Sodas and High Heels and Bones, Oh My!

Katy Santiago Bowman by Katy Santiago Bowman | February 16th, 2012 | 2 Comments
topic: Health & Wellness, Healthy Eating

Sexy red patent stiletto high heels

I recently wrote a quick tip on Twitter about habits and bone generation.

“Here is an Osteoporosis Quick Tip: Ditch the heels and the diet soda if you want to generate bone.”

(Is it rude, or at least redundant, to quote yourself while blogging?)

Why no diet soda? The phosphoric acid content in diet (and less so in regular) soda quickly increases the body’s level of phosphoric acid, affecting the balance of calcium and phosphoric acid in the blood. In order to re-balance it, the body takes calcium from your bones. Not good! Of course, if you’ve got extra calcium laying around, then by all means, use it to metabolize your diet soda. (That’s a joke, by the way.)

Now, a quick note about high heels. Most of us understand that the skeleton needs to bear weight in order to generate bone. What does that mean? It means that the bones in the lower body need to bear the total weight of the body above. On the cellular level, the fluid inside the bone cells needs to be compressed or squeezed in order to receive the signal, “There’s weight here we need to support! Quick, make the bone dense. Put some calcium right here. No, right HERE! And there. And maybe over there.” It’s like rearranging your living room furniture. So, let us go back to the heels.

Let’s fetch a book. Better yet, find a book that’s thickness is equal to the height of your favorite heels. Now, slide that book underneath a bookshelf that is about your height. What you should see is a leaning bookshelf. The more narrow the book shelf, the greater “lean” you will see. If you had a bookshelf as narrow as your foot, the 1- or 2-inch (gasp!) heel would project the top of your bookshelf forward over 2 feet in distance. Your high-heeled bookshelf is now no longer “weight-bearing.”

When you’re wearing heels, you have all sorts of things you can do to off-set that forward pitch. You can bend your knees, you can flex the ankle, you can tuck your pelvis, you can arch your back. These things will all bring your body upright so that it looks “straight.” But no matter how you bend and flex, your bony skeleton is no longer stacked vertically. It is now a series of zig-zagging lines that reduce the quantity of compression on the bone cells. And what bone is built will be out of alignment with the rest of your frame. Osteoblasts are very sensitive to the direction and the rate at which they are being stimulated. If you want bone to generate, you have to load your skeleton very particularly and very “perpendicularly” to the floor.

So although those cute pumps or can of diet soda may seem harmless enough, the effect they can have on your bones is instantaneous and extensive.

Find our more about how to prevent osteoporosis on

Related research in original post at This excerpt republished with permission


  1. [...] High heels? Yep. Not only do they wreak havoc on your feet, hips and spine, these puppies can decrease your metabolism by reducing joint range of motion while walking. The number of calories burned throughout the day (your basal metabolic rate) is determined by the electrical activity of the muscles. The amount of flowing electricity depends on how flexible your muscles are. Heeled shoes cause a shorter stride (or is it the tight skirt … hmmm?), which means less action of the calves and hamstrings. [...]

  2. But they make you look sexy!

    Kermonk | August 30th, 2010 | Comment Permalink

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