Saturday, November 15, 2008

Do you drink a Coke a day?

For those of you who have not met my mother-in-law (MIL), I have to introduce her briefly. This woman is a fantastic role model of women's health self-education. She runs, loves yoga and pilates, swimming, takes vitamins and herbs daily, looks into homeopathic remedies before reaching for a prescription drug, researches natural vs. synthetic hormones, and always reads the labels on the foods she eats and the drugs she takes. She loves her compounding pharmacist and drives all the way from Pennsylvania to Virginia to see doctors that best fit her style. She is a very spunky 51-year-old and I love hearing what drives her crazy.

Tuesday, my dear mother-in-law found out she has osteoporosis. I was stunned. She does everything right. Her doctor asked if she had any idea what might be going on. I asked the same question. What could it be, stress?

She nodded...she did have an idea. She loves her Coke and has at least one a day and has for years. She had read that the phosphoric acid in colas may be linked to bone density loss. As Coke was still one of her very few vices, she had not thought as hard about the few articles that had come across her path. But now she is thinking hard about the Coke.

Your first thought might be "well, sure, if people drink soda instead of milk then they do not get enough calcium every day." The Osteoporosis Advisor says:
While previous studies have suggested that cola contributes to bone mineral density loss because it replaces milk in the diet, Tucker determined that women in the study who consumed higher amounts of cola did not have a lower intake of milk than women who consumed fewer colas. However, the authors did conclude that calcium intake from all sources, including non-dairy sources such as dark leafy greens or beans, was lower for women who drank the most cola. On average, women consumed 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day, and men consumed 800 milligrams per day, both lower than the daily recommended 1,200 daily milligrams for adults over age 50.
That certainly fits my MIL--she takes multivitamins as well as drinks calcium-fortified orange juice. Maybe that wasn't enough. As of Tuesday, she is now supposed to take 4,000 mg of calcium per day.

As one of my goals for this blog is to connect and educate women about their health I thought I should let readers out there know what I just learned this week. Also from The Osteoporosis Advisor:
The message from experts is clear that overall nutritional choices can affect bone health, but "there is no concrete evidence that an occasional cola will harm the bones," says Tucker. "However, women concerned about osteoporosis may want to steer away from frequent consumption of cola until further studies are conducted."
As I learn more about this cola-osteoporosis correlation, I will let you know. You can bet my MIL is tackling the research this weekend and will be familiar with every published study on the topic by Thanksgiving.

My guess is that we will be offered milk or orange juice with the Tofurky.

1 comment:

Naticia said...

I don't know much about coke, but I do know that in order to digest animal proteins calcium is used. I may be showing my ignorance, but my understanding is that osteoperosis is known as "a rich mans disease"--this is yet another check mark for consuming a more vegetarian diet than is advertised/recommended by the FDA (how much are they lobbied to by the Meat/Dairy industry?)