LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM. The incidence of osteoporosis and hip fractures has more than doubled in many European countries over the last 50 years. Many scientists believe that the problem is caused by a lack of calcium and vitamin D. Researchers at the University of California now challenge this assumption. They believe that the growth in osteoporosis is caused by an over-acidic diet. They point out that the modern western diet contains lots of grains, cheese, bread, and meat which all produce acid in the body. In order to neutralize this acid overload the body, if necessary, pulls carbonates, phosphates, and ammonia out of the bones, eventually leaving them fragile and porous. The researchers point out that countries with a diet high in meat, cheese, and fish have 40 times as many hip fractures as some Asian countries where fruits and vegetables are the mainstay and cheese and meat are seldom eaten. A recent study involving American women found that those who ate the most acid-producing diet had four times as many hip fractures as those on the least acid-producing diets. Another study found that potassium bicarbonate is very effective in neutralizing the effects of high-acid diets. The researchers recommend that people go easy on cheese (very acid forming), meat and grains and instead increase their intake of fruits and vegetables. They also suggest that avoiding an acid-forming diet may actually be more important than ensuring an adequate calcium intake.
Fox, Douglas. Hard cheese. New Scientist, December 15, 2001, pp. 42-45