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High Protein Diets May Increase Bone Loss Among Mature Women

Post-menopausal women looking to lose weight by following a high-protein meat diet may want to think twice. According to 2 studies published in the July 2010 issue of the Journals of Gerontology, this will result in an increased risk of bone loss.

Researchers from Purdue University conducted both of the studies.

The first of the two studies included 28 overweight women between 43 and 80 years of age. The researchers had all of the women reduce their diets by 750 calories daily to achieve 1.5 pounds of weight loss for 12 weeks.

The women were divided into two groups. The first group was given a meat-free diet with protein coming from vegetarian, dairy and egg sources, which made up 18% of their calorie intake. The second group followed a high protein meat diet composed of 30% of calories from protein. 40% of that came from meat and 60% from vegetarian, dairy and egg sources.

At the end of the study all of the women lost approximately 19 pounds but those in the high protein group also lost bone mineral density by approximately 1.4%.

The second study followed a similar methodology, with women eating diets based on protein coming from different sources; vegetarian vs. meat. The researchers observed the same findings, with all of the women losing the same amount of weight but women with high protein meat diets also losing up to 1.4% bone mineral density.

The researchers also found that calcium supplements appeared to have absolutely no effect on the loss of bone mineral density.

Women are 4 times more likely to develop osteoporosis than men. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 70% of women over the age of 80 have osteoporosis.

Vitamin D and calcium are well known for their bone health benefits and previous studies have also shown that soy may reduce the risk of osteoporosis among post-menopausal women

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