Osteoporosis: The Real Causes and Unexpected Product that Might Contribute Most

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Osteoporosis is a genuine problem in our aging population. More common in women than men, the disease affects more than 200 million globally, according to the International Osteoporosis Foundation. In fact, the IOF estimates that an osteoporotic fracture occurs once every three seconds around the world, and the numbers rise with aging. While 10 percent of women aged 60 have osteoporosis, nearly 2/3 of women aged 80 and above have the condition. About 33 percent of women and 20 percent of men over the age of 50 will experience an osteoporotic fracture. In the United States alone (which, like other countries that consume a great deal of calcium, has a much higher rate than many other countries), osteoporosis treatment costs between $10 and $20 billion annually. Those numbers indicate a severe problem. People with osteoporosis have a weakened skeleton, causing it to fracture easily. While it is more common in women, men are also susceptible, as you can see by the statistics above. Advertising would have you believe that lack of dairy products or other calcium-containing foods is the main cause of osteoporosis, but the problem isn’t nearly that simple. Keep reading!

Is Milk Good for Your Bones?

It turns out that all of those dairy advertisements telling you that milk strengthens your bones may just be advertising hype. In fact, according to a 12-year Harvard School of Public Health study, no evidence exists showing that increased dairy intake leads to fewer fractures in older adults. Other studies have reached similar conclusions. Further evidence suggests that dairy may even be detrimental to bone health. In the China Study, Dr. T. Colin Campbell discovered data that indicated that dairy protein (and other animal proteins) not only didn’t prevent osteoporotic bone loss, but that its consumption led to a state of acid-induced bone dissolution that resulted in demineralization. Studies around the world also suggest that countries with the highest intake of dairy products (including the United States) also have the highest incidence of osteoporosis. Likewise, countries that consume fewer dairy products have lower rates of the disease. Given these actual studies and research conducted worldwide, it makes me angry that the dairy industry and lobbyists continue to indoctrinate so many millions of people into believing that dairy is actually a healthy thing for them to ingest. Dairy was never intended by nature for human beings to consume. Period. You won’t find any dairy or processed skim milk derivatives at GLOW BIO, my organic smoothie & juice shop opening on Nov. 15th! We use raw sprouted, homemade almond milk. Be wary of frozen yogurt and commercial smoothie places that usually use dairy in some form as a base, for if you eat enough fro yo and commercial smoothies, that is a a lot of dairy you are ingesting!

Animal Proteins and Bone Density

Researchers have been studying the correlation between consumption of animal proteins and hip fractures for decades. A Yale University School of Medicine study noted the correlation between high rates of hip fracture and consumption of animal protein, hypothesizing that the high level of metabolic acid production associated with animal protein consumption led to bone dissolution. The study concluded that there was significant cause to explore the link further, something that many other researchers have done since 1991. T. Colin Campbell reached a similar conclusion in the China Study. In the study, Campbell and fellow researchers studied 800 women from five countries and found that ingestion of animal proteins led to excretion of calcium from the bones. Further, vegetarian diets were associated with the highest levels of bone density and the lowest rates of fracture.

Soda and Osteoporosis

Soft drinks may also contribute to osteoporosis rates. A Tuft’s University study found a strong correlation between soft drink consumption and bone density, finding that women drinking three or more sodas per day had significantly lower bone density than those consuming only one soda per day. This is not surprising. Soda is extremely acidic in the body, containing high levels of phosphoric acid, which may lead to significant bone demineralization. The Acid-Osteoporosis Link Why does this happen? The body must maintain a very specific pH level in order to function properly (a slightly alkaline 7.0 pH). When we consume foods that result in high levels of metabolic acid, the body works quickly to neutralize those acids and restore alkalinity. The mineral salts that strengthen the bones can quickly neutralize an acidic environment. In the absence of mineral salts from alkaline foods, the body pulls them from where it can – your bones. The result of a long-term, continuously acidic diet, then, is ongoing bone demineralization, decreased bone density, and ultimately, osteoporosis. This is very likely why osteoporosis increases with age. Calcium Supplements? Study results remain mixed on calcium supplements, but some evidence exists that supplemental calcium may actually decrease bone density. According to Dr. Robert Thompson, author of The Calcium Lie, calcium is just one of many minerals contained in the bone, and supplementing it can inhibit absorption of all of the trace minerals necessary to build strong bones. I’m certainly not someone that believes that you can pop a few nutritional supplements and expect great change, without changing what you’re eating, and equally importantly, what you’re not eating. Combatting Osteoporosis Fortunately, you can combat osteoporosis. The sooner you seek to create an alkaline environment in the foods you eat, the sooner your body wills top pulling minerals from your bones to neutralize acids. Studies show that the more bone density you build up when you are young, the less likely you will be to be one of the 2/3 of women over 80 that suffer from osteoporosis. What can you do to combat osteoporosis?

