So, on my very exciting Friday night --
Researching on the Interwebs about milk + health (believe me I'll have some questions over the next few days for y'all, don't want to overwhelm everyone at once;), I found some pretty strong criticisms of animal protein. For example, here < http://www.naturalnews.com/002695_Robert_Cohen_cows_milk.html > some supposed expert says,
"Mike Adams: What about the long-term prevention of chronic disease?
"Robert Cohen: There's a place on this planet where they have more people living over age 100 than anywhere else, where the average woman lives to age 86, where people don't even need x-ray machines because they don't get breast cancer or osteoporosis. That place is 160 islands between Japan and Taiwan called Okinawa. Now the book was written by Wilcox and Suzuki called "The Okinawa Plan," and you read that these people are eating 1/20th the amount of calcium that we do, yet they don't get bone breaks.
"And you'll read the analysis of calcium intakes all over the world -- South Africa they're eating under 100 milligrams a day, in America 980, and yet we have 14 times the rate of pelvic fractures. It's not the calcium you eat, it's not the cow's milk you eat -- it's the protein, the animal protein that causes the acid condition in the blood which your body must neutralize, and it does so by leaching calcium from your bones. And this is the real science -- this is not the goofy milk mustache ad marketing -- this is the real science that you find in peer-reviewed scientific journals, the truth that most Americans are not getting."
Given the fact that osteoperosis is one of the major killers -- it worries me that my animal protein rich diet will put me at risk for osteoporosis...
Is this true? What can we do to limit it? (I already take some K2 so hopefully that helps a bit...)
I'm not convinced of the whole acid/base food balance concept. From an evolutionary perspective, it makes no sense that our staple food, meat, would throw us into acid/base imbalance and destroy our bones. Here's a rebuttal of the acid-producing foods theory-- http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2006/09/your_friday_dose_of_woo_acid_base_or_woo_1.php . Also, there was a previous thread about acid/base balance theory-- http://paleohacks.com/questions/1368/is-the-acid-base-balance-theory-important .
The Okinawan centenarians were discussed on a previous thread-- http://paleohacks.com/questions/1514/okinawa-diet-healthiest-oldest-people-on-the-planet . They ate pork and fish, so they were not vegetarians. However, their diet was low in sugar and grains other than rice, so perhaps sugar and wheat in the western diet contribute to osteoporosis.
I wonder what the vitamin D levels of the Okanawans and the South Africans are? Maybe they get plenty of sun exposure. The prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in the US is high--an estimated 36% of healthy young adults ( http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16529140 ), which contributes to osteoporosis. I agree with you about taking K2, as D3 and K2 can be synergistic for bone health.
I suggest you look at Cordain's acid-base balance info on his site. Grains are highly acidic, so cutting them from your diet allows you to benefit from meat without dwelling on its acidic load. Plus, eat plenty of veggies to balance it. Hope that helps!
I believe that the primary factors determining bone quality are not calcium and protein, but the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E & K and proper hormonal function. As others have pointed out, traditional cultures like the Masai and Inuit thrive on diets very high in meat (and in the case of the Masai, dairy products). But their diets are very high in fat-soluble vitamins.
Vitamins A and D aid in calcium utilization. Vitamin K2 regulates calcium metabolism, i.e. it makes sure it gets to the bones and teeth and not into the soft tissues (which is why it prevents heart disease). Vitamin E also plays a role in promoting bone health, by protecting the calcium depositing mechanism from free radical disruption.
Check out this article on the Weston A. Price site about protein, fat-soluble vitamins and bone quality.
The topic of calcium was addressed recently on the WAP Nutrition and Physical Regeneration blog:
Not only is there no nutritional benefit from refined sugar, consumption of it causes a net loss in the body's essential minerals. To process sugar the body must use calcium. If there is none available in the diet, the body's cells will take it from your teeth and bones. Cavities do not appear in the teeth merely because sugar comes into contact with them. They occur because your body, in order to digest refined sugar, must borrow calcium from your teeth and bones whenever your calcium intake is lower than what is required to process the sugar. Deficiency is generally our condition. We consume so much refined sugar per person on average that it would be virtually impossible to ingest enough calcium to make up the difference. Rates of osteoporosis and dental problems in the U.S. and elsewhere tend to confirm this.
I don't have the primary sources to back up these claims, but I think it makes sense. I don't imagine you'll have a lot to worry about, as long as you're eating a nutritionally dense diet and staying away from excess sugars and grains, which paleo is by definition.
You should not draw conclusions on human nutrition based on the nutrition of other species. That is like saying "eating a diet of grass should be fine because I see cattle doing it without any problems".
I can't help feeling that meat can't cause acid/base problems - otherwise we'd find that lions, tigers, hyenas etc would be breaking bones every time they tried to catch anything. Or do they get loads of calcium from eating bones? In which case .. eat bones too!
