Potas­sium salts limit os­teo­poro­sis risk, new re­search finds

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Lat­est re­search from the Uni­ver­sity of Sur­rey has found that the potas­sium salts (bi­car­bon­ate and cit­rate) plen­ti­ful in fruit and veg­eta­bles play an im­por­tant part in im­prov­ing bone health. For the first time, the re­sults also showed that th­ese potas­sium salts re­duce bone re­sorp­tion, the process by which bone is bro­ken down, there­fore in­creas­ing their strength.

The study, pub­lished in the jour­nal Os­teo­poro­sis In­ter­na­tional, also re­vealed that high in­take of potas­sium salts sig­nif­i­cantly re­duces the ex­cre­tion of cal­cium and acid in urine.

“This means that ex­cess acid is neu­tral­ized and bone min­eral is pre­served,” said lead au­thor Dr He­len Lam­bert from the Uni­ver­sity of Sur­rey. “Ex­cess acid in the body, pro­duced as a re­sult of a typ­i­cal West­ern diet high in an­i­mal and ce­real pro­tein, causes bones to weaken and frac­ture. Our study shows that th­ese salts could pre­vent os­teo­poro­sis, as our re­sults showed a de­crease in bone re­sorp­tion.”

While bone re­sorp­tion and bone for­ma­tion is a nat­u­ral process, al­low­ing bones to grow, heal and adapt, in os­teo­poro­sis the bal­ance is shifted so that more bone is bro­ken down than is built up, lead­ing to fragility and frac­tures. This study shows that eat­ing more fruits and veg­eta­bles could be a way to im­prove the strength of our bones and pre­vent os­teo­poro­sis.

Lit­tle change in fast food calo­ries, salt in nearly 20 years

Av­er­age calo­rie count, sodium and sat­u­rated fat con­tent in fast food are as high to­day as in 1996, new US re­search has found.

Re­searchers at the US Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture (USDA) Hu­man Nu­tri­tion Re­search Cen­tre on Age­ing at Tufts Uni­ver­sity show lit­tle change in fast food por­tion sizes and prod­uct for­mu­la­tion be­tween 1996 and 2013. They an­a­lysed the calo­rie, sodium, sat­u­rated fat and trans fat con­tent of popular menu items served at three na­tional fast-food chains be­tween 1996 and 2013.

Re­searchers found that av­er­age calo­ries, sodium and sat­u­rated fat stayed rel­a­tively con­stant, al­beit at high lev­els. The ex­cep­tion was a con­sis­tent decline in the trans fat of fries.

“There is a per­cep­tion that restau­rants have sig­nif­i­cantly ex­panded their por­tion sizes over the years, but the fast food we as­sessed does not ap­pear to be part of that trend,” said Alice H Licht­en­stein, who led the re­search.

“Our anal­y­sis in­di­cates rel­a­tive con­sis­tency in the quan­ti­ties of calo­ries, sat­u­rated fat and sodium. How­ever, the vari­abil­ity among chains is con­sid­er­able and the lev­els are high for most of the in­di­vid­ual menu items as­sessed, par­tic­u­larly for items fre­quently sold to­gether as a meal, push­ing the lim­its of what we should be eat­ing to main­tain a healthy weight and sodium in­take,” said Licht­en­stein.

“For ex­am­ple, among the three chains, calo­ries in a large cheese­burger meal, with fries and a regular cola bev­er­age, ranged from 1,144 to 1,757 over the years and among restau­rants, rep­re­sent­ing 57 per cent to 88 per cent out of the ap­prox­i­mately 2,000 calo­ries most peo­ple should eat per day,” Licht­en­stein ex­plained.

Licht­en­stein and col­leagues fo­cused on the four most popular menu items: fries, cheese­burg­ers, grilled chicken sand­wiches and regular cola, look­ing for trends in por­tion size and nu­tri­ent con­tent over an 18year pe­riod. They ex­am­ined 27 items in­clud­ing small, medium and large fries and cola bev­er­ages, grilled chicken sand­wiches and cheese­burg­ers.

The re­search was pub­lished in the jour­nal

Pre­vent­ing Chronic Dis­ease.

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