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Are Bone Broth Diets a Good Idea?

Anna Hoychuk/

Honestly, is a health trend or superfood even real these days if it doesn’t get transformed into a full-blown diet or cleanse? (Still waiting for the dark chocolate diet, TBH.)

Americans really love to take a health fad and run with it, and a perfect example is bone broth. Yes, you likely already heard about all the health benefits of bone broth when it was a “thing” a few years ago, but ICYMI, the trend has escalated all the way with the bone broth diet. (One diet plan that will stand the test of time? This totally-reasonable 30-day clean eating challenge.)

Is the bone broth diet as ridiculous as it sounds, and is it worth a try? Let’s discuss.

What is bone broth?

“Bone broth is made by cooking the bones of meat, poultry, or fish on low temperatures for an extended period of time so that they release collagen, a building block protein found in bones, muscles, skin, and tendons,” explains Holly Niles, a licensed integrative nutritionist in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

Your body’s natural production of collagen—which builds your bones and repairs your skin cells—can decline with age, so consuming bone broth can help make the nutrient more available for your body to use, says Niles. (TBH, experts are torn on whether you can gain the skin-firming, joint-strengthening benefits of collagen by ingesting it—whether it’s via bone broth or a collagen supplement—but some initial research shows that it may help with skin elasticity and joint paint.)

Specifically, it offers gelatin (a form of collagen protein found in joints and connective tissues) and the amino acids glycine and glutamine (which supports the structural integrity of the gut), says dietitian Isabel Smith, M.S., R.D.N. Plus, bone broth contains the minerals calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, which are especially important if you’re active.

What is the bone broth diet?

The idea of a full-blown bone broth diet plan first popped up with the 2015 book Bone Broth Diet by naturopathic doctor Kellyann Petrucci, M.S., N.D. Since then, various forms of Petrucci’s diet protocol have made waves across the internet.

The original 21-day bone broth diet plan Petrucci created doesn’t involve only consuming bone broth. It combines five days of low-carb, paleo-style eating (goodbye grains and dairy!) with two days of modified fasting (in which you consume bone broth and limited—or zero—food).

The goal: to rebalance your diet and health by cutting out potentially-problematic grains, sugars, and processed foods, while loading up on nutritious whole foods and bone broth and reaping the benefits of intermittent fasting, according to Petrucci’s website.

What are the potential benefits of the bone broth diet?

In her book, Petrucci claims the bone broth diet promotes weight loss, more youthful-looking skin, improved gut health, and reduced inflammation. (Related: 15 Anti-Inflammatory Foods You Should Be Eating Regularly)

But, is this too good to be true? If you ask Niles and Elena Villanueva, D.C., a holistic doctor and founder of Modern Holistic Health, these claims may not be that far off.

First of all, Petrucci’s bone broth diet is paleo-inspired, meaning you focus on whole foods—like vegetables and nuts—and eliminate preservatives, chemicals, and added sugar, says Villanueva. For many people, this whole-food approach means they take in more vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, which can support gut, skin, and immune health, she explains. Plus, cutting carbs (which this diet ultimately does) may promote greater fat loss than other types of diets, says Villanueva.

And about those two days of bone broth ‘fasting’ each week: Various forms of fasting (including calorie restriction and intermittent fasting) might help support autophagy, which is the process through which the body clears out old cells and produces new cells, says Niles.

Because fasting also denies the body of carbohydrates to use as fuel, it can also “put the body in a more of ketogenic state, in which it uses fat for fuel,” says Niles. Often, the fatty fuel used is your own body fat, contributing to your fat-burning ability over time.

What are the potential downsides of the bone broth diet?

That’s not to say you should drop everything and consider bone broth your only major food group.

For many people, drastically cutting carbs (which is the case in the bone broth diet, unless you already eat low-carb), can contribute to a slew of issues, like “headaches, fatigue, bad breath, and weakness,” says Villanueva. (Hellooo, keto flu!)

