protein boosters, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing a moderate amount of meat.

Bottom line?

Iams Simple and Natural Dog Food is a grain-based kibble using a moderate amount of chicken and chicken meal as its main sources of animal protein… thus earning the brand 4 stars.

Highly recommended.

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Notes and Updates

08/16/2011 Original review

06/05/2012 Last Update