2003-11-14 / Community

Eye On Physical Therapy

Eye On Physical Therapy

Another dietary myth may be ready to die. Faulty dietary advice has a way of staying with us for years and years despite scientific evidence to the contrary. Old wives tales, rumor and fear guide us in our decision making for ourselves and children. Of course, those willing to sell us products to correct nutritional imbalances are always willing to enter the fray with misinformation to profit at the expense of our fear.

For years, one could hear mothers and teachers scold children for drinking too much soda. Even health care professionals talked about how too much phosphorous and caffeine, found in soda, retarded bone acquisition and could speed bone loss. Of course the general population bought into because if it tastes great it must be bad for us.

In the September issue of the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, Drs. Lorraine Fitzpatrick and Robert Heaney report that there is little evidence to show that the alleged culprits in soft drinks- caffeine, phosphorous, sugar- retard bone acquisition or speed bone loss. "Each has in turn been more or less completely exonerated" say Fitzpatrick and Heaney. They cite a rich body of evidence to support their argument.

Caffeine and sugar do increase calcium loss in urine, but the kidneys compensate by reducing renal calcium clearance (how much is excreted). In regards to phosphorous, they report "there is as much phosphorous in orange juice (~ 5mg/oz) as in cola" and most of the calcium fortified orange juices (which add tricalcium phosphate) -have up to five times more phosphorous than soda.

Most of the evidence to date that show decreased bone mineral density in adolescents has focused on how much soda is consumed. Fitzpatrick and Heaney say that the problem with kids’ bones isn’t soda but it’s that soda can displace milk and other calcium rich foods in kid’s diets. "Thus, the good news is that you can have soda and good bones too, so long as you drink your milk," suggest Fitzpatrick and Heaney.

Have a happy, healthy and safe Thanksgiving.


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