Metabolic changes to a hyperenergetic, high-fat diet happen fast and may produce alterations in bone metabolism. However, a rise in body mass is often the product of long-term adherence to a high-fat, high-energy diet. The resulting increase in mechanical load on the bone can elicit an osteogenic response. This can cause difficulties pinpointing dietary-related alterations in bone metabolism. Therefore, to understand the effects of a high-fat diet on bone health, it is imperative to observe the outcomes of a high energy diet on bone remodeling during the short term without substantial increases in body mass.
In a recent pilot study published in Nutrition (DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nut.2022.111589), researchers assessed how a high-fat, hyperenergetic diet affects bone formation and resorption markers after a seven-day intervention.
Participants included 12 healthy males with a mean age of 24, body mass of 76.8 kg, BMI of 24.1 kg/m2, and body fat of 13%. The participants were habitually active, self-reported weight stable, non-smokers, and had no pre-existing health conditions that could impact the results of the study.
Participants completed two, seven-day dietary interventions: one hyper-energetic and high-fat diet, and the other a control diet, administered three weeks apart. During the hyper-energetic and high-fat diet, participants consumed 150% of their estimated energy requirements from food prepared by the researchers. These meals provided around 20.9 MJ/day with a macronutrient breakdown of roughly 65% fat (365g/day), 20.7% carbohydrate, and 14.2% protein. In comparison, the control diet provided around 10.2 MJ/day with a macronutrient profile consisting of about 35.7% fat (102g/day), 45.3% carbohydrate, and 18.9% protein.
The results of the study linked the seven-day hyperenergetic high-fat diet with lower average concentrations of bone formation marker P1NP when compared to the control group. PN1P was 21% lower for the hyperenergetic high-fat diet trail compared to the control; however, there were no differences observed in bone resorption marker CTx. The researchers speculate that whether a high-fat diet has the potential to negatively affect bone resorption depends on if the increase in fat consumption is achieved by reducing the carbohydrate content of the diet.
The researchers conclude that “These findings suggest that the consumption of a hyperenergetic high-fat diet, even for a short period, might have a deleterious effect on bone formation.”