Is Osteoporosis or Osteopenia in Your Future?

September 9, 2017

Half of those 50+ are at risk of breaking a bone and need to be concerned about their bone density. We’ll share warning signs and what you can do to help protect your bones, regardless of your age.

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This transcript contains pertinent information, slightly different than what aired on the podcast. 

MARCIE: Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition. I am Marcie Vaske, licensed nutritionist and co-host of Dishing Up Nutrition. Today we are going to talk about osteoporosis and low bone density. It’s interesting to know that 10 million people have osteoporosis and another 44 million have low bone density. One half of people over the age of 50 are at risk of breaking a bone and need to be concerned about their bone density.

CASSIE: I am Cassie Weness, a registered dietician and also co-host of today’s show, which is brought to you by Nutritional Weight & Wellness. As nutritionists and dieticians, we work with many people, mostly women, who are concerned about their bone density. Here is a question we often hear in a class or nutrition session “Is drinking coffee bad for my bones?” Interestingly enough, we have research to answer that question.

MARCIE: Dr. Robert Recker, the Director of the Osteoporosis Research Center at Creighton University in Omaha said, “Huge national studies in different countries have found no evidence of an increase of fractures due to coffee.”

CASSIE: Now a study in Sweden with 61,000 women has found that drinking four cups of coffee a day was associated with only a small reduction of bone density, but not linked to an increased risk of bone fracture.

MARCIE:  As a nutritionist, I recommend that my clients who have bone density problems, either osteoporosis or osteopenia, add full fat cream to their coffee, because we understand that bones need fat to make the healthy bone mesh for the minerals to attach to for strong bones.

CASSIE: We need good beneficial fat to build strong bones. That may be a surprise to some of our listeners. I certainly was surprised when I learned that bones need good fats to be dense and strong. Honestly, I was shocked to learn that we need beneficial fats for strong, healthy bones, because when I was in school to become a dietician, all the instructors taught us that fat was bad. We now know that information was inaccurate. Sadly, that low-fat, fat-free message may have put millions of women at risk for having osteoporosis.

MARCIE: Let’s go back to the question, “Is drinking coffee bad for my bones?” Researchers have found coffee acts as a diuretic. We know, as coffee drinkers that is true, because after a cup or two of coffee, we have to rush to the bathroom. Since coffee is a diuretic, when you drink coffee your bodies secrete more calcium in your urine. The trick is not to have any bone loss, so if you are a coffee drinker, make sure you are supplementing with sufficient amounts of calcium. The National Institute of Health recommends 1000-1200 mg of quality, well-absorbed calcium to counteract what is lost in your urine from drinking coffee.

CASSIE: We, at Nutritional Weight & Wellness recommend you limit your coffee consumption to one and no more than two cups daily and be sure to add full fat cream. That is best for your bones. Now I’d like to go back to our discussion about the inaccurate information about eating low fat or fat free foods that was being taught in dietetic schools in the past.

MARCIE: Let’s put some research to this topic to clear up any misunderstandings that good fat, such as olive oil, coconut oil, butter, avocados, nuts, nut butters and heavy cream are good for your bones, while fat-free and low-fat are bad for your bones.

CASSIE: Back in 1996, Dr Mary Enig, a well known researcher and author of Know Your Fats, spoke at the American College of Nutrition’s Annual Conference. She presented research to show to that in order to have healthy, strong bones people need to eat good fats. You need to eat beneficial fats, such as olive oil, butter, coconut oil, avocados and nuts, to build the bone mesh for all the minerals in your body to attach to.

MARCIE: On the flip side, if you ate bad fats, such as margarine, artificial coffee creamers, fake whipped topping that many serve at Thanksgiving, soybean oil, corn oil or cottonseed oil or if you ate low-fat or fat-free, you can actually have big gaping holes in your bone mesh and the minerals have nothing to attach to, so you end up with weak, fragile bones.

You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition, brought to you by Nutritional Weight & Wellness. Clients often ask us this question, Why are sugar and processed carbs so bad for our bones?” We go on to explain that the consumption of refined sugar is a major contributor to osteoporosis, because when we eat sugar, we secrete calcium in our urine. Since 99% of the total body’s calcium is in our bones, this extra increase in calcium excretion results in the leaching of calcium from our bones.


CASSIE: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. Listeners, did you realize that if you miss the name of a product that we discussed or if you want to review the show, you can listen to our podcast of the show? We are also transcribing the show now, so if you prefer, you can read the actual words. Both are available on our website,

You can also listen to any of our podcasts on our free Dishing Up Nutrition app. Listeners, we truly appreciate your interest and support of our show and we thank you. We greatly value and appreciate you taking the time to write a review of the show on iTunes and if you have a favorite radio topic for us to consider, please let us know as well.

