Dem Bones: Do High Protein Diets Cause Bone Loss?

Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig

The protein theory was rst presented in 19681 and followed up in 1972 with a study comparing bone density of vegetarians and meat eaters … The authors of the study attribute the decline in bone mass to the high protein diet of the Eskimos, especially its high meat content. Some studies with animals, as well as further studies with humans, given diets high in protein also indicate a greater loss of calcium and thinner bones than controls on low protein regimes.

Dr. Price found many groups throughout the world subsisting on high meat diets. Although he did not directly study bone density in these peoples, he did study their teeth. He found that groups on high meat diets–including Alaskan Eskimos–had a high immunity to tooth decay, were sturdy and strong, and virtually free from degenerative disease. Groups subsisting mainly on plant foods were less robust and had more tooth decay. Pre-Columbian skeletons of American Indians whose diets consisted largely of meat show no osteoporosis, while those of Indians on largely vegetarian diets indicate a high incidence of osteoporosis and other types of bone degeneration. The implication of Dr. Price’s research and other anthropoligical studies is that high meat diets protect against osteoporosis. How do we explain this discrepancy?

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