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Bone Up on Vegan Nutrition

Non-meat-eaters may have a higher fracture risk.

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Vegan bone health

A recent longitudinal investigation from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) at Oxford University provides some interesting facts for plant-eaters to chew on. That’s especially true for those who eschew animal-based foods altogether but still want to protect bone strength.

As reported in BMC Medicine, British scientists discovered that among nearly 55,000 individuals, non-meat-eaters had higher risks of either total or some site-specific fractures, including hip fractures, over an average of 18 years. Vegans who consumed lower amounts of protein and calcium had a 43% higher risk of fracture anywhere in the body.

Meat-free diets themselves are not the concern; problems arise when people fail to adequately source bone-friendly nutrients like protein, zinc and calcium—abundant in animal foods—from the plant kingdom. The breaking point can be averted with appropriate nutrition counseling and a varied plant-based diet.

See also: Healthy Bones and Plant-Driven Diets

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD, is a James Beard Award–winning food journalist, dietitian and author of the cookbook Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sport + Adventure (VeloPress 2016). He has written for dozens of magazines, including Runner’s World, Men’s Health, Shape, Men’s Fitness and Muscle and Fitness.

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