Caloric Restriction-Induced Weight Loss Harms Bones

Weight loss through exercise has no deleterious effect on bone

THURSDAY, Dec. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Men and women who lose weight by reducing their caloric intake may lose bone mineral density, but people who shed pounds by exercising do not, according to the results of a study published in the Dec. 11/25 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Dennis T. Villareal, M.D., of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and colleagues studied the effects of weight loss on bone density in 48 adults. Participants who followed a calorie-restricted diet lost an average of 10.7 percent of their body weight after one year. Participants in the exercise group lost an average of 8.4 percent of their body weight, and participants in the control group who received information on healthy lifestyles upon request maintained their weight at one year.

Individuals in the caloric-restriction group also lost an average of 2.2 percent of their bone density in the lower spine, 2.2 percent at the hip and 2.1 percent at the top end of the femur. By contrast, there were no significant changes in bone mineral density in the exercise or control groups. Bone turnover increased in both weight-loss groups.

"These data suggest that exercise should be an important component of a weight-loss program to offset adverse effects of caloric restriction on bone," the authors conclude.

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