Osteoporosis – foods to be wary of!

We all know that eating a balanced diet is good for our overall health and our bone health, however there is a lot of confusing information about which foods and drinks take goodness out of our bones!

Are there any foods to avoid with osteoporosis?

The simple answer is no!  There are no foods that are known to be bad for osteoporosis, but there are some that are best enjoyed in moderation!

Here are five foods and drinks that is advisable to consume with restraint:-

  1. Salty foods

Eating foods that have a lot of salt in them causes your body to lose calcium through the kidneys. To know if a food is high in salt (sodium) look at the nutrition facts label, if it lists sodium as 20% or more for the % daily value, then it is high in salt.

The Department of health recommends adults have no more than six grams of salt a day.  That is the equivalent to approximately a teaspoon.

High levels of salt are hidden in lots of everyday foods including:

  • Cured meats like ham and bacon
  • Stock cubes
  • Processed foods
  • Bread
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Ready meals
  1. Fizzy drinks

Some studies have shown that colas, but not other soft drinks, are associated with bone loss, however more research is needed to understand the links between soft drinks and bone health.

This could be the direct effect of phosphoric acid, which is used in cola as a flavour enhancer, it is also possible that people who drink a lot of cola generally enjoy a less-healthy diet.

If you enjoy drinking carbonated (fizzy) water, don’t worry, you can continue to drink it without cause for concern.  Carbon dioxide, which gives drinks their fizzy properties, turns into a mild acid in your body, called carbonic acid – there is no evidence that this harms your bones!

  1. Oxalates and phytates

Oxalates and phytates are a compound found in some common foods. They do not harm your bones directly, but can reduce the amount of calcium available to your bones.

They are usually only found in very small amounts.  If your diet contains plenty of calcium, you do not need to worry or make any adjustments to your diet!

Foods containing oxalates include:

  • Most plant foods
  • Tea
  • Rhubarb *
  • Spinach *

Foods containing phytates include:

  • Plant foods
  • Nuts
  • Bran
  • Wholegrain cereals
  • Seeds
  • Grains
  • Dried beans

* These contain higher levels

  1. Red meat

It is important to get enough, but not too much protein as eating too much animal protein can also leech calcium from your bones. If you have osteoporosis, you should limit red meat to twice a week and keep the portions small – approximately 4 to 6 ounces!

  1. Alcohol

For optimal bone health, drink alcohol in moderation. Chronic and heavy alcohol consumption is known to contribute to low bone mass, decreased bone formation and an increased incidence of fractures.

The government guidelines recommend you drink no more than 14 units of alcohol a week. In the U.K., one unit is equal to eight grams of alcohol. The following drinks contain 1 unit of alcohol:

  • A single pup measure (25 ml) gin, whiskey or brandy
  • A quarter of a pint of strong beer or cider
  • Half a pint of beer or cider

A small glass (125) ml of wine is one and a half units

A final note…..

According to the research, the best diet if you have osteoporosis or to prevent it is to focus on plenty of fruits and vegetables, low fat dairy products, fish and poultry, throw in some low sodium options with a sprinkling of nuts!

If you would like some further information or to speak to a member of our team please call us on: Hitchin 01462 420077 or Luton 01582 579687, alternatively e-mail us at: or