Dieting can be unkind to bones when calorie-conscious individuals choose weight-loss plans with little or no dairy products. A nutritional analysis commissioned by The Dannon Co. showed that, of 10 popular published diet plans, including those on The New York Times Best Sellers List, half are low in calcium and other critical nutrients. Jeanne Goldberg, director of the Center for Nutrition Communication, Tufts University, Medford, Mass., cautions women who follow calcium-poor diet plans for extensive periods of time that they unknowingly may jeopardize their long-term bone health.
Each year, an estimated 50,000,000 Americans -- many of whom are women -- will start a weight-loss diet. In doing so, many will place themselves at greater risk for osteoporosis since many popular diet regimens reinforce the myth that dairy foods are fattening. "Long-term use of very low-calcium weight-reducing diets can contribute to bone loss," notes Goldberg. She also found in a review of published studies that, when people were put on a variety of modified diets, including low-calorie weight-reduction regimes, their calcium intake declined as well.
The importance of these findings is heightened by the Dietary Reference Intakes proposed in 1997 by the National Academy of Sciences. …