Who's guilty of reading the news and believing every word you read? As you may know by now, the way news media works is to create catchy headlines that get more clicks which sells more ads.
This study was of course widely shared by the mainstream media and the likes of Joe Rogan as evidence that the vegan diet creates weak bones (whenever epidemiology goes against vegan diets people love sharing it. When it’s in support of vegan diets, which is by & large most of it, it’s “weak science” - funny that).
In observational (epidemiology) trials such as this researchers have to adjust for confounding variables. In short, because unlike a controlled trial (where there is only one thing different between groups) the researchers have to perform a specific analysis so they can look at the effect of the variable in question (in this case the persons diet) without other variables (e.g BMI, calcium intake and vitamin d status) impacting the outcome (in this case fractures). An example that may make this easier to understand is smoking. When we look at large populations of people and want to see the independent impact of diet on heart disease risk it wouldn’t be fair if we compared vegans who didn’t smoke with meat eaters who smoked. We have to ‘adjust for smoking’ in our analysis to remove it as another variable as best as we can. This is where this new study on bone fractures becomes problematic, which is explained in the slides. ⠀
The bottom line is that this new study does not tell us that the vegan diet is inherently bad for bone health. Anyone who is lacking vitamin d, calcium, protein and of a low BMI will be at higher risk of bone fractures. Vegan or not, you want to avoid that.
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