Though the keto trend has many people giving carbs the side-eye, they are your body’s primary source of energy, says dietitian Bonnie Taub-Dix, M.A., R.D.N., author of Read It Before You Eat It. Healthy carbs help you do everything from think clearly throughout the day to work out hard.

Because this eating style is restrictive, you could potentially miss out on certain nutrients—like the vitamins, minerals, and fiber in legumes or whole grains, says Villanueva. Though people with sensitivities may want to avoid dairy and whole grains, there’s no reason the average person should cut out these nutrient-rich food groups, says Taub-Dix.

And, it goes without saying that a diet rooted in drinking lots of bone broth is also a no-go for vegetarians and vegans.

You also need to factor in the fasting days; despite intermittent fasting’s recent popularity, reducing calories—or abstaining from eating altogether—can make some people feel dizzy or sick, says Villanueva. Plus, “more often than not, restricting when, or how much, you eat also causes you to overeat later on,” Taub-Dix adds. (It can also be an issue if you’re planning to work out. Here’s more on the risks of intermittent fasting.)

The restrictive and fasted nature of the bone broth diet not only does this diminish your ability to tune into (and listen to) your hunger and satiety cues and eat intuitively, but it also puts anyone with a history of disordered eating in a dangerous position, says Taub-Dix. For these reasons, Niles recommends pregnant or breastfeeding women—and anyone with a history of eating disorders—avoid fasting altogether. (Also read: Why You Should Give Up On Restrictive Dieting Once and for All)

The Bottom Line on the Bone Broth Diet

As is true with any trendy eating style, check in with your doctor before trying a bone broth diet—especially because it involves significantly reducing calories or fasting altogether, advises Niles.

Both Niles and Villanueva agree that—if you get the green light from your doc—the bone broth diet can be a helpful short-term (emphasis on ‘short-term’) approach to cleaning up your nutrition, jump-starting weight loss, and improving your health.

Taub-Dix, however, is far from sold. “Sure, eating more vegetables and cutting back on highly-processed foods is great, but long-term success is rooted in balance, and this diet certainly isn’t balanced.” Smith, too, believes balance is the key to sustainable healthy eating—and recommends sticking to something more general, like the ’80-20 rule’ in which you stick to your healthy eating principles ~80 percent of the time and enjoy your favorite eats the other ~20.

Niles also agrees that sticking to more general guidelines (and keeping a mindset of moderation) works best long-term. Her recommendations:

  • Avoid simple carbohydrates, processed foods, and sugar.
  • Avoid sugar-free and artificially-sweetened foods.
  • Eat at least four cups of a rainbow variety of veggies per day.
  • Drink at least eight glasses of purified water per day.
  • Incorporate plenty of fiber-rich foods, like chia and flax seeds.

And remember that you don’t have to follow a bone broth diet plan to nourish your body with broth! Niles recommends adding a serving to your diet two or three times per week. Try using broth as a base for warming soups in the winter, in a bone broth smoothie bowl, to add both flavor and nutrition when cooking quinoa and couscous, to sauté vegetables, or drink it straight. (You can even sip it when you’re hungover.)

  • By Lauren Del Turco

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After 30 days of doing Dr. Kellyann Petrucci’s Bone Broth Diet, I am here to reveal my results.

At the ripe, still young, age of 35, I gave birth to my second child, a beautiful baby girl.

I knew that I might have a harder time losing the baby weight the second time around because I was 15 pounds heavier from the start of this pregnancy versus my first.

From the get-go, this pregnancy was much harder. The nausea lasted well into my second trimester, and I found myself struggling because I felt like I was walking around with concrete shoes on all day.

The bigger I got, the slower I was able to get up off of the floor while playing with my son.

I had a nagging pain in my right hip that continually got worse the further on I got.

However, I AM ETERNALLY GRATEFUL TO MY BODY for allowing me to give birth to the most precious sweet girl.

Fast-forward to giving birth, I started breastfeeding immediately, and it was so much easier for me the second time around.

