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Am J Clin Nutr. 1988 Sep;48(3 Suppl):837-41.

Vegetarian lifestyle and bone mineral density.

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Department of Home Economics, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, MI 49104.


The amount and type of dietary protein affect bone mineral loss after the menopause. This observation was substantiated in 10 y of studies by direct photon absorptiometry, four results of which follow. 1) Studies of 1600 women in southwestern Michigan revealed that those who had followed the lactoovovegetarian diet for at least 20 y had only 18% less bone mineral by age 80 whereas closely paired omnivores had 35% less bone mineral. 2) A study of self-selected weighed food intake showed no statistical difference in nutrient intakes but a difference in Ca:P ratio and acid-base formation of diet, each significant to p less than 0.001. 3) When sulfur intake of a fixed diet was increased, the titratable acidity of the urine increased proportionately. 4) Bone mineral densities of 304 older women from the continental United States closely paralleled those from earlier Michigan studies.

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