How Can You Maintain Strong Bones?

June 18, 2022

It is estimated that 15 to 20 million Americans struggle with osteoporosis and 80% of those are women. 1 in 2 women by the age of 50 will break a bone because of osteoporosis. With that staggering statistic, what can we do right now to maintain strong and healthy bones? What food should we eat, whether we are 70 years old or 50 or 30 or 20 or even a teen, to start changing those numbers for the better? We need strong but flexible bones - not hard and brittle bones. In today’s show, we’ll discuss what substances rob our bones of nutrients and what foods to incorporate to create those strong, flexible bones.

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KARA: Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition. Today's show is brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. Thank you so much for joining us this morning. Maybe you're driving. Maybe you're on your way to the cabin. Maybe you're going to the farmer's market to buy plants. Perhaps you and your friends are checking out a new bike trail. At least where we live in Minnesota, the weather is gorgeous for things like that.

So whatever you're doing, I hope you keep listening because we have a really important topic to share with you. Today's topic is how to maintain strong bones as you age. It's estimated that 15 to 20 million Americans struggle with osteoporosis. 80% of that number are women. And one in two women by the time they reach 50 will break a bone because of osteoporosis. I think that is an astounding statistic. So now that I've introduced the topic, I'm going to introduce myself.

My name is Kara Carper. I'm a licensed nutritionist and certified nutrition specialist. I have a master's degree in holistic health, and I've been working with Nutritional Weight and Wellness for about 15 years; hard to believe. And I'm very excited to be with Kristi Kalinsky today. Kristi’s a registered and licensed dietitian. She's been practicing nutrition for the past seven years. And Kristi will introduce herself in, in just a second here. But first I want you to think about this. Like I just said, if one out of two women will break a bone by the age of 50, what, what is happening? What is going wrong?

Or in other words, what can we do correctly to maintain strong and healthy bones? What foods should we be eating? Whether we're 20, 30, 50, 70. Even teenagers should be thinking about what to eat and what not to eat for the future of their bone health. So that's what today's show is going to be about. What can we do to make strong bones? But we not only need strong bones. We need our bones to be flexible, not hard and brittle.

And unfortunately, many of the osteoporosis medications in the community, the medical community, leave women with these hard, brittle bones that can shatter really easily, especially if a fall occurs. An example of a medication that can create brittle bones is something like Fosamax. So now finally, Kristi, can you please introduce yourself to our listeners?

KRISTI: Well, good morning. Kara. It's great to be here. I'm excited to be hosting a show with you. And good morning listeners out there as well. In terms of bone health, I think it's really important that we understand the health risks that we're having causing these weak and fragile bones. Before I started working at Nutritional Weight and Wellness I actually was a dietitian at a transitional care unit for a long term care facility or what other people may know it as is a nursing home. So I had a lot of women patients when I worked at this TCU that had broken bones.

Often, it would be the hip, or it would be the pelvis. And one of the protocols that we would have is bedrest. So they could heal and get better. A lot of times though, when we would see them, they unfortunately wouldn't get to go back home because they ended up acquiring other illnesses. A lot of times it would be pneumonia while on bedrest. So an interesting statistic that really grabbed my attention when I was researching this topic: researchers found more women each year die from a fracture than they do from breast cancer.

KARA: Wow. Can you say that again?

KRISTI: That more women die each year from a fracture than from breast cancer. That, that's astounding.

KARA: That really is.

KRISTI: Yeah. You know, when I, I saw it, you know, when I worked at this transitional care unit you know, the elderly, you know, the, or the women would come in with the broken bone or pelvis fracture, be put on bedrest, end up developing pneumonia. And every once in a while they'd end up passing away. So it was just so sad.

KARA: Yeah.

KRISTI: And it all started with a broken bone.

KARA: Right. I've heard of heartbreaking stories like that, unfortunately more than once.


KARA: So that's why this is such an important topic.


KARA: You know, we want to prevent those heartbreaking situations.

KRISTI: Absolutely.

KARA: According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, 44 million, so I'm going to say that again, 44 million Americans have low bone density.


KARA: And so if you've had a bone density test, just think to yourself, what were those results? Did your bone density test result show some something concerning that you had low bone density? And if so, you might be thinking, why, why did my bones start getting fragile and weak? What can I do? What's my course of action to rebuild my bones? And is it possible to rebuild bones? Well, Kristi and I are here to share with you that this can be done to strengthen and rebuild bones, even if they have gotten fragile and weak. Often it, you know, it, it always needs a real food eating plan, and it often needs some additional supplements as well.

