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I get confused between Water Soluble Carbohydrates (WSC), Ethanol-Soluble Carbohydrates (ESC), and Non-Structural Carbohydrates (NSC = WSC+Starch(es) or sometimes ESC+Starch(es)). Which one is the "important" one for EMS/IR/PPID/ etc. and easy-keepers? The ECIR people do ESC+Starch(es), but they aren't always right. If they are all "important", are they equally important or are some more important than others? If that latter, in what order? I know all the fuss about NSC, but is that the only one? I also know about Non-Fiber Carbohydrates (NFC), but no one talks about that...
 

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I think this is a 2011 article, so theory may have changed by now.



Where it says:


Non Structural Carbohydrates (NSC) - An agronomic term to describe the carbohydrate content of plants defined as WSC + Starch. Confusion abounds in the reporting and interpretation of NSC and NFC. Although not set in stone, there is general agreement that NSC should be defined as the measured sum of WSC + Starch and NFC as a calculated value determined by difference as described above. In either case, using individual measured values of WSC, ESC and starch are better means of evaluating your horse's diet.
  • Alfalfa Hay Averages: % NSC 11.0 ± 2.3
  • Grass Hay Averages: % NSC 12.9 ± 4.8
Balancing sugars and starch in your horse's diet is important to your horse's health. Horses on high sugar and starch diets can develop laminitis, colic, and insulin resistance. Feeding hay and pasture as part of a horse's diet can help balance the sugars and starches in the diet. Testing your hay and pasture for sugars and starches will help you balance your horse's diet and maintain health.”
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My bottom line is that I use the NSC value for anything as it seems to be the sum & substance of the others And seems to cover all of the starch and fruit an bases, so-to-speak:)
 
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NFCs are starch, sugars and soluble fibers.
All sugars are soluble in water. The fructans are not soluble in ethanol. So when you see ESC it is telling you what portion of the sugar is fructan basically. WSC is all and ESC is everything but fructan. Fructans act differently than other sugars in the body.

It is a complex subject and one complicated by improved pastures and concentrated feeds.

Horses are meant to graze and evolved with forage that we consider poor. They grazed most of the day constantly in motion and had time to adjust to seasonal nutritional changes in what they ate. We keep them in environments very far removed from that hence the development of health issues that come with essentially a first world diet for horses.
 
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