Joy Bauer Life is hard, food should be easy Mon, 10 Jan 2022 22:23:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Osteoporosis Basics Wed, 10 Feb 2016 03:17:25 +0000 No one knows for sure what causes osteoporosis, but certain factors are clear.

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No one knows for sure what causes some people to develop osteoporosis, but certain factors are clear. In this section, learn what you can do to protect yourself and make your bones healthier.

All too often, the first sign of osteoporosis is a broken bone. For my client Janice, it was her wrist. At age 64, her overall good health was the envy of more than one of her close friends — she felt good, looked younger than her age, and regularly saw her internist and gynecologist for routine checkups. Then she slipped and fell in the snow and broke her wrist — and osteoporosis, which had been silently developing for years, made itself known.

Brittle-bone disease, or osteoporosis, is often not diagnosed until a fracture occurs. Osteoporosis is defined by low bone mineral density (BMD) on an X-ray bone-density scan. If a scan shows your bone density is a bit low, your diagnosis is osteopenia, or pre-osteoporosis. If your BMD is quite low, the diagnosis is osteoporosis. (The results of bone-density scans are expressed in terms of T scores. Scores ranging from -1.0 to -2.5 indicate osteopenia; less than –2.5 means osteoporosis.)

Regardless of the cause, if you have low bone density you’re facing a higher-than-average risk of breaking a bone. If you are lucky, your doctor will recognize some of the risk factors and send you for a bone density scan before you have to endure the pain and recovery of a broken bone.

Some risk factors of osteoporosis are avoidable, while others aren’t. While you can’t do much to alter your family history or certain medical conditions (such as Cushing’s disease and hypothyroidism), you can most certainly address certain bad habits, like smoking and drinking to excess, as well as be proactive about your nutrition and exercise. In this section, you’ll learn some of the preventive steps you can take to ensure healthy, strong bones.

Children are taught that bones are like steel girders, the framework of the glorious structure that is the human body. The problem with that analogy is that girders are designed to last hundreds of years without losing strength. In reality, bones are more like the interstate highway system — they fall apart, crack, get potholes, and then get patched up again so we can continue using them.

In addition, unlike steel girders, our bones consist of different layers, with varying density. The outer layer is called compact bone, and it is relatively solid. But just under the compact bone is another layer called spongy bone, which isn’t soft, but it is porous, with holes like a sponge or Swiss cheese. And because bone is live tissue, there are also nerves and blood vessels to feed the cells, as well as other structures.

Bones also contain specialized cells that help form bone (osteoblasts) and break down or resorb bone (osteoclasts). Osteoclasts and osteoblasts work like little construction crews, constantly remodeling, working to keep the bones healthy and strong. If your overall health is good and you eat nutritionally sound meals, a balance is maintained — for every bit of bone lost, an equal amount of bone is created.

With osteoporosis, though, more bone is lost than formed. As you might imagine, the spongy bone — with all its holes and slender walls — becomes weak and compromised more quickly than compact bone. Breaks can occur anywhere, but the most common sites are the hip and wrist, which are more likely to bear the impact of a fall. The bones of the back (vertebrae) are also affected, but they don’t break; they are crushed. The weight of the body is enough to compress the back bones, causing a multitude of tiny fractures in the spongy bone. Over time people with osteoporosis can become shorter — they lose a little height each time a vertebra compresses.

No one knows definitively what causes some people to develop osteoporosis, but some risk factors are clear:

Hormonal Changes
Estrogen and testosterone are important for bone health because they regulate bone loss, or resorption. Both these hormones seem to inhibit the formation of osteoclasts (the cells that break down bone), so when hormone levels are high, there are more bone-building cells than bone-destroying cells. If hormone levels fall, the balance shifts, and bone density is lost.

The question, then, is what causes levels of estrogen or testosterone to fall? The most common cause is aging. Men can develop osteoporosis when they get older as testosterone levels slowly decline. For women, menopause causes an extreme drop in estrogen, and their greatest bone loss occurs within the first ten years after menopause. That’s why many physicians recommend that women get a bone-density scan when they turn 50 or when they enter menopause, whichever comes first. That first test acts as a baseline. The scan should be repeated one or two years later to get a sense of the rate of bone loss.

