Meat Alternatives Associated with Lower Hip Fracture Risk in AHS-2
Today was a good day: As longtime readers of this blog will know, I love getting good news about my “bad” habits.
A study came out that fits in well with past findings, is well-written, and supports my proclivity to eat and recommend soy meats!
It was a report from Adventist Health Study-2 (AHS-2), conducted among caucasian Seventh-day Adventists living in the USA, comparing the intakes of many different foods and hip fracture risk after 5 years of follow-up (1).
First, there was a bit of bad news in that vegans had the highest rates of hip fracture at 3.0 per 1,000 person-years compared to 2.0 for non-vegan vegetarians (including semi-vegetarians) and 1.6 for non-vegetarians. The paper didn’t report whether this finding was statistically significant, but it was not a great trend, obviously. Read on for how to reduce your chances.
Here are findings from the fully adjusted model (2):
– Meat alternatives once a day or more (compared to less than once per week) were associated with a 66% reduced risk of hip fracture in the vegetarians (.34, .12-.95).
– Eating legumes once a day or more (compared to less than once per week) was associated with an 82% reduced risk in non-vegetarians (.18, .06-.54) and an 55% reduced risk in vegetarians (.45, .22-.94).
– Meat more than 3 times per week was associated with a 45% reduced risk in the non-vegetarians (.55, .36-.83), compared to less than once per week.
– Dairy, nuts, soy milk, and “tofu & soy cheese” were not associated with a lower risk. The average amount of tofu & soy cheese per day was only .1 among the vegetarians. They did drink close to a cup of soymilk per day (or “soya milk” as the authors, who apparently think they live in Europe, call it).
The authors emphasize the need for vegans to eat legumes in order to get enough of the essential amino acid lysine:
“[A]n individual who adheres to a vegan diet, which excludes meat and dairy products, will need at least two cups of cooked beans [per day] to meet the recommended lysine intake requirement…Lysine and hydroxylysine are the main amino acids in the cross-linking process of bone collagen…Lysine can also influence bone health through its end product carnitine. Carnitine supplements have been shown to improve bone density in some animal and human studies.”
Note that the requirement for 2 cups of cooked beans assumes no other lysine sources in the diet, which isn’t the case. You can can read more on lysine needs and how to meet them in Protein.
They go on to say:
“Among our participants, intake of meat analogues of at least one serving daily reduced the risk of hip fracture by up to 49%…The main protein ingredients in meat analogues are soya, wheat, gluten, eggs and milk. A typical serving of meat analogues (1 serving ~73 g in AHS-2) contains at least 10 g of protein, but can vary from 9 to 18 g.”
Or 30 g as Tofurky Italian sausage has!
They point out that their finding for meat being protective is backed up by other research but not all. After a brief analysis of the research they suggest that meat intake is associated with bone health when protein intakes are low. And, finally:
“Protein is recognized for its ability to improve [calcium] balance, suppress parathyroid hormone, increase lean body mass and increase production of the bone growth regulator insulin-like growth factor-1.”
This study had something for everyone – low-fat proponents can relish in the findings for legumes and meat alternative eaters can smugly continue in their bad habits!
I have not yet updated the VeganHealth.org article, Calcium and Vitamin D, with this new study yet, but hope to do so in the next few days.
1. . Lousuebsakul-Matthews V, Thorpe DL, Knutsen R, Beeson WL, Fraser GE, Knutsen SF. Legumes and meat analogues consumption are associated with hip fracture risk independently of meat intake among Caucasian men and women: the Adventist Health Study-2. Public Health Nutr. 2013 Oct 8:1-11. [Epub ahead of print] | link
2. *Adjusted for fruits and vegetables intake, age, height, weight, gender, energy intake, physical activity, smoking, health status and total calcium intake.