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Meat-Free Diets Linked With Higher Risk Of Breaking Bones

by : Daniel Richardson on : 23 Nov 2020 12:15
Meat-Free Diets Linked With Higher Risk Of Breaking BonesPA Images

Cutting out or reducing meat is often associated with health benefits, but it seems that removing meat from your diet can also have a negative effect on the strength of your bones. 

A new study has utilised the findings of previous research called EPIC-Oxford, which investigated how diet can influence the risks of cancer, and it followed 65,000 people in the UK from 1993.

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The result of this original study was a huge amount of data that could provide insights into the impact of particular diets. The findings found that those who did not eat meat were more likely to break their bones.

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The study uncovered several interesting differences between non-meat eaters and those who enjoyed the produce. Vegans in this study were twice as likely to break their hip than meat-eaters, and vegetarians, as well as fish eaters, were 25% more likely to have a break in the area. In general, it was found that vegans had a greater risk of breaking their bones than meat-eaters.

However, despite the increased risk of bone damage, the scale of difference due to diet is relatively small. When compared to meat-eaters vegans had an extra 20 bones broken per 1000 people over 10 years. Furthermore, the reasons behind this increase in breaks may become less relevant.

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It is thought that these broken bones are due to a lack of calcium, although this may change with plant milk becoming more frequently consumed.

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Tammy Tong who is a researcher at the University of Oxford has contextualised the results for New Scientist

Unless they are actively supplementing, it’s quite unlikely that vegans will have a sufficient intake of calcium just from the diet. In the 1990s, there was less fortification of plant milks.

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Although the researcher went on to note:

It’s certainly possible to look after your bones on a well-planned vegan diet, but people need information to make healthy choices.

The study also found that vegetarians were 10 percent less likely to develop cancer. With that in mind, it seems that all diets have positive elements as well as negative. What appears to be the key take away from this study is making sure you have a balanced diet, no matter what you choose to eat.

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Daniel Richardson

After graduating from university, Dan went on to work with a variety of tech startups and media outlets. Through working with the likes of Game Rant, The Hook and What Culture, Dan pursued his interests in technology. The skills he picked up along the way are now being utilised with UNILAD.

Topics: Technology, Diet, Health, Now, Tech, Veganism

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New Scientist
  1. New Scientist

    Meat-free diets linked with greater risk of breaking bones