Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month advice for lactose intolerant, dieters on getting enough calcium

LAFAYETTE, Ind. — In honor of Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month, many organizations are reminding people to drink milk to prevent bone loss later in life. Unfortunately, there is little attention paid to those who want to prevent osteoporosis but are unable to incorporate an increased amount of dairy products into their daily diet due to lactose intolerance or other dietary considerations. Spine-health.com, a leading medical website devoted to back pain and other spine conditions, including osteoporosis, is offering hope and advice for that under served segment of the population.

“I’m lactose intolerant, but I’m also at an increased risk for osteoporotic fractures not only because I completely stopped consuming dairy at age 12, but also because of scoliosis because it causes uneven pressure on the vertebrae,” says Carolyn Shelby, a contributor to the Spine-health.com Blog. “All of the information I see in the media focuses on prevention through drinking more milk, and I just cannot drink milk… or eat most cheeses… or have ice cream. Even though I can’t consume dairy in the quantities I should, I still want to prevent bone loss and I want to avoid becoming C-shaped.”

In addition to people who are lactose intolerant, many dieters are choosing to cut back on dairy because it adds extra calories and fat to meals. Dieters, especially those who increase their intake of protein (specifically meat) to replace carbohydrates, are risking more than not consuming enough calcium; their high protein diet actually prevents the absorption of calcium, so what they do consume isn’t doing as much good as it could.

Spine-Health.com offers the following tips for people who want to prevent bone loss and osteoporosis, but are unable or unwilling to increase the amount of dairy products in their diet:

  1. Stop drinking soda or pop. High phosphate levels in the blood (which can be caused by consuming large quantities of pop) leach calcium from your bones and prevent the absorption of new calcium.
  2. Get enough Vitamin D. Calcium is absorbed by the body and used only when there is enough vitamin D in your system. A balanced diet should provide an adequate supply of vitamin D from sources such as eggs and liver. Sunlight also helps the body naturally absorb vitamin D, and with enough exposure to the sun, additional food sources may not be necessary.
  3. Eat your beans (baked). One cup of baked beans has 154mg calcium (remember the target is 1,200mgs/day).
  4. Canned Salmon. Three ounces of canned salmon contain 181mg calcium. Salmon also is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids.
  5. Calcium fortified foods. Many foods are now calcium-fortified. You can find calcium fortified soy milk, almond milk, rice milk, orange juice, cranberry juice, breakfast cereals, breakfast bars at almost every grocery store.
    • An 8oz glass of calcium-fortified orange juice provides about 300mg of calcium – which is about the same as a single serving of milk.
    • One cup of calcium fortified soy milk has nearly 300mgs of calcium and can be used over calcium fortified cereal — two great sources of calcium in one meal.
  6. Oatmeal isn’t just for breakfast. One cup of oatmeal not only provides 100–150mg of calcium, it is also a versatile add-in to many other foods and can be used to increase the calcium quotient in breakfast cereal, added to yogurt, or even mixed in with favorite baking recipes.
  7. Eat spinach, broccoli and dark green leafy vegetables. Kale, parsley, broccoli, spinach and other dark green leafy veggies each provide about 100mgs of calcium per serving. In addition to just making an effort to eat your greens, you can also try substituting raw spinach for iceberg lettuce on your sandwiches and in your salads.
  8. Eat Nuts. Almonds and brazils nuts contain about 100mgs of calcium per serving and are both recommended snacks for people on low carb diets.
  9. Drink your latte. A Starbucks Grande latte provides almost half the daily calcium needs. Lactose intolerant coffee lovers can have their lattes made w/ soy instead of cow milk.
  10. Take an Over-the-Counter Calcium Supplement. You can add a calcium supplement like Os-Cal® or even Tums® to your daily routine to make up the calcium gap. Word of caution… Just because a single Tums has 200mgs of calcium doesn’t mean you can take 5 a day to meet your RDA. It is ultimately and primarily an antacid, not a calcium supplement, and as such it can have a detrimental effect on your digestive system if taken long term.

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 October 2020