Female Cola Drinkers Vulnerable to Bone Loss

Women who are prone to bone loss might consider discovering the wonders of ginger ale. A new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has found that regular cola consumption by women may lead to a loss of bone mineral density (BMD) in the hips and, ultimately, osteoporosis. The findings applied to cola, diet cola, and, to a slightly lesser extent, decaffeinated cola, but no correlation was found among other carbonated beverages. In addition, cola consumption was not found to have similar effects in men.

The culprit? Phosphoric acid, most likely. Yet, interestingly enough, the study found that “total phosphorus intake was not significantly higher in daily cola consumers than in nonconsumers; however, the calcium-to-phosphorus ratios were lower.” Those women at greatest risk were said to consume three or more cola drinks on a daily basis.

Lead researcher Katherine L. Tucker, PhD, of Boston’s Tufts University, told WebMD, “This association was strong, and it persisted even when we controlled for everything that we could think of that might influence risk, including calcium and vitamin D intake, fruit and vegetable consumption, and physical activity.” She also added that “physiologically, a diet low in calcium and high in phosphorus may promote bone loss, tipping the balance of bone remodeling toward calcium loss from the bone.”

An individual’s overall diet has a significant effect on bone density, and nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium are essential to promoting healthy bones. Still, researchers strongly urged older women who are at high risk of developing osteoporosis to limit their cola intake. Quite simply, according to Tucker, “The more cola that women drank, the lower their bone mineral density was.”

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