In the study, 40 healthy women between the ages of 18 and 49 underwent bone biopsies and body composition measurements. The researchers then divided the women into three groups based on their abdominal fat. The group with the highest level of abdominal fat had a 64% lower bone formation rate and 30% less bone volume (density) than the women with lower levels of abdominal fat.
“It’s not clear whether it is something produced by the fat itself, or whether lifestyle or other factors that lead to higher abdominal fat could also be leading to decreased bone quality,” says author Adi Cohen, MD, MHS, assistant professor of clinical medicine at Columbia University. It's too soon to say whether weight loss or gain would have any effect on this process, Dr. Cohen cautions.
So what should women with excess abdominal fat do?
Increase Calcium Intake – Foods like yogurt, which is high in calcium and protein, not only decrease you risk for osteoporosis but can shrink your waistline too. Look for yogurt with a sugar to protein ratio of 1:1. You may need to buy plain yogurt and sweeten it with fresh fruit and a drizzle of honey. If dairy isn’t your friend, foods like broccoli, almonds, kale, white beans, and bok choy are all good sources of calcium.
Get Your Vitamin D – Vitamin D is not only important in calcium absorption, it also play an important role in weight management. In conjunction with leptin, a hunger hormone, Vitamin D helps to regulate hunger. Vitamin D rich foods include salmon, egg yolks, mackerel, and fortified dairy and soy products. You can also make your own Vitamin D by sitting outside in the sunlight.
Don’t Forget Magnesium – Magnesium is involved in over 300 biochemical processes in the body, including neutralizing corrosive acids to protect from bone loss. Sources of magnesium include green leafy vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and legumes – pretty much anything that contains dietary fiber also contains magnesium.