Should I blame my vegan diet for my broken wrists?

A new research study was just published that suggests that vegans are more prone to bone fractures as compared to people who eat fish or meat.

The study was based on data from nearly 55,000 people – of which nearly 2,000 were vegans – and found those not eating meat or fish were 43% more likely to suffer any type of broken bone. Data from the participants in the EPIC-Oxford study – who were followed for 18 years on average – showed 3,941 fractures occurred in total, and the biggest difference was found in hip fractures, where the risk in vegans was 2.3 times higher than in people who ate meat.

Wrist fractures, which were the second-highest type of fracture behind the hip in the study, were only 1.2 times higher for vegans as compared to those who ate meat.

Here’s a table from the study that summarizes the results:

Possible reasons for the increased risk of bone fractures among vegans are lower intake of calcium as a result of the lack of dairy in the vegan diet as well as decreased protein intake.

it is not a lost cause for vegans, however. There are many ways to get calcium and protein while on such a diet.

Dietician Bahee Van de Bor recommends the following plant-based options for calcium:

  • Calcium, iodine and vitamin D fortified plant-drinks (for this reason avoid organic varieties which are not fortified with calcium); 200ml provides 240mg
  • Calcium-fortified soy, oat and coconut yoghurts, 125g provides 150mg
  • Calcium-enriched orange juice, 150 ml provides 180mg
  • Calcium-fortified cereals and instant hot oat cereal, 130-200mg per serving
  • Vegetables such as broccoli provide calcium (two spears, 34mg)
  • Calcium-fortified bread; variable with type providing 50-100mg per two slices
  • One orange, 75mg
  • A vegan-friendly type of vitamin D can be purchased for a plant-based diet. It’s generally referred to as vitamin D2 but some brands source D3 derived from algae.

Top sources of protein for vegans include tofu, lentils, soy milk, green peas, squash and pumpkin seeds, quinoa, peanut butter, spinach, sweet corn, and mushrooms (yuck).

I don’t have any plans to change my vegan diet because of what happened to my wrists, but it does serve as a reminder that I need to be careful about what I eat.

I guess it’s time to start putting peanut butter on top of everything!


20 thoughts on “Should I blame my vegan diet for my broken wrists?

  1. bone stats! wow, there really are stats for everything, and i think your peanut butter plan is a good way to go, funny you listed mushrooms/yuck, i’m writing about mushrooms/yum for the morning.


  2. Maybe our primitive genes think that if we’re vegan, we don’t need strong bones. After all, we won’t be wrestling around with any deer, yaks, wild boars, or other game animals. We don’t need strong bones to pick wild berries or pull rutabagas from the ground.

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  3. I guess there are stats for everything. The funny thing about these food studies is that one study will determine one thing, and the next may determine the exact opposite.

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  4. Maybe the study is flawed. Is it possible the clean vegan diet led the vegan participants to a more active lifestyle thus increasing their risk for a broken bone, while the meat-eaters stayed safe being couch potatoes? I would need to see a more stringent test that repeats the results before I buy in. For now, it would appear, a little broccoli with peanut butter on it should do the trick!


  5. At the risk of being unpopular, I’m not surprised. I’m a gal who doesn’t eat margarine because I read once how it was made. I know how butter is made – you take some cream and shake it about a bit.
    And that’s kind of my food philosopy – if it’s natural it’s probably OK (I may not like it, but that’s another issue – oily fish, for instance, even though i know it’s good for me.)
    Humans have evolved omnivorous, and I prefer to go with what’s natural (and no, I don’t eat fast food or processed meals, unless I’m with someone who’s only offering that kind of lunch). I know that supplements exist to add most things that meat or fish would otherwise supply. I take a number of supplements myself – not just omega 3 – so I’m not dissing those either. As you age your body gets less efficient at extracting what it needs, so I won’t make things harder for it.
    I do eat less meat than I once did, and buy free-range and farm-reared. If I’m feeding a vegetarian or vegan I’ll eat the same. (I even have different cooking pots from when a daughter was vegetarian and, briefly vegan). But I’d miss meat and fish in my diet, and so, I suspect, would my metabolism.

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  6. So junk food really is better for you, then! I was planning to go vegan in around 30 years’ time, but I think I’ll put it off now 😉

    Hope your recovery is going well.

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  7. Wow, I’m sorry you broke your wrists! If vegans need fortified stuff then veganism is not our intended diet… Broccoli has lots of calcium. I know of someone who eats no plants at all. Now that really is not healthy.


  8. Sorry to hear about your wrists, Jim…I’m with Cathy on this one and I do eat less meat now but wouldn’t give up completely…its that moderation word again… Wishing you speedy recovery 🙂 x

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    1. Thanks, Carol. They seem to be healing nicely. I have been trying to be more conscious of getting adequate nutrition such as calcium, from alternative sources, like broccoli and kale.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It seems to me a vegan diet can make it difficult to get enough Calcium? That is unless you religiously plan every meal but how many of us do that? That is why I query alternative forms of eating with regards to nutrients 🙂 x

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  9. Interesting. I’ve been vegetarian most of my life. I know older women who ate meat and dairy all their life and had to get hip replacements. So the breaking bones thing can happen regardless of diet. Bones and joints start to deteriorate a bit as you get older as does collagen.

    I fractured a wrist cycling about a decade ago as I came off my bike and tried to break my fall. They told me to drink milk etc and that I might need surgery. I was like ha ha no way.

    I was in a cast for a while and was vegan. I drank soya milk ate my normal diet and healed quickly and well. And of course no surgery was needed. That should always be an absolute last resort. And I definitely did not need that.

    I would say that once you get to say around 40 you really need to think about your bones and joints. And I would definitely recommend taking a supplement for bones and joints. You can get vegan ones. Good to get your omegas too. You don’t need fish though you can get an omega 3 algae supplement which is where the fish get the omega 3. It’s the purest source and devoid of Mercury. You can take flaxseed oil for omega 3, 6 and 9.

    It’s all about preventative health care. Maybe the wrist thing was a wake up call. Definitely include nuts and seeds in your diet as well as leafy greens and if possible cruciferous veg. Think about adding super nutrient powders too.

    Good Luck with the healing. 🍏🥬🍏

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