Potassium salts limit osteoporosis risk, new research finds
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.