A new study out of the UK finds that people who eat a vegan or vegetarian diet have a 43 percent higher risk of bone fractures. Before you say “pass the milk” here is how to safeguard your bone health and exactly what to eat to get your daily calcium.
First of all, there are more upsides to adhering to a whole-food, plant-based diet than potential pitfalls (and all diets have those). You will lower your lifetime risk of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, certain cancers and premature death from all causes. Eating a diet high in fruit and vegetables will provide you with more energy and clearer skin, as well as better digestion and help you lose weight if that is a goal. For all the ways eating plant-based enhances your health, check out these six surprising benefits of eating a plant-based diet.
As with any diet, eating plant-based or vegan also requires some conscientious planning to ensure you’re eating a well-rounded diet and getting adequate amounts of calcium, iron, and vitamins such as vitamin B12 and vitamin D. It may be a smart idea to supplement, especially with vitamins B12, may be a smart idea for anyone not eating fortified foods. Going vegan—as is the case with any restrictive way of eating—can take a toll on your health unless you carefully and deliberately plan your nutrients and eat a variety of nutrient-dense foods.
To that point, the study of 55,000 men and women living in the UK and published in the journal BMC Medicine found that vegetarians and vegans (and fish eaters) had a 43 percent higher risk of experiencing bone fractures than individuals who ate meat. Keep in mind these are averages, and if you make a point of getting enough calcium, with supplements or foods like Black Strap Molasses, you can keep your bones healthy and strong.
The study concludes: “Non-meat eaters, especially vegans, had higher risks of either total or some site-specific fractures, particularly hip fractures. This is the first prospective study of diet group with both total and multiple specific fracture sites in vegetarians and vegans, and the findings suggest that bone health in vegans requires further research.”
Most prominently, vegans had a 2.3 times higher risk of hip fracture than those who ate meat, “equivalent to 15 more cases per 1,000 people over 10 years,” as lead study author Tammy Tong noted in Medical News Today. It’s worth noting that the data represents a small sample size of vegans studied—nearly 2,000 at the time of the study’s recruitment between 1993 and 2001—versus the nearly 30,000 meat-eaters. Around 15,000 vegetarians and 8,000 pescatarians at the time of recruitment also participated in the study.
This analysis doesn’t mean the plant-based set is doomed to a life of stress fractures. Rather, that they just need to take some precautions around the diet to ensure they’re getting proper nutrition to keep their bones strong.
How Much Calcium Do You Need
“Vegans tend to have lower intakes…