Soda is detrimental to bone health


KRISTI: Right, exactly. You know, the first thing that I'm going to talk about is something we should not be doing with our diet. So if you are a drinker, stop today. So I probably should clarify what I say when I mean drinker. I'm going to talk about the world of soda drinkers for right now, but we also are going to be talking about alcohol.

KARA: That's right.

KRISTI: A little later in the show too. So you've got two different things that you're drinking that are not helping your bones at all. Many people you know, giving up that soda or that diet soda, it's actually more difficult than giving up alcohol for some people. I thought this was really interesting: The average American drinks 38 gallons of soda a year.

KARA: Wow.

KRISTI: Isn't that insane?

KARA: Well, and also, I mean, I used to drink soda more like college type days. I would have some. But I don't now. And so if you think the average is 38 gallons, there's, some people drinking more.

KRISTI: More than that. Yeah, absolutely. So, you know, soda, especially diet soda, it, it's very addicting with those different chemicals, the carbonation, you know, and many women won't stop drinking soda, even if they're told to give it up. It's just, it's hard. It's a habit. You know, and for many it's an addiction. Something I ran across a couple of weeks ago, there was an article circulating around the Nutritional Weight and Wellness offices among the dietitians and the nutritionists. It was from the New York Times.

There was a lady and I can't remember her age. I think she was in her thirties or forties. She was drinking three to four cans of Diet Coke a day. It got so bad that when she'd travel to go visit family or friends, she would take Diet Coke with her in her suitcase. And then she would stash it in her room. So she knew she could get this daily fix. It got so bad, she would look at airlines and she would see who the soda carriers were on those airlines. She would not pick certain airlines if they did not serve Diet Coke. So I'm guessing she had an addiction.

KARA: That sounds, yeah, it definitely sounds like she was addicted to some component of the diet soda.

KRISTI: Yep, exactly. So, you know, it's just so important for us to know that soda is just so bad for bones. Researchers from Tufts University found that women who regularly drank three or more sodas a day, so like this lady, right from this story.

KARA: Yep.

KRISTI: They had a 40% lower bone density than non-soda drinkers.

KARA: 40%. Wow.


KARA: So I want to share another study. It's called “High Consumption of Soft Drinks Associated with a Double Risk of Fracture”. Essentially, that's what you had just said.

KRISTI: Yes, exactly.

KARA: With 40, having 40% lower bone density when people drink three or more sodas per day. So that study went on to say that soft drinks can increase fracture risk. And this was a National Institute of Health study. So just more information. It's saying it in a different way.

KRISTI: Yep, exactly. Just reiterating that same point. You know as a dietitian or nutritionist, we often say, okay, it's one thing to know. Right? We're giving you this information. You know it, but it's another thing to actually put it in place and do it. So basically, you know, you have the knowledge, but how do you put it into practice? Sometimes it's hard to bridge that gap. You know, that's where we come in as dietitians and nutritionists to help you overcome some of those maybe bad habits that you've acquired over the years.

You know, most women know soda's a harmful substance to put in your body. It's another thing though, to actually put the soda can down and choose water instead. That action step of stopping drinking soda for the health of your bones, it can be hard, really, really hard. When you stop drinking soda or diet soda it actually aids in weight loss too. So we have a client. She was drinking six Diet Cokes a day. I think a lot of people think diet soda doesn't have calories in it, so it's safe to consume. Interesting enough though, this client, when she stopped drinking those six cans of Diet Coke a day, she lost 30 pounds, 30 pounds in one month.

KARA: That's phenomenal.

KRISTI: Isn't that unbelievable? So think about it. She lost 30 pounds, plus she's protecting her bones by no longer drinking that soda too and saving money on top of it, right, by choosing maybe water instead.

KARA: Well, and I'm so glad that you brought that up about the misconception. It's a huge misconception I think that people have about diet soda not having calories and being a good go to replacement in place of like a sugary soda.


KARA: So I think when we come back, I'm going to share a study that was done here at the University of Minnesota fairly recently, and just kind of made that connection between diet soda and weight gain.

KRISTI: Oh great.

KARA: So, but first we do have to take a break and you're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. If you're experiencing osteopenia or osteoporosis, then you'll definitely want to stay tuned. We kind of like to break down what we call bone robbers and bone builders. So when we come back, we're going to share more important information on how to maintain healthy bones.