There is so much confusion about a number of issues - studies showing high meat consumption is bad for your bones - yet are there cultures that eat a paleo diet that have strong bones? The Okinawans while they did eat meat also ate tons of vegetables, seaweed and rice (but more sweet potatoes than mainland Japan) Okinawans were clearly not paleo. So it sounds to me that paleo may be good but it is not necessary to be paleo to help your bones.
Then there is the issue of cheese. Dairy seems to be associated with weak bones, but what about raw dairy or dairy from grass-fed animals. Is that different? What about the Dutch. They have high rates of OP, but doesn't their gouda have loads of k2 in it?
And what about phatates. WAPF is so against it, but the latest study saw the more phytates in your diet the stronger your bones.
So to sum up there seems conflicting evidence on meat, dairy, cheese and phytates when it comes to your bones and I don't think anyone has all the answers yet.
So confused about what to eat.
I am editing this to include following study info http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19053869 Phytate (myo-inositol hexaphosphate) and risk factors for osteoporosis.
López-González AA, Grases F, Roca P, Mari B, Vicente-Herrero MT, Costa-Bauzá A.
Servicio de Prevención de Riesgos Laborales, Gestión Sanitaria de Mallorca, Palma de Mallorca, Spain.
Several risk factors seem to play a role in the development of osteoporosis. Phytate is a naturally occurring compound that is ingested in significant amounts by those with diets rich in whole grains. The aim of this study was to evaluate phytate consumption as a risk factor in osteoporosis. In a first group of 1,473 volunteer subjects, bone mineral density was determined by means of dual radiological absorptiometry in the calcaneus. In a second group of 433 subjects (used for validation of results obtained for the first group), bone mineral density was determined in the lumbar column and the neck of the femur. Subjects were individually interviewed about selected osteoporosis risk factors. Dietary information related to phytate consumption was acquired by questionnaires conducted on two different occasions, the second between 2 and 3 months after performing the first one. One-way analysis of variance or Student's t test was used to determine statistical differences between groups. Bone mineral density increased with increasing phytate consumption. Multivariate linear regression analysis indicated that body weight and low phytate consumption were the risk factors with greatest influence on bone mineral density. Phytate consumption had a protective effect against osteoporosis, suggesting that low phytate consumption should be considered an osteoporosis risk factor.
PMID: 19053869 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22614760 Protective effect of myo-inositol hexaphosphate (phytate) on bone mass loss in postmenopausal women.
López-González AA, Grases F, Monroy N, Marí B, Vicente-Herrero MT, Tur F, Perelló J.
Servicio de Prevención de Riesgos Laborales de GESMA (Gestión Sanitaria de Mallorca), Palma de Mallorca, Spain.
The objective of this paper was to evaluate the relationship between urinary concentrations of InsP6, bone mass loss and risk fracture in postmenopausal women.
MATERIALS AND METHODS:
A total of 157 postmenopausal women were included in the study: 70 had low (≤0.76 μM), 42 intermediate (0.76-1.42 μM) and 45 high (≥1.42 μM) urinary phytate concentrations. Densitometry values for neck were measured at enrollment and after 12 months (lumbar spine and femoral neck), and 10-year risk fracture was calculated using the tool FRAX(®).
Individuals with low InsP6 levels had significantly greater bone mass loss in the lumbar spine (3.08 ± 0.65 % vs. 0.43 ± 0.55 %) than did those with high phytate levels. Moreover, a significantly greater percentage of women with low than with high InsP6 levels showed more than 2 % of bone mass loss in the lumbar spine (55.6 vs. 20.7 %). The 10-year fracture probability was also significantly higher in the low-phytate group compared to the high-phytate group, both in hip (0.37 ± 0.06 % vs 0.18 ± 0.04 %) and major osteoporotic fracture (2.45 ± 0.24 % vs 1.83 ± 0.11 %).
It can be concluded that high urinary phytate concentrations are correlated with reduced bone mass loss in lumbar spine over 12 months and with reduced 10-year probability of hip and major osteoporotic fracture, indicating that increased phytate consumption can prevent development of osteoporosis.
PMID: 22614760 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
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As mentioned above, the Okinawans ate a lot of pork and fish with lard being the primary cooking oil: Beware of Okinawa Diet Scam
They also seem to have eaten few calories and like most Japanese a lower level of protein? Nora Gedgaudas in her Primal Body-Primal Mind book talks about lower protein leading to the body focusing on maintenance instead of growth and reproduction. Okinawans are not big people, perhaps this explains why?
I think traditional tribes usually ate everything, not just the meat but the bone marrow and organs etc, so i think that provides a good balance.
As for me, i also feel like when i eat grains or cooked food im very drained of minerals, i have to eat some fruit with lots of vit c to cope with the feeling of actually losing nutrition through eating. :(
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