Lauren Weiss is a behavioural nutritionist specializing in the low-carb and keto lifestyle. She has recently written an article/guide on Diet Doctor site regarding low carb and keto diets, and are they healthy for bones?
She writes: "For many, a reduction in bone health, strength, and density is an all too common part of the aging process. Fortunately, several healthy lifestyle habits, including a low-carb or keto diet, can potentially slow or even reverse bone loss as you age.
What is bone health and why is it so important?
Bone is a constantly changing living tissue, even though its hardened appearance may make you think otherwise. Bones are mostly made up of collagen, a protein which provides the soft framework, and calcium phosphate, which adds strength and hardens the framework.
Bones play many important functions in the body, such as providing structure and scaffolding for your body, allowing you to move, anchoring muscles, storing calcium, and protecting your organs (e.g., brain, heart) from injury.
In your late teens to early 20s, your bones achieve their “peak bone mass,” meaning that your body has the greatest amount of bone.
Lifestyle habits — especially diet and exercise, and especially during the period of bone growth in childhood through young adulthood — can influence your peak bone mass by approximately 20 to 40%.
Around midlife, you will likely start to lose bone as part of the aging process unless you incorporate several important lifestyle habits. Since bone loss is “silent,” most people are unaware that they are losing bone.
Unfortunately, poor bone health later in life increases your risk of fracture and frailty, which can have a profound effect on your independence and quality of life. That is why it pays to prioritize bone health as you age.
What conditions are associated with poor bone health?
As bones start to slowly thin out with age, they can become less dense, more brittle, and more likely to break. When this process is accelerated, it can result in osteopenia (low bone mass) or osteoporosis (severe bone loss). Osteoporosis afflicts approximately 200 million people worldwide.
This condition leads to more than 8.9 million fractures every year, and an osteoporotic fracture occurs every 3 seconds around the world.
How do you know if you have poor bone health? Bone health can be measured using a bone scan machine called DEXA, short for dual x-ray absorptiometry.
This machine measures the density of your bones. If your density values are lower than the normal ranges for you age and gender, you may be diagnosed as having osteopenia or osteoporosis.
Increasing evidence shows that several other conditions may be associated with osteoporosis and fracture risk, such as type 2 diabetes, sarcopenic obesity (having more body fat than muscle), and Alzheimer’s disease.
This does not mean that one causes the other, but this does suggest that similar mechanisms, such as “inflammaging” (inflammation associated with aging) may be involved in the development of each of these diseases.
Future research will hopefully help us better understand these relationships.
Are you at risk for poor bone health?
We can divide the many factors associated with bone growth and bone loss into two categories: nonmodifiable and modifiable.
Examples of the nonmodifiable risk factors — meaning you cannot change them — are age, gender, heredity, and ethnicity or race. Research shows that being female, having a genetic predisposition, and being Caucasian or Asian all increase your risk for accelerated, age-related bone loss.
Although you cannot do anything to change these factors, you can focus on your modifiable variables to help keep your bones healthy.
Modifiable variables are ones you can change during your lifetime to help prevent or slow age-related bone loss. Most of these variables are associated with lifestyle, such as diet, exercise, smoking habits, and alcohol intake. Good nutrition — as well as staying active, not smoking, and avoiding heavy drinking — can help to keep your bones strong as you age.
Even though a large amount of research has explored lifestyle factors, many questions remain. Let’s take a look at them, so you can start making informed choices about how to keep your bones healthy.
The article continues, with questions and answers:-
Will taking calcium and Vitamin D supplements or eating foods rich in these nutrients protect your bones?
What other nutrients may help keep your bones healthy?
What type of exercise is best for bone health?
What are the effects of a low-carb or keto diet on bone health?
Before coming to the -
Emerging research supports the idea that low-carb diets may actually improve our bones. For starters, low-carb diets can reduce inflammation, and researchers have proposed that inflammation may be associated with the development of osteoporosis.
We also know that well-formulated low-carb or keto diets emphasize the consumption of protein and nutrient-rich vegetables, which evidence suggests are important for bone health as well as overall health. No convincing evidence as of yet shows that low-carb or keto diets have any harmful effects on bone, and the new accumulating research suggests the opposite may be true.
A well-balanced, low-carb or keto diet that includes adequate amounts of high-quality protein, calcium-rich foods, and nutrient-dense vegetables may not only help keep your bones strong but help keep your body healthier as you age."
The above is a snippet of Lauren's article which you can read in full and with all reference links here
This blog brings a variety of articles and recipe ideas, and it is important to note, not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use a reliable meter.
All the best Jan