Fad diet ‘nonsense’ may cause osteoporosis in young people

Irish Osteoporosis Society warns against ‘clean eating’ and exclusion of dairy produce

It is estimated that 300,000 people in Ireland have osteoporosis, which causes the inside of bones to become easily breakable. One in four men and one in two women over 50 will break a bone due to the condition.

It is estimated that 300,000 people in Ireland have osteoporosis, which causes the inside of bones to become easily breakable. One in four men and one in two women over 50 will break a bone due to the condition.

 

Young people in Ireland could be at serious risk of osteoporosis due to fad diets, if their eating habits are similar to their British counterparts, the Irish Osteoporosis Society has said.

The society was reacting to the results of a survey, released on Wednesday, carried out by the British National Osteoporosis Society.

It found 70 per cent of 18-35 year olds were currently on diets or had been in the past, and 20 per cent had significantly reduced their dairy intake.

The most common diet for under 25 year olds was “clean eating” which could cut out whole food groups, the survey found.

- In depth - a guide to osteoporosis

It also found young people were much more likely than older people to get diet or nutrition advice from bloggers and vloggers on social media.

It is estimated that 300,000 people in Ireland have osteoporosis, which causes the inside of bones to become fragile and easily breakable. One in four men and one in two women over 50 will break a bone due to the condition, according to the Irish society, and all age groups, including children, are affected.

Only 15 per cent of people with osteoporosis are diagnosed, though the condition is treatable and preventable.

Bone nutrition

Prof Moira O’Brien, president of the Irish society, said she has serious concerns about anyone on fad diets, in particular eight to 20 year olds. These are the years when 60 per cent of bone is laid down, she said.

“At this time in particular you need adequate calories, protein, carbohydrates, minerals, calcium and vitamin D,” Prof O’Brien said.

She said during the winter we don’t get adequate vitamin D.

“Cutting out dairy is the worst thing you can do; it is one of the few foods that contains everything.”

She said milks and yogurts are supplemented with vitamin D and one of the commonest causes of osteoporosis is low vitamin D.

Young people are being told that milk makes them fat, but that is ridiculous, Prof O’Brien said.

“You need fat in your food and exercise so that you can develop properly,” she said. “It is essential young people don’t listen to this nonsense about fad diets given out by these people in the fashion industry.”

Based on international standards, the osteoporosis society recommends that under-threes should take 500mg a day, those aged four to eight should take 800mg, and nine to 18 year olds should have 1,300mg. Adults should have 800mg.

The society has said the easiest way to get enough calcium is through milk, cheese and yogurt. Other sources of calcium include nuts, seeds, boney fish and fortified white-flour products.