CASSIE: Nutritional Weight & Wellness has been teaching about the importance of good fat for over 21 years, particularly why you need good fats for strong bones.

MARCIE: I want to share a story with you about one of our nutrition educators and her bone density problem. Many of you listeners know Oralee as she has taught hundreds of you in our Nutrition 4 Weight Loss classes. Seven years ago, before learning that our body and bones need good fats, Oralee had bought into the low-fat message just like many of you. In fact, she called herself, the Queen of Low-Fat. Guess What? Even as physically active as Oralee was and is, she had the beginning of osteoporosis, called osteopenia.

CASSIE: Now having fragile bones was a concern to Oralee, because she remembers hearing her grandmother moan in pain from having weak, fragile bones. When she asked her mother why Grandma was moaning, her mother told her that Grandma’s bones were collapsing. That left a lasting impression on Oralee, so she took her own bone problem to heart and decided to heal her bones. She didn’t want to end up moaning in pain like her Grandmother or to be the old lady who falls and ends up in the nursing home with a broken hip or pelvis.

MARCIE:  You might be asking, “How did she heal her bones?” The first step she took was to add 1 tablespoon of good fat at each meal and snack. That was the easy part and she actually lost weight! She had believed the low-fat myth that if she ate fat, she would gain weight…not true!

CASSIE: The next step for Oralee was to give up her sugar treats. She loved sugar, so this step was much harder. She talked about getting a high from eating sugar. It was as though her brain lit up from sugar, but of course, she only felt great for a short time, then she would crash in a few hours and she would then go on a search and rescue mission for more sugar and the cycle would repeat itself. Can you relate to Oralee’s sugar addiction? When Oralee’s father passed away, the doctor’s discovered he had a nonalcoholic fatty liver from all of the candy, pies, cakes and cookies he had eaten throughout his life. Oralee grew up with sugar everywhere and had never realized the devastating affects sugar had on bones. The good news is that you can restore bone density with the correct eating habits, taking some key supplements and simply walking 20-30 minutes daily. Sorry to say, but just doing weight bearing exercises alone will not build strong bones.

MARCIE: You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. Before break, we were talking about why sugar is so bad for our bones. Here’s another helpful reason for you. Refined sugar strips your body of magnesium, which significantly impacts bone health. Without adequate magnesium, the body cannot absorb calcium. This may come as a surprise to you, but magnesium is actually more important than calcium for bone health. We frequently recommend that our clients take 400mg of Magnesium Glycinate tablets with your calcium for good absorption. For best absorption, minerals should be taken at bedtime.


CASSIE: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight & Wellness, a company providing life-changing nutrition counseling and life-changing nutrition education. Because we have many people fly in to take our Weight and Wellness Weekend Seminar and our Menopause Survival Seminar, I want to give you the fall dates, so you can plan ahead. The Weight and Wellness Weekend Seminar will be the weekend of October 6th and the Menopause Survival Seminar will be Saturday, November 4th. My cousin who loves nutrition has driven in from North Dakota to attend past seminars and I’m sure she is listening today thinking, “I need a refresher, so I think I’ll sign up again!” Call 651.699.3438 or go to for more information. We also have a brand new seminar called, The Food Connection to ADHD. This seminar is on Saturday, November 18th from 9:30am to 1:00pm. As a parent with two active kids, I know I need to get these special dates on my calendar, so my learning time won’t be snatched up by a soccer or basketball game.

MARCIE: Why is sugar so bad for bones? The simple fact is sugar depletes the body of calcium. You may be wondering, if there has been an increase in osteoporosis or osteopenia over the past few years. Actually, there has been a 25% increase in hip failures worldwide from 1990 to 2000. That’s a startling increase in just one decade.

CASSIE: Let’s take a look at the increase in sugar consumption in the past 300+ years. In the 1700’s, a person ate about 2 lbs of sugar on average per year. To date this year, it’s reported that the average American eats 160 pounds of sugar a year. That breaks down to 42½ teaspoons a day!

MARCIE: That said, you listeners may be thinking, “Who is consuming all of that sugar?!” If you drink one glass of juice, which has 11 teaspoons of sugar and 1 soda containing 11 teaspoons of sugar with 3 pieces of pizza with 28 tsp of sugar, you have consumed 50 tsp of sugar. That is very common for many teenagers and that doesn’t even include all of the other sugar-laden foods they eat in a day like bagels, chips, Frappuccino’s or candy! We know those teenage years are a critical period for building strong bones in these young people.

