Nancy Dell: Soda’s impact on bone loss; order of eating food affecting blood sugar

1. Does diet soda increase bone loss like regular soda does?
Letter from Westfield

Research at Tufts University indicates that cola based soda, regular or diet, may increase your risk of bone loss. The researchers studied several thousand people and controlled for their calcium and vitamin D intake. They found that women who drank 3 or more cola-based sodas a day had almost 4% lower bone density in the hip. However, women who drank non-cola soft drinks, like Sprite or Mountain Dew, didn’t appear to have lower bone density

The phosphoric acid in the soda may be to blame. We need phosphorus for healthy bone. But when you consume too much phosphorus compared to the amount of calcium you’re getting, your body pulls calcium out of the bone to balance off the excess phosphorus you have in your blood.

Another possible culprit is caffeine, which experts have long known can interfere with calcium absorption. In the Tufts study, both caffeinated and non-caffeinated colas were associated with lower bone density. But the caffeinated drinks appeared to do more damage.

More research is needed but regardless there is no health benefit to drinking soda. Try to substitute seltzer water with a splash of juice.

2. I am a type 2 diabetic. Does the order in which I eat my food affect my blood sugar?
Leo, Internet

Nine percent of the US population is diabetic. Common sense tells us the order in which you eat your food does matter and now a study in the journal Diabetes Care supports the idea.

Blood sugars are best when you eat protein and vegetables before eating your carbs. In the study participants fasted 12 hours then ate a meal of about 600 calories. One week, they ate the carbohydrates, ciabatta bread and orange juice, first. Then, they ate skinless grilled chicken, a small salad and buttered steamed broccoli 15 minutes later. The participants ate the same meal a week later, but the order of the foods was reversed with the carbs last. The researchers also took blood samples before the meals and at 3 intervals after the meals. When the participants ate vegetables and proteins first, their blood sugar levels were up to 37% lower. Experts say the protein and vegetables slow the absorption of the carbs. So if you want better blood sugars eat your protein and vegetable before your carb foods.

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