KRISTI: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. Some interesting facts about osteopenia and osteoporosis: fact number one: more women die each year from osteoporosis related injuries than they do from breast cancer. Fact number two: healthcare costs related to fractures exceed 4 million each day. That's 4 million a day. Fact number three: osteoporosis is a complex disease that develops slowly over a period of years. And fact number four: osteoporosis is not a simple calcium deficiency.

So as we're talking about here on the show today, there's a lot of different reasons why we develop osteopenia or osteoporosis. You know, we've been diving into the soda and diet soda avenue and how that assists with poor bone health. I know Kara, before we left for break was going to share a study from the University of Minnesota about soda consumption and, and what that does to our bodies.

KARA: Yeah. Well, Kristi it got me thinking because before we went to break, you know, you were talking about I think it was a client who stopped drinking diet soda and lost was it 30 pounds?

KRISTI: 30 pounds. Yes.

Diet soda and metabolic syndrome connection


KARA: Yeah. Yes. And so I just wanted to really make the connection between, you know, drinking diet soda and weight gain. So the, there was a study at the University of Minnesota and the research showed that drinking one, just one diet soda or more per day increased the risk of acquiring something called metabolic syndrome by about 36%.

KRISTI: From drinking diet soda.

KARA: Yep. Just like one, one per day.


KARA: Yeah. And so just, if listeners are wondering, you may already know what metabolic syndrome is, but the signs of having metabolic syndrome are obesity, high blood sugars, like prediabetes or diabetes, high blood pressure, large waist, a large midsection and then also impaired cholesterol, like high triglycerides or low HDL.

KRISTI: Your good cholesterol.

KARA: It's that combination. So that's really significant.

KRISTI: That is huge.

KARA: Because that is, you know, metabolic syndrome can lead to heart disease and, and other complications.

KRISTI: Right. Yep. And full-blown diabetes.

KARA: As well. So lots of, lots of important reasons to give up not only sugary soda, but diet soda as well for health and for the waistline.


KARA: So, and like you were sharing, you know, it can be a real addiction for, for many, and clients will often say, I know I'm supposed to stop drinking soda, but I just really need it when I get up, almost kind of like in replacement of a cup of coffee.

KRISTI: Yep. That caffeine fixed first thing in the morning.

KARA: Yeah. Or we also will hear, you know, I just have to have that 3:00 PM afternoon soda. “It really just lifts my energy when I feel like I'm in a slump.” And maybe it's Coke, it could be, you know, everybody's got a different favorite soda that they like.

KRISTI: Right.

KARA: And also, you know, we hear it for some it's the taste, for some it's the carbonation. For some it's not the caffeine. They might be drinking caffeine free. For others it is that caffeine.

KRISTI: Right.

KARA: Could be the sugar sweetener. It could be those artificial sweeteners, like aspartame and sucralose. You know, those can be addictive. They're chemicals.


How can you get over a soda addiction?


KARA: And they all kind of, this whole combination, everything in soda has a way of hooking people. So they feel like they can't stop. So, you know, just to sum up: drinking soda, both diet and regular, it's a very common addiction that we see. So how do you stop drinking soda? Well, Kristi, I mean, we've talked about that. Some people go cold turkey and they never even think about it again, but then there are some who actually kind of need to taper off.

KRISTI: Right.

KARA: Like somebody with another type of addiction would so, and you had said, you know, we're here to help. I mean, as nutritionists and dietitians and we're, we're kind of like your coach as well. And we can help provide an addiction support plan. And maybe that takes six appointments over a three-month time period, but we will help you put together an eating plan that will help you to stop wanting that soda. And that will hopefully be a thing of the past. And it really, you know, it's going to take a food plan and maybe a couple supplements to really stop those cravings.

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KRISTI: Right. Exactly. So I have clients I know that that struggle with that. That's one of their main vices is that soda or that diet soda. You know, but if they stick to their guns and we work with them hard enough, usually it is something they can overcome. So you know, what else affects your bone health besides drinking the soda? Well, what you eat or what you don't eat actually can determine if you're at risk for those weak and fragile bones. It may surprise you to learn that bones are actual living tissue. So the bone tissue, it needs those nutrients from the foods we’re eating. It needs the protein for the sheath around your bones. It needs the fat internally for your bones. So those minerals can stick to your bones and it needs vegetables too, to supply those nutrients, that bones need to be strong.

In fact, you know what? Your bones are one of the most active tissues in your body. They're constantly breaking down and they're constantly rebuilding. So what we eat really is supporting that whole process, you know, so eating those whole foods, the protein, the healthy fats, the vegetable carbohydrates, that is what will assist you with maintaining that good bone health.

