Most of us fear osteoporosis and bone loss, yet how many Americans know its cause? Besides phosphoric acid (in most soda), high levels of sodium, excessive alcohol and caffeine, a leading contributor of bone loss is animal protein.
A study in the March issue of the British Journal of Nutrition found just that (click here to read the abstract for yourself).
In China, 757 girls with an average age of 10 years were randomly assigned to a group consuming cow's milk fortified with calcium, one consuming cow’s milk fortified with calcium and vitamin D, or a third group that served as controls and made no changes. Bone mass was measured at the beginning of the study and at 12, 24, 48, and 60 months. While calcium intake was positively associated with bone health, animal protein, especially from meat and eggs, was negatively associated with bone mineral density and content.
To quote the study, "It was concluded that higher protein intake, especially from animal foods, appeared to have a negative effect on bone mass accrual in Chinese pubertal girls with low (calcium) intakes."
Another reason why beans (and other legumes such as peas, lentils, nuts and seeds) are the best meat around: they've got calcium and many of the other nutrients needed for calcium's absorption/retention in the body, but the right kind of protein. They also have plenty of fiber, and we can all use more of that.