5 Common Misconceptions about Dietary Treatment for Osteoporosis

January 14, 2016
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It’s long been the standard to recommend dietary changes when a patient is diagnosed with osteoporosis. Science has shown that, without a doubt, the foods and nutrients we take in make all the difference in our bone health.

Items such as calcium and vitamin D can help to boost your bone density, while foods like sugar and salt will tear it down. However, not everything being said these days about osteoporosis is 100 percent true.

It’s long been the standard to recommend dietary changes when a patient is diagnosed with osteoporosis. Science has shown that, without a doubt, the foods and nutrients we take in make all the difference in our bone health.

Items such as calcium and vitamin D can help to boost your bone density, while foods like sugar and salt will tear it down. However, not everything being said these days about osteoporosis is 100 percent true.

In fact, some statements are plain and simple myths that could derail your treatment. If you’ve been diagnosed with osteoporosis, it’s important to identify some of the biggest myths that involve osteoporosis treatment.

Myth #1: Eating the right foods eliminates the risk of developing osteoporosis

Unfortunately, eating right isn’t always enough. Of all your lifestyle choices, it should have the greatest impact on osteoporosis, but many other factors contribute to the development of the disease, including age, gender, ethnicity, family history, bone structure, weight, certain medications, bad habits, and even other diseases.

Following a healthy osteoporosis diet is an excellent place to begin, but for some of us it may not be enough to prevent the onset. 

Myth #2: Only whole cow’s milk can provide the nutrients necessary to fight osteoporosis

It’s no secret that drinking milk and eating other dairy products that are rich in calcium will help to prevent osteoporosis. But cow dairy products are not the only viable options.

Calcium and protein, the primary nutrients in milk, can be found in other foods as well, including fruits, vegetables, beans and legumes, and nuts. This means almond milk, coconut milk, fruit juices, and other naturally calcium-rich foods can provide the nutrients necessary for strong bones.

Myth #3. High-dose calcium supplements can help to prevent osteoporosis

Taking calcium supplements is a great way to boost absorption and add much-needed nutrients to your bones. However, there’s a limit to the amount of calcium you can absorb.

Some calcium supplements claim that the amount of calcium in their capsules is better than a smaller dosage, but that’s not necessarily true. Once your body has reached its daily intake of calcium, it won’t absorb any more.

There are vitamins that use a higher quality of ingredients, though. These vitamins will result in better and faster absorption, which is always positive. Thus, you need to remember that the dosage doesn’t matter nearly as much as the quality.

Myth #4. Vitamin D supplements are unnecessary

For most people, getting 15 minutes of sunshine just a few times a week is enough to promote reactions within the body to create the vitamin D you need. Not everyone will be able to get all the vitamin D they need through that method, however.

Some individuals have to take a supplement. Remember that vitamin D and calcium are both necessary tools for boosting bone health, and a high-quality supplement might be right for you.

Myth #5. Eating the right foods after developing osteoporosis will cure the disease

Unfortunately, there is no cure for osteoporosis, even if you eat only the right foods, exercise regularly, and follow your doctor’s orders to the letter. Pursuing these strategies can help you to slow or stop the progress for a time, but the fix is usually only temporary.

The only way to truly escape osteoporosis is to focus on prevention, primarily through a diet rich in calcium and vitamins.