KARA: Right. That's so important. Cause I think maybe listeners are not even realizing that bones are live tissue.

KRISTI: Right.

KARA: You know, just like hard dead bone in our body, but not the case at all. There's a lot of nutrients that are required to keep that whole process going.


KARA: And yeah, our bones are alive. They do need constant nutrients. Now another misconception that we're going to talk about today is that calcium is the most important nutrient when it comes to strong bones, but we want to take a step back and share that eating healthy, natural fat is the most important nutrient that we can be giving our bones.

Healthy, natural fat is critical for bone health


KRISTI: And a lot of people don't know that.

KARA: No, no. So then, you know, we'll talk more about what a, what a, what does a low-fat diet do to bones?

KRISTI: Right.

KARA: So clinically we find that many women who have osteoporosis or osteopenia have been on low fat, low calorie, maybe restrictive diets much of their life probably to try to lose weight or manage weight.

KRISTI: Yep. That was the fad back in the eighties and nineties, right? And some people still stick with that.

KARA: Yeah. Fat free. Right?


KARA: So think back, when did you go on your first diet? I mean, we often see clients that started dieting at a very young age; maybe 12, 13; maybe in college.

KRISTI: Mm-Hmm. When you gain the freshman 15 and you're trying to figure out a different way to go about losing that weight.

KARA: Exactly. So maybe now you're in your sixties or seventies and you think back and turns out you've been eating a low fat, maybe a low-calorie diet for 40 or 50 years. So that is not good for the bones. Cause what I just said is we really need healthy fats every day, several times per day to support that living tissue. Now if you do have osteopenia or osteoporosis, it's not too late to start incorporating these healthy natural fats.

KRISTI: Right. Cause you can reverse this and make your bones stronger.

KARA: That's correct. Yeah. So we need the natural fat to build that bone mesh. That's where the important minerals attach to. And we will talk more about minerals. You know, calcium is one of them, but there's magnesium, strontium. There's a whole range of minerals that need to attach to this mesh. So eating no fat, eating low fat or for that matter, eating unhealthy fats can leave holes in the mesh. The minerals like the magnesium are unable to attach and that results in weak fragile bones. So I know Kristi, you're going to talk about what does it look like to have a serving of good healthy fat at every meal and snack.

KRISTI: Right.

KARA: We’re going to talk about that in just a minute.

KRISTI: Yeah. Well, because we want to specify too, right? We want these healthy fats, not the damaged oils.

KARA: Those don't count.

KRISTI: Those don't count. So I'm going to give you guys some examples of what you can be incorporating in your diet to support that good bone health so those minerals can attach and create strong bones. You know, honestly I think a lot of my clients and I don't know Kara if you can agree with me on this or not, people usually think, well if I eat cheese and I eat yogurt and I drink milk, I'm just fine. And I'm supporting my bone health and that's all I need to do.

KARA: And they may have heard that from a doctor at some point, you know, drink two glasses of milk every day to support your bones.

KRISTI: Yep. Yep. And we actually don't even absorb that calcium very well from those sources.

KARA: Correct.

KRISTI: It's usually the healthy fats. That's usually what people are missing out of their diets to make sure their bones are nice and strong. You know, many women, you know, that now have osteoporosis, they're on, they've been on those low-fat diets like that and they're eating the, like the higher processed carbs. They've been doing this most of their life and their bones break, they fall and it just, their bones just break and they end up in the hospital or they'll come to the nursing home where I was a part of. I, and I would see this stuff firsthand.

So really the take home message is low fat diets are out. And these healthy, natural fats are in. You know, and we find that to make a healthy bone mesh for minerals to attach to, most women, they need to eat five to seven tablespoons of natural fat a day. You know? So that basically is about a tablespoon of fat at each meal and then a tablespoon of fat at snacks. So what are we, what are we talking about? Natural, healthy fats in your diet, you know, it's real butter. It's avocado. It's coconut milk. It's peanut butter, olives, nuts. Okay. It looks like we have to go to break again. I will be talking about different ways to incorporate healthy fats into your everyday meals and snacks when we come back.

KARA: You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. If you've decided to change your food choices to improve your bone health, your heart health, your digestive health, or your metabolism, I would like to recommend the 12-class series called Nutrition for Weight Loss. We offer these class series every couple of months. They kind of have staggered starts. And those are offered at all of our locations usually in person, but we also have the virtual option via Zoom. So if you'd like details and times of upcoming classes, you can check out our website, or you can call our office at (651) 699-3438. And we will be right back.

