Can Diet and Weight Loss Strengthen or Weaken Your Bones?

Heavier people have denser bones, or so scientists thought. Now a study suggests that having a spare tire may weaken your bones, even if you’re not overweight.


Researchers examined more than 8,800 CT scans of the abdomens and chests of roughly 7,200 men and women aged 18 to 65. Those with more deep belly (visceral) fat had lower bone density than those with less belly fat. That was true even among people who were normal weight.

People with more belly fat also had fattier, less dense hip muscles. That could mean that belly fat had infiltrated nearby muscle. But it’s also possible that being a couch potato leads to belly fat, fatty muscles, and weak bones.

What to do: Eat less and move more to lose (or not gain) belly fat.

Source: Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 2014. doi:10.3945/ajcn.113.081778.

Visceral Fat
People who had more visceral fat also had weaker bones and fattier muscle.

Other relevant links:

• Foods that create acids in the body lead to bone breakdown. See: How to Diet: Is Too Much Acid Bad for Your Bones?

• Here’s what one expert has to say about exercising to keep your bones strong. See: Exercise for Health: Does Exercise Help Bones?

• An earlier study on belly fat and bone density. See: Does More Belly Fat Mean Weaker Bones?

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