Calorie restriction does not appear to induce bone loss in overweight adults

September 22, 2008

Young adults who follow a diet that is low in calories but nutritionally sound for six months appear to lose weight and fat without significant bone loss, according to a report in the September 22 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.

Calorie restriction is the only intervention known to decrease the rate of biological aging and increase longevity, according to background information in the article. However, it is well known that chronic energy deficiency impairs bone mineral uptake and that weight loss is associated with bone loss in obese individuals. Calorie restriction, therefore, could also lead to bone loss and fracture.

Leanne M. Redman, Ph.D., and colleagues at Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, La., studied 46 healthy, overweight men and women (average age 37) who were randomly assigned to one of four groups for six months. Eleven formed the control group, assigned to eat a healthy diet; 12 were assigned to consume 25 percent fewer calories than they expended per day; 12 were assigned to create a 25 percent energy deficit through eating fewer calories and exercising five days per week; and 11 ate a low-calorie diet (890 calories per day) until they achieved 15 percent weight loss, at which time they switched to a weight maintenance plan. All diets included recommended levels of vitamins and minerals, including calcium, and contained 30 percent fat, 15 percent protein and 55 percent carbohydrates, based on American Heart Association guidelines.

After six months, average body weight was reduced by 1 percent in the control group, 10.4 percent in the calorie restriction group, 10 percent in the calorie restriction plus exercise group and 13.9 percent in the low-calorie diet group.

Bone mineral density and blood markers of bone resorption and formation (processes by which bone is broken down and regenerated on a regular basis) were measured at the beginning of the study and again after six months. "Compared with the control group, none of the groups showed any change in bone mineral density for total body or hip," the authors write. Markers of bone resorption were increased in all three intervention groups, while markers of bone formation were decreased in the calorie restriction group but were unchanged in the low-calorie diet or calorie restriction plus exercise group.

"Our data do not support the notion that extreme weight loss (more than 10 percent) over short periods (three months) has a worse prognosis on bone health than gradual weight loss achieved over six months by moderate calorie restriction with or without aerobic exercise," the authors write. "We speculate that in young individuals undergoing calorie restriction, minor adjustments in bone occur as a normal physiological adaptation to the reduced body mass. Further studies of longer duration are warranted and should include an assessment of bone architecture to ensure that bone quality is preserved with weight loss."

Source: JAMA and Archives Journals

Explore further: Asthma medication may prevent loss of joint motion following injury

Related Stories

Asthma medication may prevent loss of joint motion following injury

October 27, 2017
One cold morning in January 2015, Jacqueline Burrus ran to catch a bus and slipped on the ice. She put her right arm out to break her fall, and in that instant her life was changed forever.

Steroid hormones could hold further clues about age-related bone loss

September 15, 2017
A group of steroid hormones could provide new insight into the bone loss and deterioration that occurs with aging, researchers at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University report.

Meta-analysis tests vitamin D supplementation for weight loss theory

April 21, 2014
A Curtin University study has cast doubt on claims vitamin D helps with fat loss after a meta-analysis of 12 high-quality vitamin D randomised control trials showed it had little impact on adiposity or obesity measures.

When considering bariatric surgery think about bones

November 2, 2012
Bariatric surgery, which significantly curtails the amount of food a person can eat, is the most effective treatment against obesity and is being recognized as a potentially valuable tool in the fight against diabetes related ...

Dieters should eat foods rich in protein, mostly from dairy, to protect bones during weight loss

November 30, 2011
New research suggests that a calorie-restricted diet higher in protein—mostly from dairy foods—and lower in carbohydrates coupled with daily exercise has a major positive impact on bone health in overweight and ...

Prolonged sleep disturbance can lead to lower bone formation

April 2, 2017
Insufficient sleep, a common problem that has been linked to chronic disease risk, might also be an unrecognized risk factor for bone loss. Results of a new study will be presented Saturday at the Endocrine Society's 99th ...

Recommended for you

New shoe makes running 4 percent easier, 2-hour marathon possible, study shows

November 17, 2017
Eleven days after Boulder-born Shalane Flanagan won the New York City Marathon in new state-of-the-art racing flats known as "4%s," University of Colorado Boulder researchers have published the study that inspired the shoes' ...

Vaping while pregnant could cause craniofacial birth defects, study shows

November 16, 2017
Using e-cigarettes during pregnancy could cause birth defects of the oral cavity and face, according to a recent Virginia Commonwealth University study.

Study: For older women, every movement matters

November 16, 2017
Folding your laundry or doing the dishes might not be the most enjoyable parts of your day. But simple activities like these may help prolong your life, according to the findings of a new study in older women led by the University ...

When vegetables are closer in price to chips, people eat healthier, study finds

November 16, 2017
When healthier food, like vegetables and dairy products, is pricier compared to unhealthy items, like salty snacks and sugary sweets, Americans are significantly less likely to have a high-quality diet, a new Drexel University ...

Children's exposure to secondhand smoke may be vastly underestimated by parents

November 15, 2017
Four out of 10 children in the US are exposed to secondhand smoke, according to the American Heart Association. A new Tel Aviv University study suggests that parents who smoke mistakenly rely on their own physical senses ...

Serious health risks associated with energy drinks

November 15, 2017
A new review of current scientific knowledge on energy drinks finds their advertised short-term benefits can be outweighed by serious health risks—which include risk-seeking behavior, mental health problems, increased blood ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.