Menopause isn’t the only condition that triggers osteoporosis. Unfortunately, I’ve been seeing a lot of young women in my practice, women referred to me by their doctors because eating disorders have begun to ravage their bones. When a woman’s weight drops too low, her hormones get out of whack, her estrogen levels fall, and she stops menstruating.

In terms of bone health, a too-thin woman in her 20s looks a lot like a post-menopausal woman in her 60s. The only real cure is for the young woman to gain enough weight to start menstruating again, and then to maximize her bone density while she can — that is, until about age 30, when bone density reaches its peak.

Corticosteroid medications are used to treat a number of common illnesses, including asthma and some autoimmune disorders. But steroids seem to inhibit the bone-building activity and may also increase bone resorption. It has been estimated that up to half of all people who take steroids long-term will end up with osteoporosis. Significant bone loss can occur after even a relatively short course of corticosteroids — 7.5 mg of prednisone for two to three months may require treatment to prevent bone loss.

Body Weight
Bones get stronger if they get more use. In the earlier stages of life, exercise helps build bone. And as much as it pains me to say it, weight builds bone. When it comes to osteoporosis, thin women have a greater risk than heavy women. Think about it — bones that support a 170-pound woman work harder than bones that carry a 110-pound woman.

Studies have shown that lean muscle mass helps strengthen bone density more than fat, but overall weight still contributes to strong bones. Of course, my advice is not for you to put on a few pounds for the sake of strengthening your bones! Being overweight puts you at greater risk for so many life-threatening diseases that it is never a wise choice. But women who diet excessively to keep their weight fashionably low are hurting their bones, now and in the future. If you have a low body weight, you’ll want to be especially diligent about performing strength training exercises to build up your lean mass and give your bones a workout.

Other Diseases
Any disorder that reduces the body’s ability to absorb calcium and other nutrients can cause osteoporosis. The most common is celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that causes the small intestines to lose their absorption capability. Previously thought to be a rare disease of childhood, celiac disease is now known to affect about 1 percent of Americans and can strike at any age.

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How Food Affects Osteoporosis Wed, 10 Feb 2016 03:12:39 +0000 Find out how to make healthy food choices that can help prevent or reduce dangerous bone loss that leads to osteoporosis.

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Find out how to make healthy food choices that can help prevent or reduce dangerous bone loss that leads to osteoporosis.

Next to genetic predisposition, poor nutrition is the most common cause of osteoporosis. Making healthy food choices can help prevent dangerous bone loss, and food is one of the most important treatments recommended by physicians and nutritionists alike once osteoporosis is diagnosed.

Good Foods to Choose

Calcium and Vitamin D
When it comes to osteoporosis prevention or treatment, the two most important nutrients are calcium and vitamin D. Bone is made mostly of calcium. In addition, calcium fuels many other body functions, such as muscle movement, nerve operation, and immune activation. Typically, we get our daily dose of calcium from food. But if your diet isn’t the greatest, your body will use your bones as a bank, borrowing the calcium it needs today from the abundant supply in your bones. This creates a kind of calcium debt to your bones. If you eat enough high-calcium foods to keep functioning, any excess will be used to pay back the debt. But if you eat poorly, the debt never gets repaid. While you can skate by for a few years, eventually the debt will catch up with you in the form of weakened, thinning bones.

As we physically develop, our bones get denser and denser if we supply them by eating calcium-rich foods. By age 30, our bones are as dense as they will ever be. That’s why it is vital for children and young adults to get enough calcium in their diets, so that they start out with strong, dense bones. After menopause, all women lose bone density because of hormonal changes. A woman with dense bones will be able to lose some density without developing osteoporosis. After menopause, it is still important to get enough calcium so that you don’t run up a calcium debt any larger than necessary.