  1. Cut out the soda! As related above, soda directly demineralizes bones. Avoiding it altogether and replacing it with water will help keep your minerals where they belong – strengthening your bones.
  2. Cut down on animal protein. As related in the China Study, all kinds of animal proteins are the most metabolically acidic foods you can consume. Greatly minimize poultry, fish, eggs, and meat in your diet.
  3. Eliminate dairy. While the dairy industry would suggest otherwise with their multimillion dollar lobbying and advertising campaigns to get you to use their product, consuming dairy most likely has the opposite effect, creating an acidic environment in your body that practically guarantees minerals from your bones will be required to neutralize it.
  4. Eat alkaline foods. Vegetarian diets, green smoothie diet, or the high plant-based diet outlined in the Beauty Detox Solution help maintain your body’s alkaline environment. The diets are also high in the trace minerals your bones need to grow stronger.
  5. Practice weight bearing exercise. A study printed in the Annals of Internal Medicine demonstrated that women who regularly participated in weight bearing exercise experienced significant increases in bone mineralization. These types of exercise include walking, jogging, or using an elliptical trainer.
  6. Get moderate sunshine: When your skin is exposed to sunshine (without sunscreen), it turns the sunlight into vitamin D, which is essential in helping your intestines absorb the minerals necessary for strong bones. Of course, overexposure can result in burning and should be avoided, but small amounts of sunshine on the skin can have great benefits.

In spite of the statistics, bone fracture, demineralization, and osteoporosis is not a given. By eating a healthy, plant-based diet, you can build strong bones now and into the future! Please pass this on to anyone you know concerned with osteoporosis, and/or those currently consuming yogurt, skim milk and other dairy products because they think they are actually good for them (!). Thank you for being a health ambassador to spread this knowledge, which can help all of us as a community.



Last updated: Friday, June 19, 2015
  • kelly

    Forteo is an amazing life changing product for osteoporosis it is a biolgic that rebuilds the bone.

  • Luisa Esposito

    This is such an informative article Kim which came in the right moment. My niece In Chile is studying Nutrition and she would be so happy to read your articles since I have spoke to her about you so much. I have read your book the Detox solution and i have follow to the best of my abilities your program. I follow you here in fb and i read constantly all your news which are soundly important to our well-being. What I really really want to ask you is, can you post in the Spanish language as well. I am bilingual, and i know so many people from Spanish speaking background who will benefit from your practical studies on the most recent and relevant information on nutrition. Also, I need to know when is your book “the beauty detox solution” going to be translated to Spanish. People want to know. Is there any in mind, if not let me know I may become your interpreter and translator.
    I love your work, it is fascinating to me.
    Thanks for your post. And, looking forward to hearing from you.

  • Lisa

    Hi Kim,
    My family has recently started on our journey to better health. My 6 year daughter switched from mostly drinking milk to unsweetened almond milk. Which is a huge deal, but at a recent dental appointment her dentist told us almond milk was bad for your teeth and she should drink just white milk. I am pretty sure this is wrong but I am not versed enough yet to challenge her dentist. Any suggestions as to what I could say to her? I don’t want her and her staff to keep telling my daughter to drink milk. Thanks for all you do.

  • Diane

    going on a vacation to Disneyworld with my grandchildren for a week. I love my GGS every morning. I am also vegan. What do I do?
    BTW I have everyone I know reading your book!! Love it and refer back to it constantly. You are a lifesaver. Thank God for you!

  • Rachel

    Hi Kim,

    I wanted to share with you that I’ve been an avid follower, I drank the glowing green smoothie for 6 months but I’ve stopped. Although I lost weight, had high energy level, and I felt great, my skin started to become yellow and it no longer had a glow. My lips which are naturally pink/red no longer had color. I’ve been off of the glowing green smoothie for 4 months now and the color has come back now. I honestly love the drink and how it made me feel but it seems like this was the reason causing the change in my complexion. I’m not sure if you studied chinese medicine but my mum is well versed in it and she said that my type of body is a “cold” body and if I eat raw vegetables as my main course, it causes my body to be even “colder” and thus making my complexion look dry.

    Could you shed some light as to why you think my complexion was reacting the way it was when drinking the glowing green smoothie and eating primarily raw diet? I’m confused and its been bugging me because I respect and believe in your research and ideology but on this front, it doesn’t seem to work in my favor.


  • Nadiya

    Sorry if this is off topic but i couldn’t find you e-mail. There is a lot of talk nowadays about the paleo diet and I was wondering if you could do a post on it. It seems to be completely opposite of the plant based diet and it’d be interesting to know whether there is any scientific evidence backing up the paleo diet. Thank you!

  • Ashland Griggs

    Hi Kimberly!

    What would you recommend feeding to babies just gettting off of their mother’s milk instead of whole milk?