Sign up for Nutrition 4 Weight Loss


KRISTI: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. I want to share a comment from one of the past class members of one of our Nutrition for Weight Loss series. She said, “I'm now 65 years old and I've been on a diet at least 50 of those years.” One of the Nutrition for Weight Loss teachers asked her, what is your why? As in, why do you want to change your food choices? And she thought about it and she said, “Well, I want to go dancing. I want my joints to feel good. I want the energy it takes to dance. And I want the fun that dancing brings. When I eat the real food diet, I feel great. And I'll know that I'll be dancing by the 4th of July.”

KARA: I love that story.

KRISTI: I love that. I always like to hear those kinds of stories.

KARA: So Kristi, I know before break you gave some great examples of what different options are of the natural, healthy, fat.

KRISTI: Right.

KARA: Butter, avocado. You shared coconut milk, like the kind in the can or maybe a nut butter, like peanut butter. And I know you said you were going to give some examples of meals and like what does that look like practically speaking, right?

Ideas on how to incorporate healthy fats into meals and snacks


KRISTI: Yep, exactly. So how can you incorporate these healthy fats? You know, we talked about eating about a tablespoon of healthy fat at every meal and snack. So for breakfast, for example, if you like eggs, cook them in real butter. So the real butter then is that healthy fat that you would need to start your day off right and get those bones nice and protected and strong.

KARA: Tastes good too.

KRISTI: Yeah. Or if you're not an egg person, maybe you like smoothies for breakfast. So try adding, adding an avocado. Those are really healthy healing fats and they make your smoothies nice and creamy. I like the frozen ones that you can get in a bag that are already diced.

KARA: I didn't, I've never seen that.

KRISTI: Yeah. You can buy them at different grocery stores.

KARA: Okay. Just chunks?

KRISTI: Yep. And then you just throw them in there and it actually makes your smoothie a little bit colder.

KARA: Oh, I'm totally going to try to find that.


KARA: Well and the ones I buy and then they sit on my counter and I forget about them and then they go bad. So this way you're not, not wasting anything.

KARA: Managing an avocado is not easy.

KARA: Exactly. How about for lunch? Having a healthy fat you know, using some olive oil to pour over your salad and your chicken. So the olive oil would be that nice healthy fat. And then for an afternoon snack, you could slice up an apple and dip it in some real peanut butter or, you know, one of my favorites is you have a half a cup of berries and especially this time of year, the berries are so good. And then adding some of that full fat, canned coconut milk over the top of it is delicious.

And then dinner for dinner, you could do a small salmon steak with a cup of broccoli, maybe like a half a cup of sweet potato and then put some butter on your sweet potato. These are all just different ways to incorporate those healthy fats throughout the day. And it also makes your food taste wonderful too. And it supports the bone health that we've been talking about.

KARA: Those are great examples and you're right. I mean, being on like a, I, I don't think I've ever been at a low-fat diet, but I've had foods that didn't contain fat.

KRISTI: Right.

KARA: And you, you know, I'm thinking about like, I used to go to Breugger’s, which I'm not recommending by the way, but I used to get like those huge bagels that turn into 14 teaspoons of sugar. But I used to get the fat free cream cheese. And so tasteless.

KRISTI: Exactly.

KARA: You know, because fat is where we get our flavor. So think about the difference between like a fat free cream cheese and a full fat cream cheese.

KRISTI: Right. And knowing it's okay to eat that kind of stuff.

KARA: Yes. And we're encouraging that.

KRISTI: It’s good for your bones.

KARA: Yep. That's going to help those help the minerals. It's going to help them do their job.


Too much sugar and carbohydrate consumption are bone robbers


KARA: Okay. So back to like bone robbing foods versus bone building foods, but we know another bone robbing habit is consuming sugar or too many carbohydrates. Like I just said that bagel, large bagel turns into 14 teaspoons of sugar. That's another form of sugar. So these sugar habits the, the average American adult consumes almost 20 teaspoons of sugar per day.

KRISTI: That's crazy.

KARA: And that's added sugar. That is not like, that's not my bagel example because that's a carbohydrate turning into a sugar. The 20 teaspoons that's the average is added sugars. So the recommendation is six teaspoons or less from the American Heart Association.

KRISTI: So we're getting almost triple the amount of sugar we need each day.

KARA: Yeah. Yeah. And yeah, a little bit more than that. It's, that doesn't account for all the, the other hidden sugars as well, like breads and pasta and things like that. So all sugars are bone robbers and the high processed carbohydrates breaking down into sugar are also bone robbers.

