Foods That Can Hurt Your Bone Health

Growing up, our parents always insisted that we drink a cup of milk every day for healthy bones because they knew bone growth was critical in childhood and early teenage years. Calcium and vitamin D are essential to bone health, but what we eat also determines how well we’re able to maintain bone health. It turns out, the foods we eat or don’t eat greatly influence bone health, and can either make bones healthier or weaker and even cause osteoporosis. Below is a list of foods that can hurt your bone health, and should be avoided or taken in moderation.

Salty Foods

Did you know that the more sodium you consume, the more your body loses calcium? Sodium causes calcium excretion, that’s why you need to regulate its intake. There’s a certain ratio of sodium to potassium that your body needs for the good health of your bones.

When there’s an imbalance, it may lead to gradual bone loss which could cause osteoporosis. Bone degeneration is caused by regularly consuming sodium-rich foods. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends that you limit your sodium intake to less than 2,300mg, which can be difficult considering how American diets like canned soups, fast foods, and bread are loaded with salt. To limit the intake of sodium-rich foods, avoid processed foods as much as you can. Additionally, avoid the salt shaker when eating.

Soft Drinks

Carbonated beverages have negative effects on bone health because of the high amounts of phosphoric acid contained in sodas and other soft drinks. The phosphoric acid in carbonated drinks increases the acidity level of blood in your body. To counter this reaction, the body responds by pulling out calcium, which in turn causes a reduction in bone mineral density and increases the risk of bone fractures.


Coffee lovers are at risk of developing weaker bones due to the caffeine in coffee. Other drinks that contain caffeine like tea and certain soft drinks have also this effect on the body. Too much caffeine in the blood decreases your body’s ability to absorb calcium, making your bones weaker. Research shows that for every 100mg of caffeine that enters your body, you lose about 6mg of calcium. To make matters worse, combining caffeinated drinks with sugary snacks and foods takes a heavy toll on your bone health, and increases the chances of fractures.

Sugary Foods and Snacks

Too much sugar intake causes low bone mass and puts you at greater risks of injury and osteoporosis in later years. While it might not be possible to give up sugar entirely, it’s advisable to opt for natural sugar and limit its consumptions as much as you can.


Beef live supplies nutritional benefits to our bodies, including vitamin A. vitamin A boosts eye health and immunity. It even helps to clear acne. However, too much intake of vitamin A has devastating effects on your bones. Eating too much beef liver could stimulate bone breakdown, hence its intake should be limited to less than an ounce. Even better, opt for a healthy chicken or lean meat recipe.

Spinach and Foods with Oxalates

Your body is incapable of absorbing calcium contained in spinach and other foods high in oxalates such as kale, beet greens, certain beans, and rhubarb. While they may have essential nutrients that your body needs, they should not be counted as sources of calcium. To enable calcium absorption when taking these greens, experts recommend adding foods that contain calcium that’s readily absorbed like cheese.

Iron-Rich Foods

Iron is an important mineral in the body. However, too much of it interferes with the body’s ability to absorb calcium, leading to bone loss. When consuming calcium-rich foods, avoid iron-rich foods to maximize calcium absorption.

High-Protein Foods

For the good health of your bones and overall health, protein plays an important role. If you don’t get enough proteins, especially in old age, your bones may become weaker. However, too much protein intake has negative effects on the body. This is especially true for animal protein where excess consumption has been shown to take calcium away from the bones, leaving them weak and more susceptible to fractures. Red meat is especially a risk if consumed excessively, and can lead to reduced bone density.


Soy products such as tofu, soy beverages, edamame, and tempeh are good sources of bone-building protein. However, they contain oxalates that hamper how your body absorbs calcium. When the oxalates in soy bind themselves to calcium, they make it unavailable for the body.
This effect is more pronounced when you consume a lot of soy without upping your calcium intake. So, it’s important to limit soy intake or ensure that your calcium intake meets the daily requirement.

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