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Meat-free diet with high risk of fractures

Along Claire Wilson

A vegetarian diet can increase the risk of fractures

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According to the largest study to date on this risk, those who do not eat meat are at increased risk of breaking bones, especially the lower back. This effect may be due to a lack of calcium and protein in the diet, and the fact that there is less meat to relieve falls because they tend to be thinner.

Several previous studies have shown that vegetarians have weaker bones than meat eaters, but it was unclear whether this had a significant effect on the risk of fractures.

A new study, called EPIC-Oxford, was first set up to determine whether diet affects the risk of cancer by tracking the health status of about 65,000 people in the UK since 1993. I used. In this study, people’s typical diets were recorded and their health was tracked through hospital records.


By 2010, vegans had more than twice as many hip fractures as meat eaters, but vegetarians and fish eaters had a modest increase in risk, about 25%. Vegans were also at high risk of breaking other bones, not vegetarians or pescatarians.

The overall level of risk to vegans is relatively low, equivalent to about 20 pains per 1000 people in 10 years. However, according to Oxford University researcher Tammy Ton, the average age of the first participants was 45, so fracture rates can be higher in older people who often have hip fractures.

Meat eaters consumed more calcium and protein when people’s diets were analyzed. Calcium is an important component of bone, and protein can help absorb calcium from food. “Unless they are actively taking supplements, vegans are unlikely to get enough calcium from their diet,” says Tong.

However, people eating a vegan diet today may have high calcium levels. “In the 1990s, there was less fortification of vegetable milk,” she says.

Heather Russell, a nutritionist at the British Vegan Society, said: “It is certainly possible to take care of bones with a well-planned vegan diet, but people need information to make healthy choices.”

Studying people in the same group, being a vegetarian not only reduces the risk of cancer after 15 years by about 10% and the risk of heart disease by about 20%, but also stroke.

Journal reference: BMC medicine, DOI: 10.1186 / s12916-020-01815-3

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Meat-free diet with high risk of fractures

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