KRISTI: Yeah. Like you said, it, that hidden sugar comes in so many different products. Many people think sugar's only in the sweet foods, right? Your desserts, your pudding, your ice cream, your cake, your cookies. A lot of times it surprises people to find out that those starchy carbs, like your bagel example or cereal, crackers, popcorn, pasta, you know, even though they don't have that sweet taste to them, they're still breaking down and turning into sugar in our body. You know, so here's a question for you listeners: What is your hidden sugar habit that is your bone robber?

You know, maybe it starts first thing in the morning, you know, like with Kara and her bagel example, or maybe you're having a bowl of cereal for breakfast. A bowl of corn flakes has 45 grams of carbohydrates. And when we break that down, that is 12 teaspoons of sugar that you're starting your morning out with.

KARA: Wow. And that might be a big surprise for a lot of listeners. Or maybe your hidden sugar habit is your favorite coffee drink that you're just so used to going to the coffee shop on a regular basis and getting that every day. Some of those coffee drinks, the sweetened ones can have 18 teaspoons of sugar. And so a better choice, I mean, I, I like my cup of coffee and I do go to the coffee shop, but I usually just get plain coffee. And then I ask the counter, I say, do you have heavy, real heavy whipping cream? And usually they get it from the back refrigerator, bring it out. And I pour a healthy dose of that in. And it's just delicious.

KRISTI: It does make the coffee taste so good that way.

KARA: It'd be a great substitute. Or maybe your hidden sugar habit is having pasta on a regular basis for lunch. A typical pasta serving at a restaurant is two cups. And if you take two cups of cooked pasta, that breaks down into over 21 teaspoons of sugar in your body. It, your, the glucose circulating in your blood.

KRISTI: Right. Right. You know, or maybe it's pizza, you know, that, that seems to be a popular one. You know, though that Friday night where people are ordering pizza. They don't want to cook anymore during the week. And just want something to have to celebrate the start of the weekend. You know, most people don't know, pizza, like the sauce, they add sugar to it. And then you also have the crust. So the thicker the crust, the more hidden carbs, the more hidden sugar that there are. So one slice of Domino’s pizza, one slice contains nine teaspoons of sugar. And I don't really know anybody that just eats one slice of pizza.

KARA: No, we’re usually talking between, I don't know, two to four or more.

KRISTI: Yeah, exactly. Depending on how hungry you are. So if you had three slices that's 27 teaspoons of bone robbing sugar. So just think about that, you know, look through your diet, look, think about a typical day, you know, where are those bone, bone robbing sugar habits sneaking in. You know, it's really time to just start getting serious about your bone health and working on cutting out that extra sugar in your diet.

KARA: Yeah. And that's why we're, you know, giving all of this news we want to, we just want to inform and educate.

KRISTI: Right.

KARA: So that our listeners know how to take next steps for their bone health.


Smoking and alcohol are bone robbers


KARA: So we've talked quite a bit about sugar and processed carbs being bone robbers. Of course, smoking is also a huge bone robber as well as drinking alcohol. And I'll expand on that just for a moment, because I want to explain how alcohol interferes with the production of some of these nutrients that we need for our bones, such as vitamin D is one of them. And you know, that's an essential vitamin that we need to ensure strong bones.

Alcohol also interferes with the body's ability to absorb calcium properly. And when we drink alcohol just to metabolize and kind of flush out the alcohol, which is a toxin, that takes up a lot of our body's nutrients.


KARA: And so, you know, we're not using those nutrients for other purposes. Our body's busy trying to get rid of the alcohol. We might be depleting our B vitamins, for example. And certainly like our magnesium, calcium, D, and our bones need all of those important nutrients.

KRISTI: Yeah I don't think people realize that when they have their glass of wine.

Some medications can have adverse effects on bone health


KARA: No. And of course the occasional drink I would think is okay for most people, but on a regular basis this is what's happening is we're our bodies are being depleted. So, and also a poor diet would be bone robbing. Kristi, there's also some medications that we know to have adverse effects on the health of our bones. And so if you're wondering what some of those medications are: statins are one category. Those are cholesterol lowering drugs. Also, certain antidepressants. And then you'll bring in a little bit more information on this at some point, but the acid reflux drugs, such as Prilosec. Those are also bone robbers depleting our body of important nutrients for bone health.

KRISTI: Right.

