Bone Density on a Diet

It's a cruel contradiction: lose weight, lose bone mass. Lose a lot of weight and lose even more bone mass.

A collaborative study, involving researchers from the University of Kansas and the University of Missouri, highlights the downside of weight loss by calorie restriction, both during and in the months following weight loss.

"Researchers examined protein markers of bone breakdown and formation in 37 obese, middle-aged adults who lost 20 percent of their body weight through a severe calorie-restricted diet. Protein markers, which are released during bone breakdown and formation, are used as indirect indicators of bone remodeling. During the 3-month weight-loss phase, bone remodeling was elevated, and bone formation and breakdown were imbalanced as a result of a low energy intake. After weight loss phase, bone remodeling remained elevated during the 9-month weight maintenance phase, but bone formation and breakdown appeared to be balanced."

Though the bone breakdown and formation rate had hit a homeostasis, the researchers caution that, "Rapid rates of bone remodeling, regardless of the balance of breakdown and formation, can increase bone fragility." 

They add that those seeking to lose weight should consider adding weight-bearing exercise and make sure they’re getting adequate calcium.

Weight-bearing exercise is absolutely essential for maintaining bone density, not just muscle mass. 

Bone density is not only influenced by how much weight the body carries around, but also how much "work" the body senses is happening in the bone and muscle connections.

So the next time you need to lose a few pounds, make sure to include a regular exercise routine along with eating healthy. 

You'll not only have the best of health, but strong bones too.