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These 3 Drinks Can Affect Your Bones

  • Category: Bone Health
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Angela Roy, Bone Health Specialist
These 3 Drinks Can Affect Your Bones

The earlier you think about the condition of your bones, the better, and one of the best prevention methods is a healthy lifestyle. What you drink on a day-to-day basis can play a big part not only in your nutrition but also your bone health.


Drinking in excess – eight or more drinks per week for women and 15 or more for men – is problematic for your bones for a couple of reasons. First, it increases how much calcium is eliminated in your urine and disturbs vitamin D production, both important nutrients for strong bones.

Second, heavy alcohol use can impact hormones, mainly estrogen levels, which in turn can affect bone health. With less estrogen, the body is less able to produce new, healthy bone tissue. For this reason, women are typically at a higher risk osteoporosis 10-15 years after menopause.

Soft drinks

The phosphoric acid in soft drinks may interfere with calcium absorption, and studies have shown a correlation to low bone density and fractures in adolescent girls. While one adult study from Tufts University found that soda intake was associated with lower bone mineral density (BMD) in the hip in women, there isn't enough research to definitely say the phosphorus in the soft drinks is the real issue.

Perhaps the bigger thing to note is that when you drink a lot of soft drinks, you’re likely doing so in place of other, healthier drinks and foods, many of which may have nutrients that help strengthen the bones. Experts also continue to research whether the caffeine in soda could be at play in lower bone density, instead of the phosphoric acid/carbonation.

What about other carbonated beverages like sparkling water? The Tufts study found that non-soda carbonated drinks were not associated with lower BMD.

Sports drinks

Drinking sports drinks occasionally is ok, but it can become an issue when you drink them regularly because they are packed with sodium. Most have between 100-300 mg of sodium per serving, meaning a few 20-oz. sports drinks per day could easily add up to over 800 mg.

Studies show that sodium also increases how much calcium is passed through your urine, but there are conflicting studies on whether that higher calcium excretion results in lower bone mineral density. Research is ongoing in this area, including looking at the relationship of potassium intake and calcium absorption.

The average American eats more than 3,400 milligrams of sodium each day, way over the recommended 1,500 mg. So cutting back wherever you can makes a difference for various health concerns including blood pressure and your heart health.

Called a “silent disease,” many with osteoporosis won’t have any symptoms until a bone is broken. That’s why prevention and screening is so important. In general, bone density scans are recommended for those 65 or older. But, if you’re over 50 and have had a recent fracture, or have certain risk factors or concerns, consider having a scan earlier.

Take our Bone Health Center quiz to determine if you are at risk for osteoporosis.

Angela Roy, PA-C
Bone Health
Baton Rouge General Physicians - Bone Health Center
(225) 237-1810