A vegan diet is one of the most famous food trends and those who follow it are generally considered healthy. However, a new study has made a shocking revealing by saying that vegans are at high risk of bone fractures, especially hip fractures. This risk of hip fractures among vegans is nearly 43% higher than non-vegans or meat-eaters.
The complete study findings are published in the journal BMC Medicine.
This study analyzed the data from 50,000 people in the UK. The results showed that not just vegans, but vegetarians and those who only eat fish and no other type of meat are also highly likely to get hip fractures. This risk was lowest among those who pay attention to their body mass index (BMI), calcium intake, and protein content.
Although the low calcium and protein intake were already reported among those who don’t eat there was no clear information about their chances of hip fractures. This is the first-ever study that discusses total fracture and site-specific, such as hip fracture among people belonging to different diet eaters.
The risk has calculated an overall increased risk of total fractures which may be seen in 20/1000 people during 10 years. The most significant thing which it reported was that this risk was 43% higher in vegans and vegetarians as compared to meat-eaters.
This study was a collaborative project of the University of Oxford and University of Bristol research teams. The data was obtained from 54,898 individuals through surveys. Among these people, nearly 3,941 confirmed fractures.
The previous study suggested that having a low BMI than normal increases the risk of hip fracture. Many studies reported a strong link between daily calcium intake and protein content in the diet with bone health and density. But in this study, overall food groups were studied which reported a low BMI, low calcium, and low protein intake as compared to meat-eaters, confirming the high chances of fractures in different parts of the body.
Normally, a plant-based diet is linked with better immunity, weight loss, and improved heart health. It is also thought to lower the risk of various diseases but it doesn’t mean that people should completely ignore their nutrient levels when they are on a ‘healthy’ diet. The nutritional deficiency can lead to various health risks and certain essential nutrients like calcium, vitamin D and protein should be maintained in every person, whether they are obese or not.
There are some limitations of this study, one of which is that all of the data was self-reported through survey and it was never cross-checked. Other is that all participants were Europeans and white which may be an important factor as many older studies showed that bone density and fracture risk is different in certain ethnicities.
Lastly, the study didn’t check any other cause of these fractures and didn’t properly estimate the calcium supplementation. For a better understanding of this link, future studies must target objectively measured factors.