Are there good and bad drinks for my bone health?

Carbonated Sugary Drinks

Lots of carbonated sugary drinks can be bad for your bones. These drinks containing phosphoric acid which can be damaging if taken in excess. Our body needs some phosphorus for proper bone formation, but it needs to be taken in balance with calcium. If phosphorus intake is high this has been found to contribute to bone loss over time, especially when calcium intake is low. 

Phosphoric acid is added to carbonated sugary drinks to enhance their flavour. Too many of these drinks can cause decreased bone density so choose these drinks only occasionally.  


A high caffeine intake has been found to increase the amount of calcium lost in urine and in theory this may lead to loss of bone strength if enough calcium is not taken to replace it. Ground coffee contains more caffeine than instant coffee, and carbonated sugary drinks also contain caffeine. 

Although tea contains some caffeine it does not appear to have this effect on bones, maybe because it contains other substances such as flavonoids which might be slightly beneficial to bones and so counteract the effects of the caffeine. 

If your calcium intake is low or you already have other risk factors for osteoporosis, consider having no more than 2-3 cups of coffee a day, and bear in mind that strong coffee contains more caffeine. If you like drinking coffee, try to balance out any calcium losses by having milky coffee or increasing your calcium intake through other foods. Just a note on milky coffee – heating your milk for a latte or cappuccino won’t negatively affect the calcium levels in hot milk. Great, if you don’t like to drink a glass of cold milk on its own!


Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol appears to be a significant risk factor for osteoporosis and fractures. Alcohol appears to slow down the bone renewal process, can slow down healing after a fracture and can also cause unsteadiness leading to falls and fractures (broken bones). You should not exceed the recommended limit (men 17 standard drinks per week and women 11 standard drinks per week), and to spread these units over the course of at least 3 to 4 days and have some alcohol-free days.


IE-CH-976 | Date of Preparation July 2022