4 Foods That May Increase Osteoporosis Risk

This article originally published on GetOld

Osteoporosis occurs when you lose too much bone, make too little bone, or both.

As a result, bones become weak and may break from a simple fall or, if severe enough, bones can fracture from something as simple as sneezing or knocking into a coffee table. Plus, bone loss is not limited just to women. Although one in two women over age 50 will break a bone in their lifetime, as many as one in four men will also experience the same fate, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF). Some seemingly innocent foods and beverages like these can raise your chances of developing osteoporosis. 


Eating foods high in sodium, or adding a lot of salt to foods, causes your body to lose calcium and can lead to bone loss, says Rene Ficek, RD, lead nutrition expert at Seattle Sutton’s Healthy Eating, a company featuring balanced, freshly prepared foods. “Try to limit the amount of processed foods, canned foods, and salt added to the foods. Aim to get 2,400 mg or less of sodium per day (approximately one teaspoon).” There may be other reasons to limit sodium intake even more, and you should discuss with your health care professional team.


Wheat bran contains not only good fiber but also high amounts of phytates, which can stop your body from absorbing calcium, according to NOF. It only works this way when the calcium-containing food is eaten along with the bran, however, such as in a breakfast cereal with milk. So drinking additional milk separately or taking your calcium supplement two or more hours after eating the bran cereal can help solve the issue.


Drinking more than two to three drinks per day can also boost osteoporosis risk, says Ficek. Large amounts of alcohol reduces bone formation and alters vitamin D and calcium metabolism, important nutrients for building strong bones. Avoid heavy drinking to prevent osteoporosis, says Ficek. Alcohol use has a variety of effects on health and illness and what constitutes excess alcohol for a particular individual is a good discussion to have with your health care professional.


Drinking colas, which contain caffeine and phosphoric acid, may also adversely affect bone, according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. This may be because soda often replaces healthier drinks, such as milk, says Ficek. “Plus, taking in a disproportionate amount of phosphorus versus calcium could lead to bone loss. “

In addition to these steps, the National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends the following for strong bones: Get enough calcium and vitamin D (see your health care provider for specific recommendations), engage in regular exercise and eat foods that promote good bone health, such as fruits and vegetables.

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