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Calcif Tissue Int. 1998 Jul;63(1):74-9.

Effects of high-fat diet on mature bone mineral content, structure, and mechanical properties.

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McCaig Centre for Joint Injury and Arthritis Research, Department of Surgery, University of Calgary, 3330 Hospital Drive NW Calgary, AB, T2N 4N1, Alberta, Canada.


Diets with a high saturated fat content can produce deleterious effects on the absorption of dietary calcium and consequently an adverse effect on bone mineralization in growing animals. Hence dietary fat may have long-term consequences for skeletal health and skeletal pathologies such as osteoporosis. Whether a diet high in saturated fat has similar negative effects on adult bone, however, remains unresolved. Thus, we investigated effects of a high-fat diet on mature bone structure and mechanics. Adult (40-week-old) roosters were maintained for 20 weeks on either a diet high in saturated fat (HF) or a low-fat (LF) diet. Cortical bone samples (tarsometatarsus) were tested mechanically in three-point bending, and cancellous bone cores from the femoral condyles and tibial plateau (four sites per knee) were tested mechanically in compression. Cortical bone cross-sectional areal data were also compared among the groups, and bone mineral content (BMC) was determined (by ashing) for both cortical bone and cancellous bone samples. There were no significant high-fat diet effects on mature cortical bone mechanical properties, geometric structure, or mineral content. Diet, however, did affect cancellous bone composition. For example, LF cancellous BMC was significantly greater than HF. Mechanical properties of the cancellous bone showed similar trends such that LF cancellous bone strength was consistently greater than HF. The potential for adverse effects of a HF diet on intestinal calcium absorption in the mature animal may be more apparent in cancellous bone, with its faster rate of turnover, than in cortical bone. Changes in cancellous bone structure and mechanical properties, related to dietary saturated fats, may have implications for understanding the role of nutrition in skeletal health and prevention of pathological bone loss (osteoporosis).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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