On the other hand, it is possible to get too much of good thing. Most people struggle to get the recommended 1,000 to 1,200 mg of calcium daily. But some folks can’t help but go overboard when they finally appreciate the connection between calcium and bone health — they change their diets and take supplements . . . lots of supplements. Unfortunately, you can’t make up for lost calcium overnight. The upper recommended limit for calcium consumption is 2,500 mg per day — taking more can reduce the body’s ability to absorb other minerals and may lead to kidney stones.

One interesting note: Some foods — most notably spinach and rhubarb — contain lots of calcium, but they also contain oxalates, substances that bind to the calcium, making it unavailable to your body. My list of calcium-rich foods includes only the absolute best sources, so every serving serves your bones.

BEST FOODS FOR CALCIUM: Yogurt (fat-free, low-fat), milk (fat-free, 1% reduced-fat), soy milk, tofu with calcium (check nutrition label), soybeans (edamame), frozen yogurt (fat-free, low-fat), low-fat ice cream, bok choy, white beans, kale, collard greens, broccoli, almonds and almond butter

Calcium is useless without vitamin D. Vitamin D allows calcium to move from the gastrointestinal tract to the parts of the body that need it — including the bones. Without enough vitamin D, a child’s bones can become so weak that they bow under the body’s own weight, a condition called rickets. In adults, lack of vitamin D means that the body borrows calcium from bones to feed the rest of the body’s needs. Eventually osteoporosis will set in.

Vitamin D can be made in the body through a reaction of the skin and sunlight. Just ten to 15 minutes of sun on the bare skin of the arms three or four times a week is enough to keep most of us healthy. Of course, too much sunlight causes skin damage and premature aging, and may lead to skin cancer. That’s why I recommend getting vitamin D primarily from food sources and supplements. Since few foods are rich in vitamin D, you may need to take a supplement (or multivitamin that contains vitamin D) in order to take in at least 800 International Units (IU) of vitamin D daily, my personal recommendation for healthy adults.

BEST FOODS FOR VITAMIN D:Wild salmon, mackerel (not king), sardines, herring, fortified milk (fat-free, 1% reduced-fat), soy milk, fortified non-fat or low-fat yogurt, egg yolks, UV-treated mushrooms,

Other Nutrients

Although calcium and vitamin D are the superstars of osteoporosis prevention and treatment, there are many other nutrients that play a supporting role, including:

Magnesium You don’t need a chemistry class to know that acids can be corrosive. The same is true for acids formed in your body during the process of metabolism. These metabolic acids need to be balanced and neutralized by alkaline compounds, otherwise they can cause bone loss. Magnesium can help neutralize these acids.

Furthermore, magnesium plays an integral role in bone crystal growth, thereby helping to strengthen bone structure. In addition, magnesium helps your body absorb calcium. For calcium to be absorbed in the body, it needs two things: vitamin D (as we already discussed) and parathyroid hormone (PTH). Because magnesium affects PTH, it indirectly — but very critically — affects how much calcium is available for building and maintaining bone.

While the scientific research is mixed, some studies show that a high magnesium intake can increase bone density or decrease the risk for fractures. Despite the conflicting findings, magnesium is necessary for health, and I believe it is impossible to properly treat osteoporosis without including magnesium. You don’t necessarily need to reach for a supplement though. Magnesium is found in a wide variety of healthful foods, so you can definitely reach your daily quota if you make an effort to load up on magnesium-rich ingredients.

Calcium supplements may cause constipation in some individuals. In such cases, taking a calcium/Vitamin D supplement that also contains magnesium (which acts as a gentle laxative) may help keep bowel habits regular.

BEST FOODS FOR MAGNESIUM: Pumpkin seeds, spinach, Swiss chard, amaranth, sunflower seeds, cashews, almonds, quinoa, tempeh, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, soybeans, millet, starchy beans (such as black, navy, pinto, garbanzo, kidney), artichoke hearts, peanuts and peanut butter, brown rice, whole grain bread, sesame seeds, wheat germ, flaxseed

Potassium Potassium helps to increase bone formation, improves calcium balance, increases bone mineral density, and reduces bone resorption by neutralizing metabolic acids.