The first month after giving birth, I lost 20 pounds! I had gained 45 while pregnant, so I was almost halfway there.

I knew that breastfeeding was really helping me with the post-partum healing and weight loss.

But then… I couldn’t lose a single pound for over two months.

I could tell that my body was getting awfully comfortable at 40 pounds overweight. I knew if I didn’t do something, I was going to be at this weight for a long time.

Plus, that damn hip pain had actually gotten worse.

Click this affiliate link to buy the book ↓

I have been a licensed massage therapist for 15 years, so I know how much even an extra 5-10 pounds can really wreak havoc on your joints, your blood circulation, and your general overall sense of well-being.

But the idea of having to do a weight loss program while caring for a newborn and a 3-year-old seemed beyond impossible.

I already like to eat, but breastfeeding requires you to eat 500 MORE calories a day than normal. Personally, it makes me feel like I’m feeding a pack of RAVENOUS lions!

And… OMG, the sheer exhaustion of caring for and feeding a baby 24 hours a day leaves me with no energy left to even fathom exercise.

But I knew I had to do something.

HOW I STARTED THE BONE BROTH DIET

Having done the bone broth diet before and having semi-regularly been drinking bone broth, I started the bone broth diet randomly one morning on a whim.

I was actually feeling good that day, and I thought, “What the hell, let’s just try it for a few days and see how I feel.”

I knew the foods that I could and couldn’t eat, plus I already had a batch of really great bone broth in the fridge (check for resources below), so it didn’t overwhelm me to get started.

My husband and I had already been doing Green Chef organic meal delivery service for three meals a week, and half of your plate is vegetables, so I could omit any carbs (if any) from my meal and my husband could still eat the same thing.

I was just going to have to buckle down and stay away from grains, corn, any kind of starchy flours, sugar, and dairy, in favor of eating lots of veggies, fruit, protein, and nutrient-rich bone broth. So no big deal, right? 🙂

Most importantly, I had to make sure I was eating enough fat, protein, and calories to ensure my breastmilk had all the nutrients in it that my baby needed.

HOW I HAD TO ALTER THE BONE BROTH DIET WHILE BREASTFEEDING

The Bone Broth Diet has you following a low-carb diet that allows fruit, but doesn’t allow dairy.

One of the biggest differences with this plan is the inclusion of drinking rich and nourishing bone broth that has been slow-simmered from chicken, beef, or fish bones over 12-24 hours.

Not only do you drink joint-healing, anti-inflammatory “liquid gold” as it’s called, you also do bone broth fasting days 1-2 times per week, whereby you drink 5-6 cups of rich bone broth to allow for deep healing in your joints, digestive system, and to help blast off more pounds and inches.

Obviously, I couldn’t do the bone broth fasting days, so I just followed the eating plan and drank bone broth every day.

AM I CHEATING AT ALL ON THIS PLAN?

Because my ultimate goal is to lose 40 pounds to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight before I had my first child, I’m giving myself a “fun meal” every once in a while, but I’m still not going overboard.

Foods I enjoy once in a while:

  • Dark chocolate…because chocolate
  • Corn or flour tortillas with tacos and chips and salsa…because tacos and Mexican food
  • Some Paleo desserts, grain-free and sweetened with coconut sugar, maple syrup, or honey
  • A bite of something off of my husband’s plate…I’m sure he doesn’t mind 🙂
  • A little bit of cheese here and there

MY BONE BROTH DIET RESULTS

The plan is for 21 days, or until you reach your health and weight goals. Since I have 40 pounds to lose, I’m in this for the long-haul.

I extended the first part of the plan to 30 days since I wasn’t doing the fasting.

So, how much weight did I lose?

Drumroll please… 8 pounds exactly!

8 pounds in 30 days with little to no exercise (except for holding a baby all day!) and having to eat plenty of food to make sure I could feed myself and my baby is NOT BAD AT ALL!

I tried to take before and after photos wearing the same clothes, my hair in the same style, and I kept the lighting the same throughout so you could really see the difference.

