Sara here. Osteoporosis has been in the news again, and I want to share some important missing information with you. (If you want the nitty-gritty osseous-related research, please shoot me a line on the Forum.) In brief, though, here’s what every woman, and especially all the moms out there, must know:
Osteoporosis is not going to be prevented, treated or cured with three glasses of milk a day or yogurt every morning. Never was, never will be.
A few things the dairy people don’t want you to think about:
1) Dairy is not a common food in much of the world,
2) Osteoporosis is not a common disease – often, it’s not even heard of – in much of the world. However, osteoporosis is most common in Europe and in the United States, where dairy intake is exceptionally high. Strange? Sure, because there are other factors you need to know about. Osteoporosis is not simply a matter of calcium depletion.
Osteoporosis is caused by many factors, but here are the four key ones:
1) Vitamin and mineral deficiency. Although the western world has incredible abundance and access, centralized mass production of food leaves a lot to be desired in the nutritional department. And our calcium emphasis is skewed. Though calcium is important, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, vitamin D, and countless other vitamins and minerals are crucial to bone health. In fact, recent studies show that magnesium may actually be more important to bone health than calcium is. Not saying calcium isn’t important. It is. It’s vital. It’s just not the only thing you need. I hate to beat a dead llama, but take a multi-vitamin, ladies!
2) Soda consumption. (Even diet soda.) The worst, and I mean worst thing you can do to your bones is to drink death-by-can. There are lots of studies that prove this, but a recent long-term study published in the much-respected American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that women who consume just one soda daily have 5 to 7 percent less bone material than women who limit fizzy stuff to just once a month.
3) Lack of fruits and vegetables. Most Americans eat only 1-3 servings of produce daily. Blech! No wonder we’re all so chunkity chunk. A recent study from the British Journal of Nutrition found that postmenopausal women who ate adequate vegetable matter (at least 5 servings) in their daily diets were between 200 and 400% better in terms of bone mineral density loss. (Now, here’s a handy time to talk about studies and statistics. This doesn’t mean that these bone-hardy women have bones that weigh 2 to 4 times as much as other women. What it means is relative loss compared to veggie-avoiding women. So, that might mean a few ounces on up to a few pounds – scientists generally break things up into quartiles so they can examine a range of factors. Fascinating, I know!)
In other words, vegetables will not make you gain 300 pounds, and they will also not give you the bones of Hercules. But they’re still good for your bones.
Here was Mark’s take: the study was cross-sectional (good), population-based (fine in this case), long-term (good), used statistical regression analysis (sounds fancy but just standard) and was questionnaire-based (a little annoying, but still useful).
4) Lastly, but definitely not least, osteoporosis is caused by a lack of weight-bearing activity. This means resistance. This means weights. And there is no need to worry – weight-bearing activity will not make you look like a protein-shake spokeswoman. A lot of women are surprised to learn that “weight-bearing” activity can be going for a walk – ‘cuz you are bearing your own weight! Using ankle weights is great, as well. Purchase some dumbbells in the 2-10 pound range (depending on your fitness level) and learn to do 4 or 5 difference moves, 3 sets each, 8-10 repetitions per set. 2 or 3 times a week is plenty to keep your bones strong. Ask me for some moves. I’m happy to help out.
Technorati Tags: Sara Ost, osteoporosis, osseous, women’s health, deficiency, vitamins, minerals, calcium, weight training, Viactiv, calcium supplement, British Journal of Nutrition, bone density, dairy, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
It’s Prohibition all over again. What do you all think about major cities banning certain fattening foods? Is this blatantly unconstitutional, or simply in the interest of public health? In recent months Chicago has attempted to ban foie gras (French for greasy grease) and New York has now rumbled to restaurants about frying foods in trans fat oils. Even Killing Folks Covertly (KFC) is hopping in the anti-trans fryer.
While I don’t know that foie gras tops most people’s dietary vice lists, food manufacturers’ stubborn use of trans fat is utterly irresponsible and flagrantly unethical. (Yes, I said it.)
But here’s the real question: Just like the too-skinny models (perhaps a redundancy) banned in Spain, is banning trans fat in restaurants the right step? Might we think about going to the source by sending a message to Congressional lobbyists working for Big Agra instead?
People like to use eggs in words like eggscellent, eggxactly and eggstatic.
Poor eggs. I recommend using them in your meals instead – and think beyond breakfast on occasion. Eggs are slowly regaining favor after their Humpty-Dumpty fall during the whole cholesterol paranoia of the 1960s, 70s and 80s.
We know that they contain valuable protein, vitamins and minerals: stress-busting selenium, antioxidant E, and eye-healthy lutein among them.
Because I am an egghead (sorry), I’m proud to bring you the latest findings from a study Mark pointed out to the Bees in the Journal of Nutrition. In a study that was randomized (good), controlled (great), and cross-sectional (nice), scientists found that a daily egg gave people’s eyes a boost with lutein and zeaxanthin (an antioxidant from the carotenoid family) and didn’t raise their serum cholesterol. Not that we worry too much about cholesterol anyway. That’s right – we don’t lose sleep over cholesterol! Just one of the many MDA ongoing health debates you might want to check out in the forum.
So scramble, Apples!
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