Researchers from the United Kingdom looked at the effects of dietary potassium on bone mineral density of more than 3,000 premenopausal and postmenopausal women. For women who were still menstruating, eating lots of potassium-rich foods increased bone mineral density by 8 percent — a relatively modest gain, but one that the researchers estimated could translate into a 30 percent reduced risk of fracture in later years.

Of course, it is difficult to separate the effects of potassium specifically from the effects of fruits and vegetables in general. Fruits and veggies, many of which contain significant quantities of potassium, have a whole rainbow of nutrients that contribute to bone health. The most important takeaway from this encouraging research is that potassium-rich produce and other foods can help keep your bones healthy and strong.

BEST FOODS FOR POTASSIUM: White potatoes, yogurt (fat-free, low-fat), soybeans, Swiss chard, all fish, sweet potatoes, avocado, cantaloupe, artichokes, bananas, spinach, lettuce (especially romaine, radicchio, arugula, and endive), honeydew melon, pumpkin, milk (fat-free, 1% reduced-fat), carrots, starchy beans (such as  black, navy, kidney, pinto, garbanzo), lentils, lima beans, apricots, papaya, split peas, pistachio nuts, winter squash (acorn, butternut), soy milk, watermelon, beets, tomatoes (including sauce, juice), kale, mushrooms, raisins, peanuts,  plums, almonds, sunflower seeds, prunes (and juice), oranges (and juice), broccoli

Vitamin K Vitamin K is essential for the formation of osteocalcin, a type of protein found only in bone. High intake of vitamin K has been linked to lower risk of fractures in some populations. Therefore I highly recommend loading up on foods rich in vitamin K. One caveat: Vitamin K is a natural blood thickener that plays a role in the formation of blood clots, so people who are taking blood-thinning medication (such as warfarin) should talk with their doctors before eating vitamin K–rich foods.

BEST FOODS FOR VITAMIN K: Kale, spinach, collard greens, Swiss chard, turnip greens, endive, escarole, mustard greens, lettuce (all varieties), parsley, broccoli, broccoli raab, Brussels sprouts, watercress, asparagus, okra

Vitamin C Vitamin C is essential for the health of collagen, a key protein in bone tissue that contributes strength and resilience. Some studies have shown that eating lots of foods high in vitamin C increases bone mineral density and results in fewer fractures. A Tufts University study found that older men who consumed the most vitamin C experienced less bone loss over a 4-year period, but the same relationship was not seen in women. More research is needed to understand the relationship between vitamin C and bone health during aging, but regardless of future findings, it’s a good idea to consume plenty of vitamin C-rich produce like peppers, citrus fruits, and broccoli.

BEST FOODS FOR VITAMIN C: Guava, bell peppers (yellow, red, green), oranges and orange juice, grapefruit (and juice), strawberries, pineapple, kohlrabi, papaya, lemons and lemon juice, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, kidney beans, kiwi, cantaloupe, cauliflower, cabbage (all varieties), mangoes, white potatoes (with skin), mustard greens, tomatoes, sugar snap peas, snow peas, clementines, rutabagas, turnip greens, raspberries, blackberries, watermelon, tangerines, okra, lychees, summer squash (all varieties), persimmons

Soy Protein Soy foods contain natural chemicals called isoflavones, which are phytoestrogens — plant substances that mimic estrogen. Knowing that women lose bone density after menopause because of the loss of estrogen, some scientists believe that the plant estrogens in soy foods could help increase bone density. It’s still not clear whether that’s true. In laboratory rats, isoflavones helped preserve bone, but in people, the effects are more complicated. Scientists theorize that soy may help women only before menopause (when they lose estrogen receptors as well as estrogen), or it could be that only certain forms of soy protein may be beneficial after menopause. For example, a Japanese study of postmenopausal women found that bone mineral density was higher in women who ate fermented soybeans (natto) but not in women who ate tofu or other soy products. Yet other studies have shown that long-term addition of soy protein in the diet seems to reduce bone turnover and may prevent bone loss after menopause. Although the optimal amounts of soy protein haven’t been determined, I recommend you try to incorporate high-quality, whole soy foods into your diet a few times each week.