I think it was just as helpful for me to see the changes because sometimes it’s hard to recognize just how far you’ve come.

my results after 120 days

After 120 days (in the summer of 2018) I’m down 20 pounds. It’s taken me longer to get the weight off because I’ll stick to the plan, then take a break for at least a couple of weeks, then I’ll get back on the program.

Taking breaks allows me to find ways to stabilize my weight without having huge gains if I’m enjoying carbs here and there throughout the week. Luckily, I’ve found some really awesome habits that have helped me maintain my weight loss.

I’ll add another before and after photo when I reach my goal weight.

More bone broth benefits

Another benefit that Dr. Kellyann asserts is that bone broth contains amino acids, collagen, and joint-healing nutrition which reduces pain and inflammation and also makes your hair skin and nails look amazing. I didn’t have nails at the beginning of the diet. But three weeks later and all of a sudden I noticed…

MY NAILS HAD GROWN LIKE CRAZY AND BECAME SO STRONG!

This is an outward manifestation of what’s going on internally. I was not taking any other B vitamins while doing the bone broth diet.

My nails growing and getting stronger are evidence that both myself and my baby were getting lots of great nutrients.

I had to trim my nails right after taking this photo because I was worried about accidentally scratching my sweet baby girl!

MY BONE BROTH DIET REVIEW

Being able to be successful on a weight loss plan really gives you the motivation to keep going. I realize there are so many weight loss programs out there all with different benefits.

The thing that keeps me coming back to this program is, you guessed it, bone broth.

As far as I’m concerned, drinking rich bone broth is equivalent to taking a cabinet full of high-quality vitamins and supplements.

What I spend on buying high-quality bone broth and collagen products, I more than makeup for by not having to buy multiple supplements.

I will be updating this post with more before/after photos as my weight continues to drop.

CAN YOU BENEFIT FROM JUST DRINKING BONE BROTH ALONE?

ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY, YES!

Even if you don’t want to follow the eating plan, I have personally experienced drinking bone broth daily or several times a week brings deep healing to my joints, reduces pain and inflammation, and leave me feeling better overall.

After all, I’ve been drinking bone broth on and off for two years now without following any strict eating plan.

You can read all about my original post about the Bone Broth Diet here.

RESOURCES FOR THE HIGHEST QUALITY BONE BROTH

For two years I have been drinking Kettle & Fire bone broth, and I have found it to be second-to-none in terms of the quality, clean flavor, and amount of collagen.

Making truly nutritious collagen-rich bone broth is quite the process. It can be extremely difficult to find the right kind of bones (even from butchers) that contain a good amount of collagen in them.

It takes 12-24 hours to slowly simmer the bones to extract the collagen. One batch won’t last you very long either.

This is why I opt to buy my bone broth because if I don’t, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy it daily.

But the cartons of “bone broth” in the stores just won’t cut it. There simply isn’t enough collagen in the mass-market brands.

The only carton of chicken and beef bone broth I recommend is Kettle & Fire. Here’s why:

  1. Both their chicken and beef bone broth is made from organically-raised chickens and cows. They use only grass-fed organic bones from American farms and source organic vegetables.
  2. Kettle & Fire uses eco-friendly packaging and doesn’t ship with styrofoam.
  3. They package their broth in cartons, which is much cheaper to ship. The broth is packaged in an aseptic environment in a vacuum, which means no germs or contaminants can get in.
  4. They simmer their bone broth low and slow to ensure a collagen-rich broth.
  5. Their chicken and beef bone broth has a super clean flavor and can easily be enjoyed by itself, but it also wonderful when used as a soup base.
  6. Kettle & Fire has launched new pre-made bone broth soup flavors for an easy meal on-the-go.
  7. If you order 6 or more cartons, you get FREE shipping, yeah!

Click the photo below to purchase Kettle & Fire. Use Coupon code BESSIEBAKES15 for 15% off your first order.