CASSIE: Here’s another example about my friend’s aunt who just moved into senior housing. Every Monday morning, they have a social gathering and guess what they are serving? ...cookies, sweet rolls, and brownies with coffee and artificial coffee creamer. There’s no other options available. The statistics tell us, for women over the age of 45, osteoporosis accounts for more days spent in a hospital than any other disease, including diabetes, heart attacks and breast cancer. I find it shocking that seniors who are at risk for osteoporosis are living on sugar…sad, but true. It seems that every event they attend includes cookies, brownies, bars or candy. We understand that for most of us the desire for a sweet treat is strong, but isn’t it time that healthier alternatives are provided, so seniors can make better choices?

MARCIE: You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. When you are buying a calcium supplement, we suggest you look for a higher quality calcium than calcium carbonate. You will find calcium carbonate in Tums. Calcium chews and less expensive calcium products. Unfortunately, it is poorly absorbed by the bones and therefore is not a calcium form we recommend. Always look for a bone- building product that contains calcium citrate and microcrystalline hydroxyapatite compound for new bone formation and strong bones. Be sure to tune in next week to listen to Kara and Shelby as they discuss Tips for Better Memory.


CASSIE: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. The week of September 11th our new series of Nutrition 4 Weight Loss starts. The State Fair is over, kids are back in school, and there are fewer trips to the lake cabin or to Grandma’s, so it’s a good time for “me time”. Maybe that “me time” means getting back to healthier eating. You may be saying, “I’ve had enough brownies, bars and pizza to last me until next summer. No more for me, thank you.”

The question is, how do you get back on track, so you will have fewer aches and pains, better moods and a lot more energy? Let me suggest taking the Nutrition 4 Weight Loss program. It is real food that is simple to prepare plus you will not only lose those extra pounds you put on this summer, but you will start to feel like your old self again. You’ll wake up feeling great with better moods and fewer aches and pains! Call 651.699.3438 to ask some questions or to sign up or go to our website at to sign up in a class that is convenient for you.

MARCIE: Several research studies have found that bones need adequate protein to be strong and healthy. As nutritionists, we have taught and have given suggestions about how senior living facilities can provide bone-building snacks and meals. Cassie, since most seniors need more protein, let’s share a few of our favorites. I always start with suggesting deviled eggs and a bowl of berries – so delicious and also easy to digest.

CASSIE: I recommend a deli meat rollup with cream cheese and ½ of a banana sliced with full fat cream poured over the banana slices.

MARCIE: I often suggest full-fat cottage cheese topped with unsweetened applesauce and pecans. All of these taste great and they contain no added sugar.

CASSIE: Some of you might be asking, “What is so wrong with sugar? “Why is sugar hurting my bones?” Here is the answer plain and simple – sugar strips the body of magnesium, which seriously impairs bone health as magnesium helps to convert vitamin D into an active form for calcium absorption. We believe most of you listeners know that you need adequate levels of vitamin D to help with the absorption of calcium as we mention it often on Dishing Up Nutrition. We also recommend that you get your vitamin D level tested and your blood test result should be between 50 to 80 to be in a good range for calcium absorption.

MARCIE: Magnesium also helps to activate enzymes that are required for bone formation. Bottom line, magnesium is crucial for developing strong bones!

CASSIE: Now let’s go back to how Oralee stopped osteoporosis by using food and nutrition to heal her bones and return to strong, healthy bones. As we mentioned earlier, her first step was to eat 1 T. of healthy fat at each meal and snack which is about six to seven tablespoons of fat daily.

MARCIE: Oralee’s second step was to quit eating sugar – ALL sugar. Can you stop eating sugar to save your bones?

CASSIE: The third step Oralee took was to eat 4 oz. of protein (meat or fish) at each meal and 2 oz. at each snack. We have found that women really need to concentrate on eating protein. I use the grill a lot especially in the summer. I grill up burgers, chicken, steak, salmon, pork and even healthy nitrate-free brats that I can eat cold during the week when I’m on the run. I plan ahead, so I get my protein and fat in at least five times a day.

MARCIE: Oralee’s fourth step was to add an amazing bone-building supplement called Pro Bono. She simply took a packet of capsules containing B vitamins, vitamin K and Strontium in the morning and then in the evening she took another packet that contained 6 different capsules with forms of a very absorbable calcium and magnesium plus vitamin D. We love Pro Bono, because the company that developed Pro Bono has done the research and created a system that our clients find easy to take and Pro Bono produces positive results! Many of our clients have gone from having osteoporosis to having normal bone density.

CASSIE: I always say to my mother, “Make sure you’re protecting your bones, so you’ll be able to play with your grandchildren.” I encourage her to eat meat several times a day, to put butter on her vegetables and to take Pro Bono, so she gets sufficient calcium and magnesium to maintain strong bones.

MARCIE: Our goal at Nutritional Weight & Wellness is to help each and every person experience better health through eating real food. It’s a simple, yet powerful message. Eating real food is life-changing. 

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