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Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 Nov;94(5):1371-5. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.111.019992. Epub 2011 Sep 21.

Diet and bone mineral density study in postmenopausal women from the TwinsUK registry shows a negative association with a traditional English dietary pattern and a positive association with wine.

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Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom.



The effect of diet on bone mineral density (BMD) remains controversial, mainly because of difficulties in isolating dietary factors from the confounding influences of age, lifestyle, and genetic factors.


The aim of this study was to use a novel method to examine the relation between BMD and diet.


A co-twin control study design with linear regression modeling was used to test for associations between BMD and habitual intakes of calcium, vitamin D, protein, and alcohol plus 5 previously identified dietary patterns in postmenopausal women from the TwinsUK registry. This approach exploited the unique matching of twins to provide an estimate of an association that was not confounded by age, genetic background, or shared lifestyle.


In >2000 postmenopausal women (BMD data on 1019, 1218, and 1232 twin pairs at the hip neck, hip, and spine, respectively), we observed a positive association between alcohol intake (from wine but not from beer or spirits) and spine BMD (P = 0.01) and a negative association with a traditional 20th-century English diet at the hip neck (P = 0.01). Both associations remained borderline significant after adjustment for mean twin-pair intakes (P = 0.04 and P = 0.055, respectively). Other dietary patterns and intakes of calcium, vitamin D, and protein were unrelated to BMD.


Our results showed that diet has an independent but subtle effect on BMD; wine intake was positively associated with spine BMD, whereas a traditional (20th-century) English diet had a negative association with hip BMD.

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