Lifting weights may make vegans’ bones stronger than those of other plant-based eaters

Vegans and omnivores who do resistance training may have similar bone structures.

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A plant-based lifestyle is a global trend. But, a new study found that people on a plant-based diet who do strength training as opposed to other forms of exercise such as biking or swimming may have stronger bones than those on a vegan diet.

Veganism is practiced by about 6% of Americans. According to recent studies, a plant-based diet may be linked to reduced bone mineral density and an increased risk of fracture.

Christian Muschitz, M.D., of St. Vincent Hospital Vienna and the Medical University of Vienna in Vienna, Austria, said, “Veganism is a global trend with strongly increasing numbers of people worldwide adhering to a purely plant-based diet. Our study showed resistance training offsets diminished bone structure in vegan people compared to omnivores.”

Scientists compared data from 43 men and women on a plant-based diet for at least five years and 45 men and women on an omnivore diet for at least five years. Omnivores eat meat as well as plant-based foods.

Vegan participants who did resistance training exercises such as using machines, free weights, or bodyweight resistance exercises at least once a week had stronger bones than those who did not. They also found vegans and omnivores who engaged in resistance training had similar bone structures.

Muschitz said“People who adhere to a vegan lifestyle should perform resistance training regularly to preserve bone strength.”

Journal Reference:

  1. Robert Wakolbinger-Habel et al. Self-reported resistance training is associated with better HR-pQCT derived bone microarchitecture in vegan people. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, dgac445. DOI: 10.1210/clinem/dgac445
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