"Building Bone Vitality" is on sale now
For years, doctors and scientists have told the
public to drink milk, eat dairy products and take calcium
supplements to improve bone health and prevent osteoporosis. The
problem is they're wrong, according to a new book co-authored by a
UNC Asheville researcher.
Amy Lanou, UNC Asheville assistant professor of health and wellness,
and noted health writer Michael Castlemanís new book, "Building Bone
Vitality: A Revolutionary Plan to Prevent Bone Loss and Reverse
Osteoporosis," dispels the calcium myth using the latest clinical
studies and medical information. Published by McGraw Hill, the book
hits shelves this month.
"Building Bone Vitality" provides readers with practical advice to
strengthen bones, reduce the risk of fractures and prevent
osteoporosis. Readers will also learn why there's no proof of
dairy's usefulness in bone health, despite what doctors say, and why
eating low-acid foods and taking daily walks are the most effective
ways to prevent bone loss.
The authors' suggested eating plan includes six to nine daily
servings of fruits and vegetables and no more than one or two
servings of high-protein foods such as meat, dairy and eggs daily.
Why? Because protein is composed of amino acids. As the body digests
high-protein foods, the blood becomes more acidic, leaching calcium
from the bones.
For example, have you ever taken Tums for acid indigestion? Its
active ingredient, calcium carbonate, neutralizes stomach acid
because it's highly alkaline. To neutralize excess acid in the
bloodstream, the body draws the same compound from bone. A
high-protein diet of meat, dairy and eggs draws calcium from bone
and eventually causes osteoporosis, the authors say.
Of course, fruits and vegetables also contain some protein, but much
less than meat, dairy and eggs. Fruits and vegetables also contain a
great deal of alkaline material. When you eat these foods, only a
small amount of acid enters the bloodstream along with a great deal
of alkaline material, which neutralizes the acid. Therefore, the
body does not have to draw calcium compounds out of bone.
"Fruits and vegetables keep calcium in bone
where it belongs," said Lanou.
Dr. Amy Joy Lanou
To further back up their theory, Lanou and Castleman pored over
completed human clinical trials and found that they also refute the
calcium claim. Since 1975, 140 clinical trials have explored
calcium's effects on osteoporotic fracture risk. Two-thirds of these
studies show no benefit from high calcium intake. Overall, the
clinical trials dealing with fracture prevention run two-to-one
against calcium, the authors noted.
Finally, the authors reviewed research on the impact of exercise on
bone health. They found that the consensus of research shows that
just 30 to 60 minutes of daily walking is enough exercise to build
"The good news is that you don't have to join a gym or sweat
buckets," said Castleman. "But you do have to walk every day."
Lanou, who holds a doctorate in human nutrition from Cornell
University, joined the UNC Asheville faculty in 2005. She has played
an instrumental role in creating programs and coursework for UNC
Asheville's North Carolina Center for Health & Wellness, which
focuses on childhood obesity, workplace wellness and healthy aging.
Previously, she taught nutrition at Cornell University and Ithaca
College. She is the author of "Healthy Eating for Life for Children"
and has written or delivered more than 50 scientific articles,
reports and presentations on bone health, dairy products or the
health benefits of plant foods. Lanou also serves as senior
nutrition scientist for the Physicians Committee for Responsible
Medicine, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization dedicated
to preventative medicine through good nutrition.