No need to freebase calcium

Some interesting quotes from The Bean Diet. The bolding is mine.

Veganism, Bone Mineral Density, and Body Composition: a Study in Buddhist Nuns, published in Osteoporosis International Journal (April 7, 2009).

Researchers compared 105 postmenopausal Buddhist nuns adhering to a vegan (no meat, eggs or dairy) diet to 105 omnivorous postmenopausal women in Vietnam to see if there were differences in bone density. Even though the vegan women consumed significantly LESS calcium (as well as less protein) than the omnivorous women, there was no difference in bone density.

Researchers even stated, “Further analysis suggested that whole body BMD [Bone Mineral Density]… was positively correlated with the ratio of animal protein to vegetable protein.” In other words, the higher the amount of plant protein, the less likelihood of bone loss and vice versa: the higher the animal-derived protein, the greater likelihood of bone loss.

In this particular study, the vegan women consumed an average of less than 400 mg of calcium a day, far from the recommended 1000-1500 mg calcium many Americans try to attain. Yet the vegan women only consumed about 35 grams/day plant protein, in contrast to omnivorous women at 62 grams/day. If you recall, animal protein is especially high in sulfuric acid, and since meat is so high in overall protein, it raises the uric acid level in our body. In order to neutralize these acids, our body leaches out calcium from the bones, which ultimately ends up in our urine (or kidneys, as kidney stones).

I both love and loathe articles like this.

I love them because they help free people from Dairy Industry propaganda via the USDA that human beings need 3 glasses of milk a day or a gram of calcium supplements, at least.

I loathe them because people who have no idea what they are talking about will throw such things articles around the web to proudly proclaim that they don’t need protein or calcium, that the sunshine only diet is enough.

I’m not an expert of any kind. Ha. How often do you hear a web maven admit that? 🙂

My understanding as an ignorant, non-expert, is that calcium is only ONE piece of the osteoporosis issue. You can have all of the calcium in the world, but still have brittle bones if you don’t have the other pieces.

Other factors are weight bearing exercise, exposure to the sun/vitamin d, sodium intake, phosphoric acid intake ( soda ) and a few others. Bones are also made out over 12 minerals other than just calcium. Other nutritents also contribute to bone health, like Vitamin K ( absent in milk, FYI )

So while a Vietnamese nun who may be outdoors, who may be doing physical labor, eating a modest amount of protein, eating loads of vegetables and very little sodium may be fine, an American vegan sitting in an office all day, getting some casual exercise a week, chowing down on high protein faux meats, drinking soda, eating lots of processed food with sodium and eating a not as many vegetables as s/he thinks, will not be fine.

Still, for people who love to eat vegetables beyond typical salad greens, who like to work out very hard, who get outside and who watch the other risk factors it is pretty cool to read the above quotes.

Peace of mind…

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