  • Bea

    Osteoporosis has also been strongly linked to celiac disease. When a person has celiac disease, gluten disables the villi of the intestines to absorb calcium, iron and other nutrients. Thus, the bones weaken, a person can also become anemic and lose hair (which has usually been thought to be the thyroid, but in reality it’s the inability to absorb nutrients from the foods they are eating because of the gluten being consumed). Most docs are in the dark about this disease and a lot of people don’t want to face the fact that they have it. However, it really isn’t so bad when you look around. There are a lot more substitutes for wheat/barley/spelt (foods containing gluten) than there used to be.

  • Angenieta

    Dearest Kimberly
    I LOVE your book and everything you write. You have changed my life!!!
    Last week you wrote about the danger of nail polish and I learned a lot. It did being up the question about acrylic nails! I’ve had them for two thirds of my life and got really concerned about having those toxins on my already really thin nails. Do you have any info in that? Thanks so much
    With love, Angenieta

  • Miss Destiny

    Hi Kim,

    Thank you so much for all the information on your site. I have a recommendation of a blog for you to discuss on this site, as I really would like information. What are your thoughts on the 80/10/10 diet? Please provide me with your feedback, as I am exploring this low fat raw vegan diet, though noticed that you promote and incorporate primarily greens and limited fruit intake, where the 80/10/10 focuses mainly on consuming fruits as the bulk of the diet. I would appreciate your thoughts on this- thanks so much! :)

  • http://www.kristenpeters.net Kristen

    Everyone please read “The China Study” by T. Colin Cambell as well for more thorough & in-depth scientific evidence. Thanks Kim for this great write-up! We must get the word out about dairy consuption and bone density loss.

  • karen

    Concerning the “no soda” point. I have a Soda Stream machine so I can add a bit of gas to plain water (I don’t add flavoring). I drink a lot of this water (probably about 1–2 liters a day).
    Is this a problem? Is it the flavorings or the gas that is the problem in sodas?

  • teresa trucksess

    wish i could share this on facebook

  • Nisa


    I have a 17-month old and her dr. recommends she drink whole milk. She has no allergies and I’ve blessed with an incredibly healthy child. I’ve heard and read things regarding consumption of dairy (many of the same things mentioned in the post re osteoporosis) and wanted to ask what you recommend children drink? I’ve thought about switching to almond milk they highly discourage exposing your child to nuts until 2. Any recommendations would be very much appreciated.

  • Gillian

    This is so true!I am currently studying an ad dip of naturopathy, and doing my first assignment on osteoporosis. The garbage that we r fed, through advertising, it should be illegal! People need to stop being so ignorant when it comes to their health, thinking that someone else knows best for them because it is on t.v. Love your work Kimberly!

  • nancy

    Hi Kimerbly, I write from Lima, Peru. Regarding weight bearing excercise, is Yoga included?

    One more question regarding Yoga: I am not a gym person but I really want to build stronger muscles. Is Yoga enough to shape nice muscles and make them stronger considering I am 47 years old?

    Thanks SO MUCH for ALL your advice.

    • Lin

      Yes! I was surprised yoga wasn’t mentioned. I am an Occupational Therapist and yoga definitely is weight-bearing and will strengthen your muscles, improve endurance and flexibility.

  • Joann Neuhauser

    Both my parents suffered from Osteoporosis. I try to eat well and take vitamins to ward off the possibility of this disease myself. Recently, my Dr. discovered a high level of calcium in my blood. I have stopped taking a calcium supplement but I am concerned about this finding. What are your thoughts?

  • DL

    Is there any time that acidic is a benefit or should one always strive for an alkaline pH?

  • Cindy

    MThanks Kimberly for all of your great info. I have read your book and follow the program as much as possible. Love the GGS and have lost 50 lbs. now. I have given my copy of your book to a good friend and now she is following your program. She. then passed it on and now it just continues to spread. I am so happy to see more and more of my friends eating healthier it has changed my life and hopefully it will change theirs as well.Thank GOD for you and your caring heart!
    Sincerely, Cindy

  • Cindy

    my comment is posted above. there was a problem filling in marked feilds

  • http://www.sacredhealingtreew.com Steven

    Great article! The following blog on osteoporosis from A Chinese Medicine point of view is a “must see”. Hope this helps someone. http://www.sacredhealingtree.com/blog/chinese-medicine-for-osteoporosis/

  • http://www.nyknyc.com Emily Fairfield

    I have re built bone that I lost from osteopenia by wearing a weighted vest for osteoporosis by a company called NYKNYC.
    The vest is sleek and after wearing it for a year I heard this great news from my doctor , who recommended that vest and also uses it to keep her bones strong . Highly recommend using one by nyknyc and also weight bearing exercise is more important than anything to keep bones strong.

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  • Ren Ishi

    I like your web blog however you need to put more emphasis on weight workouts.
    According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation also known as NOF says that the MOST important thing you can do to strengthen bones is to walk with a weighted vest , they recommend the one by NYKNYC because it is properly balanced and correctly fitted for a womans body. The NOF
    speaks highly of wearing an NYKNYC vest and they recommend it as a fast easy way to strengthen bones all over the entire body at once as you walk!