KARA: So I can't believe we have to go to another break here already, but you're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. And where we live, it is almost summer and summer for many of us means going to the farmer's market gathering up fresh vegetables, but you might be wondering how do I cook all of these fresh vegetables that I'm maybe not familiar with? Well, we have an answer for you. Marianne, our culinary educator is going to be hosting a Zoom cooking class on June 22nd. It's called Tips for Your Farmer's Market Vegetables. It's going to be a great fun class. It's only $25. So again, June 22nd, at 6:00 PM. You can sign up online on our website, Or you can call our office: (651) 699-3438. And they will be happy to get you signed up for that.

Take a Cooking Class


KRISTI: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. If you want more information about building strong bones, we have a number of blogs on our website to check out. Go to You might like the following articles: “What you Need to Know to Avoid Osteoporosis” or “A Full Day Menu of Bone-Building Foods” or “The Best and Worst Sources of Calcium” or “Key Osteo Plus Bone Building Formula”. In addition to these great online reads, you can also get a free five-day meal plan. Just go to our website, and enter your email. And we'll send it to you for free. We have a mission to get everyone eating real food so they can be as healthy as possible.

KARA: Kristi, before break, we were talking about more of kind of the bone robbers, you know, sugar, processed carbs, smoking, alcohol. And then I just want to reiterate something that I had said, cause we had to quickly go off to break, but there are some medications that also can be detrimental when it comes to bone health. And some of those categories would be the statin category, which those lower cholesterol and Zocor, Crestor, Lipitor are some common names. Anything with statin on the end, like Lovastatin. Also, certain antidepressants, and then we know that the acid reflux drugs also are not good for bone health, especially long term. I mean, some people go on those, they're meant to be short term.

KRISTI: 14 days.

KARA: 14 days. It even says it on the package.

KRISTI: It says it on the package.

KARA: Yes. And I don't know if people aren't, don't read that or maybe their doctor just says it's okay to be on it. I'm not sure. But there's a reason that it says 14 days. Because certain nutrients will be robbed and a lot of those are what we need for bone health. And so Prilosec is an example or Nexium. And so I know you shared a story with me. I think you're going to share it with listeners as well. That kind of is an example of just that happening.

KRISTI: Right; exactly. So my mom has been on an acid blocking medication for years to try and get her heartburn under control. So between that, and then she also grew up in this era of the low fat diet. And she's still to this day is a little leery about eating healthy fats. So, you know, two things we've talked about, right? Needing the healthy fat, not being on these acid blocking medications. She's, you know, unfortunately doing both of these things. She was diagnosed with osteopenia a few years ago. She's in her seventies. And she's an avid walker, loves to walk. She lives in Florida, so goes out every single morning. Well, she ended up tripping. This was a few, few years ago. She ended up tripping when she was out walking and fell and caught herself on her hand.

KARA: Oh no.

KRISTI: Yes. And she actually didn't know for a few days she just had a lot of pain in her wrist. She finally went in and got an x-ray and her wrist was broken. So again, just, you know, those two things.

KARA: Making the connections: low fat and long-term acid blocker.

Gluten sensitivity can cause detrimental effects to bone health


KRISTI: Right. Yep. It makes those bones so brittle. So here's another thought too. If you are gluten sensitive or you have celiac disease, you have probably been told you have damage to your intestines from eating gluten. When you have damage to your intestines that really connect that affect the absorption of calcium and vitamin D. And you know, those are two very important nutrients that we need for our bone health. So, you know, when we're low in calcium, low and vitamin D, it leads to that osteopenia and osteoporosis. You know, many people today have that gluten sensitivity or they're walking around not even knowing that you know, that they have celiac disease.

A good book to read about the gluten sensitivity connection to osteopenia: it's called Gluten Freedom by Dr. Fasano. He has a quote in his book that I like. He says, “The gut is not like Las Vegas. What happens in the gut doesn't stay in the gut.” So basically what this means when your gut is inflamed, it spreads to the rest of your body and it just wreaks havoc. And it interferes with our bone health.

KARA: Yeah. And you know, anyone who's familiar with celiac, I mean, some of the symptoms maybe before diagnosis would be anemia, right; low iron, weight loss, not absorbing nutrients is kind of really what happens when there's celiac involved if someone has continued to eat foods with gluten and has not really worked hard to heal damage to the gut.

KRISTI: Right.

Steps to take to support bone health


KARA: So that completely makes sense that all of the nutrients that we need for bones, you know, celiac could affect that as well. So other bone robbers; you might be wondering, well, what steps can I take to turn all of this around if I've, if I've had a history of eating sugar, smoking.

KRISTI: Or low fat.

