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!