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Osteoporosis Diet Dangers: Foods to Avoid

Salt, soda, caffeine: Could your daily diet be damaging your bones -- even leading to osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis Diet Danger 4: Is Protein Problematic? continued...

Although most Americans get plenty of protein, many older women fail to get enough protein on a daily basis and it's hurting their bones, according to Kerstetter.

The suggested daily protein intake is 0.8 grams of protein per 2.2 pounds for men and women over age 19. That amounts to about 55 grams of protein a day for a 150-pound woman and about 64 grams a day for a 175-pound man.

Get the protein you need to bolster bones with these protein sources:

  • 3 ounces light tuna, drained: 22 grams protein
  • 3 ounces cooked chicken, turkey, or pork tenderloin: about 20 grams
  • 3 ounces cooked salmon: 19 grams
  • 8 ounces fat-free plain yogurt: 13 grams
  • 8 ounces fat-free milk: 8 grams
  • 1 medium egg: 6 grams

Osteoporosis Diet Danger 5: There's Something About Soy

While soy products such as edamame, tofu, tempeh, and soy beverages are rich in bone-building protein, they contain plant compounds that may hamper calcium absorption.

Oxalates in soy can bind up calcium and make it unavailable to the body, Massey says. Problems may arise when you eat a lot of soy but don’t eat a lot of calcium, according to Kerstetter.

The research is mixed about soy. Some small studies show soy can cause problems with bone strength; others show that the right type of soy (with the soy isoflavones genistein and daidzein) protect bone strength. To avoid any risk, be sure to get a lot of calcium in your diet, primarily through dairy foods or supplements.

Soy products fortified with calcium may foster a false sense of security. When researchers compared calcium content and solubility of calcium-added beverages, they found that much of the calcium in soy and other beverages sank to the bottom of the container and could not be redistributed throughout the drink, even with shaking.

Still, fortified soy products, such as tofu processed with calcium, provide a hefty dose of bone-building nutrients and make a good addition to a balanced diet. If your diet is heavy on soy, be sure to also take in at least 1,000 milligrams of calcium every day.

Best Diet to Beat Osteoporosis

"You can't feel osteoporosis, so it's not always easy to imagine that what you're eating, or not, is harming your bones," Kerstetter says. "But your diet is really important on a daily basis. If you string together a bunch of bad eating days, it's dangerous in the long run."

The safest strategy is eating a diet that’s low in salt and rich in fresh and minimally processed whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Include enough calcium and vitamin D from foods, and supplements if necessary, and be sure to limit caffeine and carbonated drinks.

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Reviewed on January 09, 2008
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Osteoporosis Glossary

  • Bone Mineral Density - A measurement of the amount of calcium and minerals in bone tissue.
  • Calcium - A mineral in (and vital to) your bones. If your body lacks calcium, it takes it from bones.
  • DEXA (dual energy X-ray absorptiometry) - a test used to measure bone mineral density.
  • Osteoporosis - A decrease in bone density, which increase the risk of fractures.
  • Vitamin D - A vitamin that helps your body absorb calcium.
  • View All Terms

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