Medical scientists have shown that the typical American high meat diet actually flushes calcium right out of the
body. An article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, June, 1974, points out that it has been known
for more than half a century (almost 70 years now) that
a high protein meat diet increases the amount of urinary calcium.
Bogert, Briggs and Calloway, writing in Nutrition and
Physical Fitness, explain that when too much meat and other high protein foods are eaten, sulfuric, phosphoric
and other acids are produced. The body seeks to
neutralize these excess acids by drawing on the alkali reserves—calcium and other alkaline or base-forming elements of the body. These also include magnesium,
zinc, boron and other minerals involved in the health of
the bones and teeth.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, March 1983 reported the results of the largest study of bone density in the U.S. Researchers at Michigan State and other major universities found that, by the age of 65:
o Male vegetarians had an average measurable bone
loss of 3%.
o Male meat-eaters had an average measurable bone loss of 7%.
o Female vegetarians had an average measurable bone
loss of 18%.
o Female meat-eaters had an average measurable
bone loss of 35%.
These and similar findings were confirmed and
reaffirmed in a report from the Third International
Congress on Vegetarian Nutrition, March 1997, held at
Loma Linda University. Researchers pointed out that the lower the dietary protein (especially animal protein) and
the lower the salt intake, the less dietary correction and
the more efficient the calcium in the diet becomes,
because on a low-protein, low salt diet less calcium is lost
in the urine compared to the loss on a high-meat, high salt diet. The excess sulfur amino acids in animal protein compromise calcium balance. For each hamburger eaten, approximately 23 milligrams of calcium are lost in the urine.
More confirmation is found in a report published in the Lancet, by several medical scientists, commenting on work sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Harvard University They called the association of meat-based diets with the increasing incidence of osteoporosis "inescapable." The more protein you use, the more calcium you lose and osteoporosis may be the result.
By Suzanne Sutton
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