Following a vegan diet leads to weaker BONES, scientists warn

Bad news for vegans! Following a meat and dairy-free diet leads to weaker BONES, scientists warn

  • Experts from Germany compared the bone health of vegans and non-vegans
  • They found that vegans, on average, tended to have poorer bone health
  • Vegans were deficient in key nutrients that typically come from animal products
  • Such nutrients included vitamins A and B6, as well as the amino acid Lysine

Following a meat and dairy-free vegan diet can weaken your bones and increase your risk of painful fractures, a study has warned.

Researchers led from the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) compared the bone health of 36 vegans and 36 non-vegans by means of ultrasound.

They found that the vegans tended to have poorer bone health — due to an apparent deficiency in key nutrients that are typically gained from animal-based products.

Following a meat and dairy-free vegan diet can weaken your bones and increase your risk of painful fractures, a study has warned. Pictured: a vegan meal of salad with chickpea hummus

‘People are turning to a vegan diet not only due to compassion for animals and awareness of environmental problems but also for health benefits,’ said BfR president Andreas Hensel.

‘Scientific evidence suggests that a vegan or vegetarian diet may protect against many chronic diseases, for example diabetes and cardiovascular disease, or cancer.’

‘However, a vegan diet was found to be associated with lower bone mineral density, which is associated with higher fracture risk, compared to omnivores.’

In the study. the researchers led by BfR food safety expert Juliane Menzel took ultrasound measurements of the heel bone of 72 participants, half of whom followed vegan diets and half of whom did not.

The team found that, on average, those who followed a vegan diet had lower ultrasound values — and therefore poorer bone health.

By taking samples of the participants’ blood and urine, the researchers were also able to identify 12 so-called ‘biomarkers’ that play a role in bone maintenance.

The findings revealed that, in combination, vitamins A and B6, lysine, leucine, omega-3 fatty acids, selenoprotein P, iodine, thyroid-stimulating hormone, calcium, magnesium and α-Klotho protein were positively associated with good bone health.

Lysine is an amino acid found in meat, fish, dairy, eggs — and some plants such as soy — that the body cannot produce on its own.

Vitamin A, meanwhile, is found in eggs and dark leafy vegetables, while vitamin B6 is found in meat and fish as well as chick peas and some fruits.

In contrast, those participants with more healthy bones had lower concentrations of a hormone known as FGF23, whose main role is the regulation of phosphate concentration in plasma.

The full findings of the study were published in the journal Nutrients.

How common is veganism in Britain?

Greggs launched a vegan steak bake this month

Last year Britain was recently declared the vegan capital of the world, taking Germany’s title after UK supermarkets launched the most plant-based products in 2018.

Analysis shows while more consumers are completely ditching meat, dairy and eggs from their diet, one in three of the total population have been cutting back on food consumption.

The trend for a diet free of any animal products, particularly led by young people on ethical grounds, saw high street baker Greggs launch a vegan version of its popular sausage roll last year and a vegan steak bake yesterday. 

McDonald’s is now offering a vegetarian Happy Meal, while KFC and Subway also launched vegan alternatives this week.

Edward Bergen, of retail analysts Mintel, said with about one in six new food products containing no animal ingredients – double the eight per cent in 2015 – it was now easier than ever to try a plant-based diet.

Recent analysis from market research company Mintel shows more consumers are completely ditching meat and opting for a vegan diet (file photo)

He added: ‘For a number of years Germany led the world for launches of vegan products. However, 2018 saw the UK take the helm.’

The UK has seen a huge promotion of vegan choices in restaurants and the expansion of supermarket own-label options, with dedicated vegan ranges in mainstream stores.

Additional space is also being freed up to promote vegan food and drink.

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