beetpulpBeet Pulp Warning!!

Here is some important information on an old mainstay…beet pulp!

“Doing some interesting research on sugar beets right now. The bottom line is do not feed beet pulp to your horses. Three good reasons. The first is Glyphosate from Round Up Ready Sugar Beets that drastically reduces the uptake of minerals and which kills bacteria in the hindgut. The second is that sugar beets are sponges for arsenic which is a problem in the Taber area where the refinery is. The third is Disodium Cyanodithioimidocarbonate (DCDIC), the chemical that is used to strip the sugar from the beets, which is a toxin and banned from use as a pesticide…but we feed it to our horses in beet pulp.” – See more at:

EDITED TO ADD THE FOLLOWING from Dr. Susan Garlinghouse —


Dr. Susan Garlinghouse, an equine vet who has specialized in nutrition. Dr. Garlinghouse’s response was as follows:
1. The fiber in beet pulp is not even close to “indigestible”—the only fiber found in forage that *is* totally indigestible is lignin, which is almost non-existent in beet pulp, but considerably higher (it varies) in the hay pellets whats-her-name recommends. And even being indigestible doesn’t necessarily make it bad, just
2. affects GI transit time, etc differently than fermentable fibers. The fiber in beet pulp is primarily pectin, a soluble fiber, which is highly fermentable and digestible. Apparently, no understanding by the author of how digestive physiology works here.
3. The whole water weight argument is just total nonsense. Having a good reservoir of water in the hindgut is generally considered a good thing in performance horses and if all that water were just “rushing” through, the horse would have projectile diarrhea. Not loose stools. Projectile. One of the primary benefits of feeding beet pulp to performance horses is that there *is* more of a water reservoir in the hindgut. Doesn’t adversely affect absorption of anything else. I could go into a long dissertation of soluble fibers fermenting to primarily butyric acid, which in turn is the preferred substrate of enterocytes, thus optimizing a higher turnover (that’s a good thing), which then in turn optimizes absorption, water and electrolyte balance in the hindgut, but that’s way too long for this reply. And none of it is classified material. Find a qualified nutrition text and use that as an information source, not this twaddle.
4. “Does your horse have loose stools” – Most people that feed alfalfa think that the ideal consistency to horse poop is a tight, dry little road apple.You don’t want diarrhea, but same as for other species, a softer consistency is not necessarily a symptom of disease. It’s usually a lot better than overly dry. Horses on pasture and on grass hays (and also beet pulp) often have a bit of a splat to their poop, which is highly fine-by-me.
5. Sugar beets don’t “store” pesticides in the pulp. If they did, it wouldn’t be very effective in eliminating bugs on the outside of the plant,would it? I’ve seen the tox assay reports on beet pulp and the results were pretty much nil. I also ran my own on beets straight from the field and hosed off in my driveway–also nil. Also, shredded beet pulp gets tossed into a water bath and the water with soluble sugars (which is the cash crop here) is removed and dried to the table sugar end product. If there were residues, it’s more likely they’d be present in higher concentrations in the table sugar. It’s not. When whats-her-name can produce real data, we’ll talk. Until then, it’s apparent she’s not even familiar with the manufacturing process, let alone any inherent shortfalls.
6. All that gibberish about “does your horse have brittle feet, weak in the hindquarters, yada yada” makes no logical point or argument. She makes claims of horses that had health problems that were being fed beet pulp, she totally changed their diets, their condition allegedly improved and therefore it was the beet pulp that caused the initial problem, not anything else having to do with its ration or management. Pretty shaky logic. It’s a lot like saying that there are pigeons in cities, and crime in cities, therefore pigeons cause urban crime. Sorry, there’s just no logical thought process here, no science or scientific background, no qualified views. But, everyone is entitled to an opinion, even if those opinions aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on. Susan Garlinghouse, DVM (no certifications, just university degrees)
For the record, Dr. Garlinghouse has long been a proponent of feeding beet pulp to horses and is quoted on many of the endurance sites on its benefits. Her assessment of the nutritional value of beet pulp can be found in this article on her website, The Myths and Realities of Beet Pulp.
I did an Internet search on residual pesticides in beet pulp and found a 1971 study conducted by the World Health Organization. The finding for sugar beets was:
Shuttleworth et al. (1971) studied the effects of sugar beet processing to determine if endosulfan or endosulfan sulfate residues in sugar beet roots would concentrate in the processed beet pulp. Mature sugar beet root samples from a plot treated with three aerial applications of Thiodan 2 EC at 1.0 lb active/acre were analysed 0 and 35 days after the last application. No endosulfan or endosulfan sulfate residues were found at the limit of sensitivity of the method of 0.05 ppm. Sugar beet pulp, obtained from processing the above.