Some Foods That Are Harmful to Bones

Just as it’s critical to eat foods that support bone health, it’s crucial to understand which kitchen cabinet no-nos could harm your bones.

Most people are aware of the best foods to eat for healthy bones: anything high in calcium, which builds bones, and vitamin D, which fights osteoporosis. The meals and drinks that harm bone health are equally significant but less frequently acknowledged. Some meals can prevent your body from absorbing calcium, decrease bone mineral density, and more, from excessively salty snacks to sodas rich in sugar. Watch out for these foods that can harm your bones.

Snacks High in Sugar

It’s critical to constantly remind yourself not to consume excessive amounts of sugar, particularly if you have a sweet tooth.

According to Heidi Skolnik, CDN, senior nutritionist at The Women’s Sports Medicine Center at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York and a trustee for the National Osteoporosis Foundation, “the harm to bones may be caused when people consume too much-added sugar and don’t get enough of the nutrient-rich food they need. Satisfy your sweet appetite with fruits like prunes, cranberries, and others that are high in antioxidants, which are beneficial nutrients that support bone health, for the best osteoporosis diet.


Your bone health may suffer if you consume large amounts of soda. According to Cosman, drinking seven or more colas per week is linked to a decline in bone mineral density and an increase in the risk of fracture. No soda is beneficial for general health, she asserts, adding that “the mechanism is not well understood.”

Despite being unable to pinpoint why, a study that examined 73,000 postmenopausal women who drank soda discovered that regardless of the type of soda—regular or diet, cola or non-cola, and caffeine- or caffeine-free—they had an increased risk of hip fracture. The study also found that participants’ risk increased as they drank more soda, which was reported in the study’s September 2014 publication in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.


Before getting caffeine-crazy, stop and think. According to a study that was published in BMC Musculoskeletal Diseases in October 2016, postmenopausal women who drink coffee have lower bone density. According to Dina Khader, RD, CDN, an integrative nutrition consultant in Mount Kisco, New York, caffeine depletes calcium from bones, weakening them. In actuality, you lose about 6 milligrammes of calcium for every 100 milligrammes of coffee you consume.

In addition, a study that was released in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition in January 2016 found that caffeine can have stronger impacts on the bone health of postmenopausal women when consumed along with sugary meals.

Hence, consume decaf coffee and tea, limit your intake of sugary foods, especially those that include caffeine, like chocolate, and stick to an osteoporosis-prevention diet.


Do you need another excuse to limit your alcohol consumption? According to Khader, “Chronic and heavy drinking is known to lead to low bone mass, impaired bone production, an increase in fracture incidence, and delayed fracture healing.” And it can occur earlier than you might imagine. According to a study published in BMJ Open in October 2015, healthy women between the ages of 19 and 30 who drank a lot of alcohol had lower bone density ratings than those who didn’t.

Moderate alcohol consumption is best for bone health. Try to keep your daily alcohol consumption to no more than 2 to 3 glasses, advises the National Osteoporosis Foundation.

Most people know what foods to should eat for strong bones — anything chock-full of bone-building calcium and its osteoporosis-fighting partner vitamin D. Just as important, but less often discussed, are the foods and beverages that take away from bone health. From overly-salty snacks to high-in-sugar sodas, certain foods can inhibit your body from absorbing calcium, reduce bone mineral density, and more. Beware of these foods that are bad for your bones.

Red Meat

According to Khader, eating too much animal protein can also cause your bones to lose calcium. As a result, if you have osteopenia or osteoporosis, you should limit red meat to two times per week and eat it in tiny doses (4 to 6 ounces). Reducing consumption of red and processed meats, soft drinks, fried meals, sweets and desserts, and refined grains all had a good effect on bone health, according to a study published in Advances in Nutrition in January 2017.

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About the Author: Neha Rathi

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