Food To Build Bone Strength and Density

"If I Cut Down on Dairy, How Am I Going To Get My Calcium Requirement?"

We are often asked why is it a good idea to cut down on dairy. This is a segment from an interview series we did with Dr. Joel Fuhrman where he presents his view on the subject of dairy and calcium:


Jackie Wicks: A popular question we get in the PEERtrainer community over and over.: "If I don't eat dairy, how am I going to get my calcium requirement. My family has a history of osteoporosis." That's been something that we've heard a lot. Would you comment on that one as well?

Dr. Joel Fuhrman: Sure. I've been working this whole last year on a video called "Osteoporosis Protection for Life". It's going to be available in about a week now, because we've been waiting forever to have it finished. That's a video with a booklet inside that gives people the best exercise, and I demonstrate the exercise and do a whole exercise class. I'm showing the strength exercises and the high impact exercises that protect against hip fracturing in osteoporosis.

And yes, what I'm saying here is that there are nutritional contributions to osteoporosis and not just the lack of exercise. And certainly, we have an epidemic of Vitamin D deficiency in this country, and Vitamin D is the "sunshine vitamin". And if you're not getting adequate sun, and if you're concerned about getting to much sun and getting skin cancer, or wrinkling of the skin, we have to realize that women especially should get blood tests and take enough Vitamin D to strive to get their blood level between 35 and 50. They want to get at least above 35, or they're going to develop weak bones when they get older. And also, they're going to increase the risk of cancer.

What's been drummed in their head is this myth that dairy products are the best source of calcium, - the only source of calcium - and that calcium deficiency is the main cause of osteoporosis. And that's just nonsense. The studies on dairy products and osteoporosis basically show that the more dairy consumed, the higher the hip fracture rates, and the higher the wrist fracture rates.

And calcium is present in oranges, and vegetables, and beans, and nuts and seeds. Just because dairy superficially looks like it's high in calcium, and because Americans are eating a processed food and meat-based diet; and meat has no calcium because we don't eat the bones associated with it; and processed grains don't have any calcium - so in that context, it looks like dairy is the only source of calcium.

But once we start eating lots of vegetables, and lot of fruits, and beans and nuts, then we're already on a high-calcium, or an adequate calcium diet. And so, calcium is not the minimal factor here that's making us lose our bones. It's Vitamin D; it's the sun. And the other issue is excess animal protein, excess salt, excess caffeine, excess sugar causes us to lose bone mass and leech out calcium.

So when you eat as much animal products as Americans eat, it causes more wasting away of their bones, because it acidifies the blood, and the body has to pour out more calcium in the urine to balance the basic minerals. And they have to take more calcium out of the bones, and lose a lot of the calcium it takes out, to balance the high acidity from all the excess animal protein you're consuming.

So the answer to that question is we have to protect against osteoporosis. We have to exercise. We have to take Vitamin D supplements. We can take a little bit of calcium, but most people take too much. Dairy is not going to be the thing that protects you. That's a myth.

On the other hand, the scientific studies show that a diet high in vegetables is more powerfully protective from all the micro-nutrients that accompany the calcium in vegetables. We get phosphorus. We get Vitamin K. We get resveratrol. We get phenols. We get antioxidants. In other words, just calcium alone is not enough.

So this again is just brainwashing by the power of the National Meat and Live Stock Board and dairy industry to make these women think they need to drink milk and that's going to help their bones. In reality, we have an epidemic of osteoporosis with more than 10,000 people breaking bones each year. I'm sorry. Not 10,000, more than 10 million people breaking their bones and having hip fractures which is a very serious problem in America today."

(End of interview segment)

Interested related read:

  How To Diversify Your Sources Of Calcium

Green Vegetables High In Calcium:

1 Cup of Cooked Spinach has 244 mg of Calcium representing 25% of the daily recommended dose.