Non-dairy or wheat free fad diets could be putting young women at risk of developing osteoporosis in later life, experts have warned. Research shows that nearly a third of women are so desperate to lose weight that they are cutting out entire food groups.
The warning comes just weeks after Gwyneth Paltrow revealed she is suffering from osteopenia, a thinning of the bones that can be a forerunner to osteoporosis.
The 37-year-old actress follows a strict diet that is low in cheese, milk butter and other dairy foods that are rich sources of bone-strengthening calcium.
A poll of the eating habits of 4,500 British women found that 30 per cent admitted to avoiding entire types of food when trying to slim for summer. Some 28 per cent of these said they give up cheese and, for 11 per cent, all dairy products are taken off the menu. More than four in ten (41 per cent) cut out bread, which, by law, is fortified with calcium.
More than a quarter of those surveyed (26 per cent) by supplement firm ellactiva said they only look at the fat and calorie content of food labels, ignoring all the other information about their nutritional content.
Failure to build strong bones by the age of 35 raises the risk of osteoporosis in later life. The condition affects three million Britons and is blamed for more than 230,000 broken bones a year, with wrists, spines and hips being most fragile.
The Food Standard Agency says adults should be able to get the 700mg of calcium a day they need from a varied or balanced diet. Good sources other than bread and dairy products include broccoli and cabbage, tofu and nuts. Sardines, pilchards, and other fish where we eat the bones are also rich in the mineral.
A spokesman for the National Osteoporosis Society said: "This latest research highlights the worrying implications that body image can have on bone health. Both calcium and fat play a role in building bone so fad diets that cut these out completely can be damaging.
"Theres a lot of pressure to be slim, but by trying to stay too thin, bone health can be compromised. "Low fat dairy products are available and many actually contain more calcium that the full fat varieties. For example, skimmed milk has more calcium than full fat."
A twin girl has become the youngest baby to be born prematurely and survive in Britain, it has been claimed
Amelia Hope Burden was born before the 24-week legal limit for abortion when her mother was just 23 weeks and two days pregnant, the Daily Mail reported. She was born weighing only 1 lb 2oz ten days before her brother Arthur arrived at 1 lb 4oz. He was born in July after Amanda Staplehurst had been pregnant for 24 weeks.
She went to hospital complaining of stomach cramps only to be told that she was in labour. Amelia Hope showed little sign of life but doctors were able to revive her. Under law they are not obliged to do so unless they feel it is in the childs best interest.
Miss Staplehurst, 30, from Bournemouth, told the Daily Mail: Doctors said she had just a 10 per cent of chance of survival and we never thought shed pull through. Then having delivered Amelia Hope, it was totally bizarre that for ten days I remained pregnant with Arthur. The doctors have told us theyve never come across a case like it.
The babies are being kept in incubators but are putting on weight and said to be developing well.
The twins survival will give weight to the campaign to have the abortion limit lowered. Some campaigners would like to see it reduced to 20 weeks. David Cameron, the Prime Minister, voted for a cut earlier this year and has said that an upper limit of 20 or 22 weeks would be sensible.
The previous British record for surviving premature twins was 24 weeks, the paper reported.