Bone Loss and Low-Carbohydrate Diets
(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- A recent study revealed results undermining the belief that low-carbohydrate diets may increase the risk of bone loss and chances of osteoporosis.
Low carbohydrate diets -- high in protein, omega-6 fatty acids and saturated fat -- are shown to have negative effects on the bones in animal studies. However, John D. Carter, an assistant professor in the Division of Rheumatology at the USF College of Medicine in Florida, said those were not the results of his study in people.
The study shadowed 30 overweight patients for three months. Half of the patients were on a low-carbohydrate diet, and the other half ate freely.
One suspected side effect of the low carbohydrate diet was that its significant amount of proteins would alter the body's acidic balance, leading to bone turnover.
Researchers used blood tests, urine monitoring, and a watchful eye on the adherence of the patients to their diets, yet they found no major difference in bone turnover between the two groups. Dr. Carter said those on the low-carbohydrate diet did lose more weight, "but the diet did not appear to compromise bone integrity or lead to bone loss."
Although the low-carbohydrate dieters did not suffer apparent bone loss and did see weight loss, Dr. Carter said he does not recommend this form of dieting for the long-term monitoring of weight, because the kidneys may become overloaded with protein and cause people to consume more unhealthy saturated fat and cholesterol.
Researchers say the short length of the study may have been a source of limitation in their data.
SOURCE: Osteoporosis International, 2006;doi:10.1007/s00198-006-0134:1-6