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Osteoporosis and diet

Neither meat or dairy is good for the bones. The acidic structure of their proteins, do not allow it to be easily digested by our bodies. Our digestive system reacts by leeching of calcium from the bones, to counteract the increase in acidity in the blood. Loss of bone mineral mass due to this leeching is one of the primary causes of osteoporosis.

What is osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a disease of the bones. It happens when you lose too much bone, make too little bone or both. In osteoporosis, the bone mineral density (BMD) is reduced, bone microarchitecture deteriorates, and the amount and variety of proteins in bone are altered.

Osteoporosis means "porous bone." If you look at healthy bone under a microscope, you will see that parts of it look like a honeycomb. If you have osteoporosis, the holes and spaces in the honeycomb are much bigger than they are in healthy bone. This means your bones have lost density or mass and that the structure of your bone tissue has become abnormal. As your bones become less dense, they also become weaker and are more likely to break.

Osteoporosis and diet

Animal proteins are high in sulphur-containing amino acids, especially cysteine and methionine. Sulphur is converted to sulphate, which tends to acidify the blood. Diets that are rich in animal protein, tend to contain significantly higher levels of sulphur-containing amino acids than the more alkaline variety found in plant protein.

The body responds to the blood acidity, by pulling calcium and other minerals out of the bones to form salt that neutralize the acid and send it out in the urine. The result in a leeching of calcium from the bones, adversely impacting bone mineral density and increasing the risks of fractures, osteoporosis and other bone related problems.

Scientific evidence: Osteoporosis and diet

Research that has been conducted on the linkage between meat, dairy and kidney disease have found

  • Excess protein intake leads to leeching of calcium (hypercalciuria) from the bones
  • High protein intake associate with higher risks of bone fractures
  • Higher loss of bone mass for non-vegetarians compared to vegetarians
  • Consuming alkaline producing diets (plant based foods) contributes to the maintenance of bone mineral density

Details of the same (including the research methodology, key findings and a link to the original study) are available in the resource tab below.