Vegan diet leads to less dense bones
Vegans have lower bone densities than non-vegans, say Australian researchers.
But the news isn't all bad, with the study finding an animal-free diet doesn't translate into more fractures.
The findings, published today in the American Journal of Nutrition American Journal of Nutrition
, came out of a review of previous studies that included more than 2500 individuals.
Research has shown that low bone density, a predictor for osteoporosis, increases the risk of bone fracture.
Epidemiologist and lead author Dr Tuan Nguyen, of Sydney's Garvan Institute of Medical Research Garvan Institute of Medical Research
, says there are four main factors that influence bone density; genetics, hormones, exercise and nutrition.
He expected vegans, those who avoid eating animal products, would have lower bone density and therefore a higher risk of bone fracture.
The study found that on average vegans had a bone mass density 5% lower than non-vegans.
But Nguyen says the study found vegans were no more likely to be treated for bone fractures than non-vegans.
This is probably because vegans tend to be more health conscious, he says.
"If you look at vegetarians as a whole they are certainly healthier, they tend to live longer and have lower risk of hypertension and heart disease."
And there are other factors that may override the influence bone density has on fracture risk such as hormone deficiencies, smoking and lifestyle, says Nguyen.