Note: If you have a history of breast cancer, it’s always wise to speak with your physician about incorporating soy foods into your diet, although many health organizations and researchers have concluded that moderate amounts of whole soy foods like tofu, edamame, and tempeh are perfectly safe.

BEST FOODS FOR SOY PROTEIN:Tempeh, tofu, soybeans (edamame), natto (fermented soybeans), soy nuts, soy flour, soy milk, soy yogurt, soy cheese, soy crisps

Protein For many years, conventional wisdom was that protein increased the risk of osteoporosis because people who ate large amounts of protein had a large amount of calcium in their urine. Scientists thought that protein was somehow leeching calcium from the bones, which then found its way out of the body through urine. Excessive amounts of protein may indeed pose a problem. However, more recent research suggests that eating too little protein is just as harmful to bone health, if not more so, than overdoing it.

Protein is an important component of bone and absolutely necessary for bone strength. Studies show that people who don’t get adequate protein may have reduced calcium absorption, reduced bone density, and higher rates of bone loss. People who eat relatively large amounts of protein have a reduced risk of fractures and higher bone mineral density. Older women, the primary group affected by osteoporosis, are especially at risk for low protein intakes and need to take extra care to make sure they’re incorporating quality proteins into meals and snacks.

Although more research needs to be done to unravel the complicated relationship between protein intake and bone health, a few studies suggest that vegetarian proteins (like beans, lentils, and whole soy foods) may be more beneficial to bone health than animal proteins. But, as mentioned earlier, too much protein from any source may still be harmful, so don’t go protein crazy: no high-protein/no-carb diets or excessive amounts of protein bars or shakes.

The bottom line is that you need to ensure that you’re getting an appropriate amount of protein through lean meats, skinless poultry, fish, eggs, beans, lentils, dairy, soy foods, and nuts. What defines appropriate depends on your weight. Here’s a simple rule of thumb: Take your weight and divide it in half — that’s approximately how many grams of protein you need to eat every day for good bone health. For example, if you weigh 140 pounds, you need about 70 g of protein each day. And remember that lean animal proteins, such as skinless poultry, seafood, and lean steak, are incredibly rich sources of protein, meaning just a small 3-ounce cooked portion (about the size of your palm) can provide between 20 and 25 grams. Depending on your size, that can be a third of your daily protein needs.

Also keep in mind that fattier cuts of beef will provide less protein ounce per ounce when compared with leaner cuts. That’s because the fat content takes up space and displaces protein. Reduced-fat and fat-free milk, cheese, and yogurts can sometimes even provide more calcium ounce per ounce than their full-fat counterparts, for the same reason. When fat is removed, the lost volume is replaced with more calcium-rich, reduced-fat dairy. Double bonus — less saturated fat, more calcium!

BEST FOODS FOR PROTEIN:Skinless turkey, skinless chicken, seafood and fish, pork tenderloin, lean beef, egg whites, yogurt (fat-free, low-fat), milk (fat-free, 1% reduced-fat), soy milk, cheese (fat-free, reduced-fat), starchy beans (such as black, navy, pinto, garbanzo, kidney), lentils, split peas, tofu, tempeh, soybeans, all nuts and nut butters, seeds and seed butters
(Of course, many more foods than those listed above provide protein — even breads, cereals, and grain products contain small amounts of protein. I encourage you to read labels, and tally your protein grams for a day or two to make sure you’re on track.)

Foods to Limit

Vitamin A
Too much vitamin A can harm bones, increasing the risk of fractures. Although more research needs to be done, it looks as though too much vitamin A may stop vitamin D from doing its job of making calcium available to bones. In food, vitamin A comes from two sources: beta-carotene and retinol — and recent studies suggest that only retinol causes problems. To avoid overdosing on retinol, the troublesome form of vitamin A, do not regularly eat liver or foods that are fortified with vitamin A. Furthermore, don’t take any supplement that contains more than 2,000 IU retinol, including your multivitamin. Your multivitamin should provide no more than 100 percent DV for vitamin A (5,000 IU) and at least 50 percent should come from beta-carotene or mixed carotenoids. Look for this information on your bottle’s nutrient listing, right next to vitamin A.

