Bodybuilding Fruit and Osteoporosis Prevention
“Girls and older women are already at increased risk of osteoporosis; recommending that they increase their consumption of fruit may be a cost-effective means of improving bone health,” wrote lead investigator Dr. Claire McGartland and colleagues at the Northern Ireland Center for Food and Health, University of Ulster, in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in a recent talk on osteoporosis prevention.
The researchers evaluated the nutritional habits and bone health of the teens by conducting extensive interviews with each child, getting detailed information about each meal and the foods they typically ate, including serving sizes. Using a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry DEXA scan, the scientists measured bone mineral density (a measure of bone strength) in the adolescents’ forearms and heels.
They observed that girls consuming the highest amounts of fruit, three or more servings daily, had significantly higher bone mineral density than girls consuming less fruit.
What is it about fruit that builds bone? Dr. McGartland and her team hypothesized that both fruit and vegetables may buffer high levels of acid in the body produced by diets rich in animal protein. A high acid load may leach calcium and other important nutrients out of the bone, reducing bone density. Several past studies have in fact found a correlation between high intake of animal foods and bone loss.
Although vegetables did not show up as an important factor in osteoporosis prevention in this particular study, they have in other studies, notes Dr. McGartland. She suspects she found no association because of the very small quantities of vegetables consumed by the Irish teens – “less than one-half of the suggested target intakes.
Though this is the first study showing a link between high fruit intake and high bone mineral densities measured by a DEXA scan, several other studies have found associations between fruit- and veggie-rich diets and strong healthy bones. Positive links have been reported between fruit and vegetable consumption and reduced risk of osteoporosis-related fractures in older adults,(2)(3) and recently, fruit and vegetable intake was beneficially linked with bone size in girls.(4)
China and Bodybuilding Fruit
One of the largest population studies on diet and disease ever conducted, the China Study from Cornell University, found that osteoporosis was rare among the more than 6,500 people in China studied. They suffered only one-fifth the hip fracture rate of U.S. women. Their daily diet: 77% of calories were from unrefined carbohydrates like vegetables, fruits, rice, and other grains.(5)
Make fruit and the Pritikin Eating Plan part of your osteoporosis prevention strategy.
- 1. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2004; 80: 1019.
- 2. European Journal of Nutrition, 2001; 40: 231.
- 3. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2000; 71: 142.
- 4. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2004; 79: 311.
- 5. Campbell, C., et al. The China Study. The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications For Diet, Weight Loss, and Long-Term Health. Benbella Books: January 2005. ISBN: 1932100385