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Vegetarian Women More Likely To Suffer Hip Breaks Than Women With Other Diets

Veggies serve a valuable role in healthy eating, but new research suggests that women who eat strictly vegetarian diets suffer more hip fractures than those who also eat animal-based protein. Shocking? Maybe for PETA.

Stretching over a 22-year period, researchers followed the health and diet records of more than 26,000 women. The study participants self-identified as being regular meat eaters, occasional meat eaters, pescatarians (meaning people who eat fish but not meat), and vegetarians.

Over the roughly two decades, the vegetarians were a third more likely to break a hip than the women who regularly ate meat. In fact, the vegetarian group suffered the highest number of hip fractures, more than both the pescatarians and the occasional meat eaters.

Researchers wanted to create a data set, not only because hip fractures are common in elderly women, but also because aging populations are expanding globally thanks to longer lifespans. Since researchers can’t really quantify ‘clumsiness’ as a metric (up to 90% of hip fractures are linked to falls, after all), they needed to figure out a way to isolate other variables like bone brittleness in their study. The most logical way to have a conversation about bone brittleness is to use different diets as the main variable.

Vegetarian diets are made up primarily of greens, grains, fruits and nuts. This type of eating has been sold as healthier than meat diets, but that facade is beginning to fade.

Strict plant-based diets certainly have some benefits, but skeletal and muscular health may not be one of them. Researchers believe that vegetarians may not get enough nutrients and protein to provide good bone and muscle health — exhibited by the extra bone breaks in their samples.

The key takeaway is that people who choose to go meatless should make a concerted effort to keep a balanced diet; and they likely need to take extra care to supplement certain vitamins and minerals that they’re missing out on through food.

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