Salt causes the body to lose a little bit of calcium through what scientists call renal excretion (and what everyone else calls peeing!). The actual amount is very small, but if you are already fighting a calcium deficiency, or if you have bone-density problems, every little bit counts. In addition, salt seems to increase bone resorption. Limit your salt intake, and on those days when salt can’t be avoided, just try to eat an extra serving of reduced-fat dairy to make up for it.


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Coffee and Calcium Wed, 10 Feb 2016 03:09:48 +0000 Is it true that coffee can actually deplete the amount of calcium in your bones?

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Is it true that coffee can make your body lose calcium?

Q: I’ve heard that coffee makes your body lose calcium. Is that true?

A: While, yes, it is true that the caffeine in coffee can slightly decrease calcium absorption, research has shown that the effect is minimal. In fact, the amount of calcium lost is so small that it can be completely offset, if you choose, by simply adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of milk to each cup of Joe (for overall health, choose skim or 1% low-fat milk or soy milk). Even if you drink your coffee black, experts have concluded that moderate amounts of caffeine from coffee or tea do not negatively impact bone health or increase risk of osteoporosis, as long as you consume adequate calcium in your diet (that’s 1,000 mg a day for adults under 50 and 1200 mg a day for adults over 50). So, provided that you eat a calcium-rich diet — and take in at least 800 IU of vitamin D, which is just as critical to bone health as calcium — you can continue to enjoy moderate amounts of coffee (up to 3 cups per day) without concern.


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Calcium Supplements Wed, 10 Feb 2016 03:06:10 +0000 If you're already taking a multivitamin, you may be able to get enough calcium from your diet.

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If I’m taking a multivitamin, do I need a calcium supplement too?

Q: I know I need to get more calcium in my diet because my diet is pretty bad. I don’t exercise much, and I’ve always been on the thin side, so I guess I could be at risk for osteoporosis. If I’m taking a multivitamin with calcium in it, do I really need to take a separate calcium supplement too?

Calcium is bulky, so there is no way to fit a day’s supply in a multivitamin. Most multivitamins have, at most, 100 to 200 mg of calcium — much less than the 1,000 to 1,200 mg you need. So, yes, you really should be taking a separate calcium supplement. But if you radically change your diet, you may be able to get enough calcium from diet alone. Start counting your servings of high-calcium foods. If you consistently eat at least three servings of a high-calcium food every day, you’re probably safe. But if your diet is erratic, as you suggest, then take 500 to 600 mg of calcium with D3 once a day either in the morning or afternoon. By the evening, think back to how you ate during the day: If you ate two or more servings of a high calcium food, then you can skip the evening dose. If not, take an additional 500 to 600 mg with a snack before bed. (However, if you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis or osteopenia, always follow your doctor’s instructions, which may be to take the second dose of calcium regardless of how much calcium you’ve consumed from food .) Your body can only absorb about 500 mg calcium at one time, so if you require a large amount, it’s important to split your calcium into two daily doses rather than taking 1,000 to 1,200 mg in a single tablet. If you find that taking calcium supplements causes constipation, try taking a supplement that includes magnesium (as well as Vitamin D). The magnesium acts as a gentle laxative and helps keep you regular.


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How to Sneak Calcium Into Your Kid’s Diet Wed, 10 Feb 2016 03:02:47 +0000 If your children won't drink milk, you can still make sure they're getting enough calcium.

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How can I make sure that my children are getting the calcium they need?

Q: My kids won’t drink milk, and I can’t stand drinking it myself — should I worry about the amount of calcium we’re getting?

Milk is an easy way to get calcium, but it is certainly not the only way. All dairy foods contain calcium, and many kids enjoy eating yogurt and string cheese. Broccoli and kale are also good sources (if your child will eat them), as are almonds.

