T Nation

Protein Intake & Bone Health


It seems that a diet high in animal protein does not have a negative impact on bone health as most authorities would lead us to believe but on the contrary it is beneficial!

1-up for the meat eaters!


I guess no one has ever heard or is even bothered about acid / alkaline foods and their potential impact on overall health (in this case bone health). In particular the under consumption of alkalising fruits & veg and the over consumption of acid promoting foods e.g. meat!

Anyway it was thought for many years now that calcium was lossed from bone in response to a diet high in acid forming proteins (calcium helps neutrlise acid) but now it appears to be all bollox!

On the flip side you can never eat too much acid neutralizing foods (fruits & vegetables) along with sufficient calcium and Vit D intake. Combine this with a diet high in protein and the impact on bone health would appear to be positive.



I've been aware of that "scare" for friggin' years! Some study I read about cited particular sections of the African population whose diet was predominantly meat. It was shown that their bone density had prematurely diminished, and that bone loss led to the loss of their teeth at an early age. No other variables were mentioned.

But I was thinking, "What about the Eskimos?" Their native diet was nothing but protein and fats, and I never heard of a brittle and feeble Eskimo. lol


I want to add to this.

Let's assume for a moment that a high protein diet DOES lead to bone loss. Would that really be a problem for someone who engages in heavy weight training 4-5 times per week?

After all, women who suffer from osteoporosis were once recommended to up their calcium intake. Studies later showed that the additional/supplemental calcium alone wasn't helping. Then the prescription included getting more exercise (the choice of many was walking and aerobics). Again, no improvement. Finally it was concluded that WEIGHT BEARING exercise was the only thing that prevented their bone loss, especially heavy loads on the spine. Duh!


Yet another occasion for "Squats and milk!".


It is not a question of "acid/alkaline-forming" foods. A person can have a high-protein diet that is "acid-forming" and still need have no fear of bone mineral loss.

Rather it is a matter that studies claiming correlation of protein intake to bone mass failed to control for calcium and phosphorus intake.


I really don't understand why this shite makes it into the mainstream media' unless there is some ulterior motive behind it' like the demonisation of meat consumption and the promotion of 'other' foodstuffs? (we wont go into that one!)

I always thought the same!

The same holds true for prehistoric man whose diet at certain times was predominantly meat and these guys (and gals) were apparently built like brick shit-houses!


Isn't it amazing how studies can be misinterpreted or manipulated to such an extent that the end result is a belief system that persists for decades. In turn, whole diets or ways of eating are designed around these false premises.

Red meat is bad for you!
Eggs are bad for you!
Eating fruit makes you fat because of all the sugar!
Weight training is bad for your joints - however training for a marathon with little or no experience is good thing to do???


Lyle McDonald recently posted a research review on this subject.

The basic conclusion is that the idea that high protein intake can have detrimental effects in a certain context, that context is probably not applicable to the weight training population.