KARA: Low fat; being on an acid blocker. I mean, you may need to make an appointment. I would encourage that with a dietitian or nutritionist, especially if you're trying to like get off of an acid blocker or something or work with a gluten sensitivity. You probably need some extra support, but I want to just give some tips that anybody can just start today.

Meet with a Nutritionist

So first of all, just really eating a clean meal plan and you know, that consists of a good, healthy animal protein, or maybe fish, a variety of vegetables to get all of those vitamins and minerals and the fiber. And five to seven tablespoons of healthy fat per day, depending on, you know, how many times you eat, but definitely with every meal and snack.

So be liberal with the butter, the olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, nuts, seeds, olives, avocados. Also, the second thing is make sure that you know what your vitamin D level is. So it's just a simple blood test. Everybody should be asking for that at least yearly, if not more frequently.

KRISTI: Yeah. Even sometimes I recommend clients do it twice a year, once in the winter, and then once in the summer, because the sunlight helps to make that vitamin D as we know, living in Minnesota or northern climates, we're really not exposed to very much sunshine in the wintertime and your vitamin D levels can really drop at that point in time, but they can also be low in the summer too.

KARA: I think that's great advice. And it's not like you need a full on workup from your, you know, medical provider. You can just kind of get a vitamin D test separately if you wanted to do that more frequently. And so optimal levels are 60 or higher. And we actually like to see levels at 70 or higher, and I know personally I do take 5,000 international units per day, year round. And I am I'm outside in the summer, but you know, it's usually not between 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM, and I'm certainly not exposing half of my body without sunscreen on a daily basis. So my levels consistently are in the seventies. I think 77 was the last result.


KARA: So that's just a, a personal example of how I like to keep my vitamin D up high enough. Also we, Kristi’s going to talk more about a really important bone building supplement. It's called Key Osteo Plus. This is different than other bone building supplements that, you know, you might see at your drug store or something. Key Osteo Plus, well, first of all, it's a professional brand: very high quality, the most absorbable form of all the minerals and vitamins.

It's got everything to maintain and increase bone, you know, bone health, bone density. So the company's made it very easy to take because all of the capsules have been put into just two packets, kind of like cellophane packets; a morning packet that you take with breakfast and an evening packet that you take in the evening.

KRISTI: Well, and it, the other thing it does, it takes the guesswork out of actually what do I need? You know, most people do know I need calcium, I need vitamin D, but then maybe they don't know the right amount or the correct type of calcium to be taking. But there are a lot of other vitamins and minerals too, that play an important part in bone health that gets covered in this packet. The Key Osteo Plus morning packet; so what that contains, it contains B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin D3, vitamin E, and vitamin A, which are all needed for bone building.

Then the evening packet: it's two forms of calcium. There's some magnesium in there and zinc and just some other various minerals that help build bones. Kara, you know, I have a couple clients that, that take this on a regular basis. You know, have you had clients on this and have they seen positive results?

KARA: Yes. I mean, I've, I've seen clients that have gone from having osteopenia, having the diagnoses of osteopenia or osteoporosis and returning to a normal bone density.

KRISTI: That's great.

KARA: And if, you know, of course we always say food first. We have to start with a real food plan.

KRISTI: Correct.

KARA: But often we do need these key nutrients added in to really make a difference. So we believe that it takes both to produce results. And so to rebuild bones, you know, it does take work. And so Kristi, could you just do a start our quick recap of the show? Cause I'm noticing we probably just have about a minute left.

KRISTI: Oh, sure. Yes. So for what we've talked about today, you know, the first thing we mentioned was avoiding the soda, right? Getting rid of or trying to break the habit of drinking regular or diet soda to support your bone health. We talked too about eating those healthy fats throughout the day. You know, so the minerals can be attaching to our bones, you know, picking the butter, the avocados, the coconut milk, the peanut butter, you know, and trying to get about five to seven tablespoons of that healthy fat every day.

KARA: And of course avoid some of the bone robbers that we talked about, like sugar and processed carbohydrates. And if you smoke, quit. If you drink alcohol, either quit or minimize that alcohol intake.

KRISTI: And then make sure you're eating that balanced diet with those real whole foods, you know, the proteins, the healthy fats, the vegetable carbohydrates and then look into the Key Osteo Plus supplement to strengthen your bones that way as well.

KARA: You know, our goal at Nutritional Weight and Wellness is to help each and every person experience better health through eating real food. And it's a simple yet powerful message. Eating real food is life changing. And thank you so much for joining us today.

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