Whenever possible, substitute foods your kids already eat with calcium-fortified versions. For example, there are calcium-fortified waffles and orange juice. For children ages 1 to 3, aim for 500 mg calcium per day, which equates to about 2 servings of calcium-rich foods per day. Kids 4 to 8 years old require 800 mg, or 3 daily servings of calcium-rich foods. Older children and teens (ages 9 to 18) need 1300 mg per day, which equates to about 4 servings of calcium-rich foods per day.

If your children are consistently falling short on calcium, you can always try one of the candy-flavored calcium chews. My experience has shown that most kids don’t like the chocolate flavors that adults are drawn to — they may eat them for a couple days, but then the appeal wears off. Instead, choose one of the other flavors, such as caramel or fruity flavors. (Always be careful to store the supplements where your children can’t get them: If they think of them as candy, you can bet they’ll be looking for opportunities to grab extras, and too much calcium can be dangerous.)

Another way to slip some calcium and vitamin D into your kids’ diets is to buy a pill crusher at your local pharmacy and mix one crushed calcium pill into a yogurt, low-fat pudding, or other soft foods.


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Calcium and Soda Wed, 10 Feb 2016 02:58:53 +0000 Can calcium be leached from bones by the phosphorus in soft drinks?

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Can calcium be leached from bones by the phosphorus in soft drinks?

Q: I’ve heard that calcium can be leached from bones by the phosphorus in soft drinks. Is that true?

Soda is definitely bad for your bones, but scientists haven’t yet figured out if the phosphoric acid found in cola is partly to blame. Some researchers believe phosphoric acid leaches calcium from our bones or interferes with calcium metabolism in other ways, but our understanding is still limited. Others hypothesize that the overall ratio of calcium to phosphorous intake has a bigger impact on bone health than phosphorous intake on its own.

Another plausible explanation for the link between high soda intake and low bone mass is that soft drinks often elbow out calcium-rich milk as individuals’ drink of choice. Back in the “good old days,” kids drank milk with lunch and dinner (and they often started the day with a bowl of cereal and milk rather than a sugary-sweet toaster pastry!). Some studies have shown that kids who drink soft drinks instead of milk have less bone density than kids who get plenty of calcium in their diets. The same is true for adults. So while soft drinks appear to be in part to blame for low bone density, we’ll have to wait and see why this is the case. Causality aside, I highly encourage you to cut soda out of your own diet and your kids’ and replace it with healthy beverages like water, skim or 1% milk, naturally flavored seltzer, and unsweetened iced tea.

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Dairy Sources for the Lactose Intolerant Wed, 10 Feb 2016 02:54:47 +0000 If your are lactose intolerant, calcium supplements will help you reach your daily requirement.

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For those who are lactose intolerant, getting the recommended serving of dairy is a challenge. While supplements can help do the job, food can be another source.

Q: I’m lactose intolerant and getting in 4 daily servings of dairy is a challenge — I like milk and cheese, but it doesn’t like me! Being accustomed to fat-free milk, I don’t like the sweet taste and texture of the Lactaid and soy milks. Will daily calcium supplements suffice (1000 mg) instead of 4 servings of dairy?

A: Yes. Calcium supplements will allow you to meet your calcium needs if you’re not getting enough calcium from food. For the best absorption, be sure to split the full 1000mg dosage into separate servings during the day (for example, one 500mg dose after lunch and one with dinner) — versus taking all 1000mg at the same time. Also, stick with brands that have added Vitamin D. Vitamin D allows calcium to do its job and is found in very few foods, so most people don’t get nearly enough.

And don’t give up on food sources. Here’s a list of calcium-rich foods that are low in lactose — or completely lactose free — that you can build into your diet.

Milk/yogurt alternatives:

  • Fortified soy, rice, or almond milk (all are lactose-free and you may prefer the taste of rice or almond milk over Lactaid or soy milks).
  • Fortified soy yogurt

Cheese you may tolerate:

  • Cheeses like cheddar, Swiss, mozzarella, provolone (They have 0-1 grams lactose per serving, and they’re very rich in calcium so eating just a 1-ounce portion can help boost your calcium intake without causing bloating or discomfort.)

Starchy beans:

  • Beans (especially white beans and soybeans)


  • Collard Greens
  • Kale
  • Broccoli


  • Almonds

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