In other words,
consistent with previous studies none of the girls with "low"
calcium intake had any different bone development than girls with
high calcium intake. Contrary to the dairy-industry propaganda,
getting that extra calcium didn't make a difference.
''We (had) hypothesized
that increased calcium intake would result in better adolescent
bone gain. Needless to say, we were surprised to find our hypothesis
refuted,'' said Tom Lloyd of Pennsylvania State University, co-author
of the new study.
Height and weight,
not diet or exercise, were found to be the main factors determining
total body bone-mineral content in adolescent girls. The study further
found that the amount of physical activity engaged in by study participants
was a primary determinant in bone mineral density growth; there
was a ``biologically important'' link between bone mass at the hip
and regular exercise.
the study authors point out, "although increased peak hip (bone
mineral density) was related to the cumulative sports-exercise score,
it was not related to aerobic capacity... That is, it's not the
intensity of the exercise that counts -- it's any exercise that
is done on a daily or nearly daily basis," Lloyd noted. "It
doesn't mean you have to be on the soccer team or that you have
to go out and become a gold medalist in field hockey. It means 25
minutes of walking around the block.''
that these "results apply to white women with an average daily
intake of at least 500 milligrams per deciliter (of calcium).''
Since data obtained from the National Health and Nutrition Examination
Survey suggest that a quarter of teenage girls "do not get
500 milligrams/deciliter...for this population, increasing calcium
intake may be of benefit'' for bone health, Lloyd added.
Or it may not.
The chief point is that there is currently no credible research
which exists to support the (dairy industry-promoted) assertion
that lower calcium intake has any adverse impact on bone growth
or health -- and there is research which refutes it.
daily calcium intake for South African blacks is 196 mg whereas
the daily calcium intake for African-Americans is more than 1,000
mg. Yet the hip fracture rate for African-Americans compared to
South African blacks is NINE TIMES GREATER! [Calif Tissue Int 1992;50:14-18]
And those countries with the highest calcium consumption turn out
to be the same ones with the highest rates of osteoporosis.
weaning age, children and adults of various countries and food
cultures subsist on diets differing markedly in their calcium
content. These differences in calcium intake . . . have not
been demonstrated to have any consequences for nutritional health."
-- Health Canada's Nutrition Recommendations
more calcium to one's diet, as though there were some linear relationship
between calcium intake and good bone health, is fairly ridiculous
-- notwithstanding the clamoring of dairy-funded organizations and
even a few vegetarian experts with ties to the soy industry. (Soy
milk makers fortify their products with calcium in response to all
the calcium hype and to compete with dairy.)
In fact, the
National Dairy Council funded a study which ended up returning results
showing that the more milk women drank, the more bone loss they
experienced. OOPS! [Am J Clin Nutrition 1985;41:254]
Better with Coke -- Except Bones
study in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine demonstrated
that teenage girls who drink lots of soda may be more prone to bone
fractures and osteoporosis later in life than girls who do not drink
large quantities of soft drinks. [Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent
is a crucial time for bone development, and any factors adversely
impacting on bone acquisition during adolescence can potentially
have long-standing detrimental effects," wrote Dr. Neville
H. Golden of Schneider Children's Hospital of Long Island Jewish
Medical Center in New Hyde Park, New York, in an editorial accompanying
found that cola may be particularly detrimental to adolescent girls,
possibly due to large amounts of the mineral phosphorus that is
found in colas. Previous studies have shown that phosphorus can
interfere with the skeleton's ability to absorb calcium.
It turns out
the same things that protect against heart disease, cancer and a
host of other diseases -- can help protect against osteoporosis:
limit your animal-protein intake, including red meat, chicken, fish,
eggs and cheese, all of which leech calcium from your bones. Cigarettes,
salt, caffeine and a sedentary lifestyle are also related to poor
bone health. Avoid milk -- and regularly exercise!
study, this one published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,
is called "Dietary influences on bone mass and bone metabolism:
further evidence of a positive link between fruit and vegetable
consumption and bone health?" [Vol. 71, No. 1, 142-151]
reported that potassium and magnesium -- key nutrients found in
high concentrations in many fruits and vegetables -- may be much
more important to bone health than calcium. In the study of 62 randomly-selected
healthy women between age 45 and 55, researchers assessed bone health
and diet. While, as expected, they found no correlation between
the consumption of dairy products and bone health, they discovered
a significant correlation between high consumption of fruit
and positive BMD reads on the neck. This study was only one in a
series conducted by researchers showing fruit and vegetable consumption
correlates with healthy bones -- while consumption of dairy products
and calcium does not.
be found in bananas, prunes, raisins, spinach and white potatoes;
magnesium is found in dark-green leafy vegetables, brown rice and
to point toward a plant-based diet with little or no dairy products
-- and moderate physical activity -- as important for maintaining
healthy bones. Weight-lifting can be especially effective in increasing
BMD, and studies of people working out with weights have shown dramatic
increases in BMD, even in individuals in their 70s and beyond.
For more important and current calcium information,
please see PCRM's Preventing
and Reversing Osteoporosis