Are you on a strict diet? Do you also follow a grueling workout regime? Perhaps you would want to relax a tad bit. According to a latest study, combining exercise and dieting may not be a very good idea for your bone health. The study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research comes as a surprise for many.
"This is important for women because as we age our bone health starts to decline. Your calorie intake and exercise routine can have an impact on the strength of your bones and your risk for fracture," said senior author of the study Maya Styner, Associate Professor at University of North Carolina School of Medicine in the US.
For the study, researchers looked at what happens to bone marrow fat and overall bone health when one restricts calories. The animal study involved four groups of mice in all -- a group on a regular diet (RD), a group on a calorie-restricted (CR) diet, a regular diet group that exercised, and a calorie-restricted group that exercised.
Mice in the calorie-restricted group were served 30 per cent less food than what regular diet mice ate.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, a 'moderately active' woman around the age of 30 should consume 2,000 calories per day.
A 30 per cent reduction would equal a diet of 1,400 calories per day, which is around the amount suggested to most women trying to lose weight at a rate of one pound a week. Styner found that mice in the calorie-restricted group lost weight, but also had an increase in bone marrow fat. "This was mild caloric restriction, and we found a significant increase of fat in the bone marrow," Styner said.
"This group also had a decrease in bone quantity -- they had less bone overall due to cut in calories."
For the longest time, fat has been poorly understood in context of bone health. It is thought to be harmful to bones of mammals, including humans, because it makes bone weaker. Less fat is usually an indication of better bone health.
"Looking at this from a human perspective, even a lower calorie diet that's nutritionally sound can have negative effects on bone health, especially paired with exercise," said Styner.