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