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ANOTHER GREAT BRAND OF BONE BROTH

If you have a Sprouts Market near you, chances are they carry some great frozen organic chicken and beef bone broth called Bona Fide Provisions Organic Chicken and Beef Bone Broth. It tastes great and has a good amount of collagen in it.

DO I NEED TO BUY THE BONE BROTH DIET BOOK?

YES! I get a lot of questions from readers wanting to know all the details about the diet without having to buy Dr. Kellyann Petrucci’s book.

First off, there is a lot of information about the science behind the diet and bone broth that you need to read to better understand the methodology inside her book.

Secondly, out of respect for the years of studying the effects of this diet on her own patients and the amount of work that went into creating this book, I wouldn’t be doing her book justice to give you all the cliff notes.

I own a copy of the book that I read on the Kindle App on my iPad.

Trust me, just buy the book!

CLICK THE BOOK BELOW TO PURCHASE

Dr. Kellyann’s Bone Broth Cookbook ⇓

I own a hard copy of this book and I really think it’s invaluable to the plan. There are tons of recipes for the 21-day plan, plus more healthy recipes when you are in the maintenance phase.

Obviously, keeping the weight off can be the hardest part, so I highly recommend this book too before starting the plan!

Click the picture below to purchase on Amazon ⇓

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  • My honest reviews of bone broth products on the market
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  • check How to reset your weight after a 2-5 pound gain without depriving yourself

FOOD JOURNAL TO ENSURE YOUR SUCCESS ON THE DIET & BEYOND!

The ONE THING I felt was missing from the plan was a personal food journal to write my daily foods, water, and exercise intake on, as well as my daily weight and how I feel each day to help me keep track of my progress.

Certain foods and activities may be helping you to lose weight, while others may trigger pain, inflammation, etc. Writing these details down each day will help you remember what is helping you and what may be hurting you while on the diet and on the maintenance phase.

I designed and created this Food Journal for myself and my readers to ensure our success!

PLUS, buy this downloadable book once, and print off more copies of the daily food journal grids for as many months as you want! I just ask that you don’t send this to anyone, rather send them a link to this post so they can purchase a copy themselves.

Purchase a copy of my Food Journal | Be Well, Be Nourished

I want to hear from you!

Are you about to embark on The Bone Broth Diet? What questions do you have about this plan?

What (if any) additional resources do you need to be successful and reach your health and wellness goals?

Let’s be supportive of one another and please share your comments and questions below!

Bon Appetit Ya’ll,

Leslie Osborne

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The bone broth diet is a popular eating plan that combines the principles of intermittent fasting and the Paleo diet while also allowing you to take advantage of the benefits of bone broth. Fans of the diet claim that it’s incredibly effective and can bring big benefits in terms of weight loss, skin health and even joint function without having to meticulously measure calories or macronutrients like many other eating plans. So what exactly is the bone broth diet, and how can it impact your health? Here’s what you need to know.

What Is a Bone Broth Diet?

The bone broth diet plan is a meal plan that involves cycling between following a Paleo diet five days per week and fasting for two days weekly over a period of 21 days. The 21-day bone broth diet plan was first made popular by Dr. Kellyann Petrucci, a nutritionist who wrote several bone broth diet book resources, such as “Dr. Kellaynn’s Bone Broth Diet.”

It involves eating one to three servings of bone broth per day each day, alongside a diet rich in whole, unprocessed foods for five days per week. During these days, grains, gluten, soy, dairy and sugar should also be restricted. Two days per week, you should fast and consume only bone broth for all of your snacks and meals throughout the day.

Proponents of the plan claim that the bone broth diet results in quick weight loss, better skin, improved gut health and decreased inflammation. Let’s take a look at a few of the potential ways that the diet can enhance overall health.

Bone Broth Diet Benefits

  1. Supports Weight Loss
  2. Decreases Inflammation
  3. Promotes Gut Health
  4. May Improve Joint Function
  5. Keeps Skin Healthy

1. Supports Weight Loss

Many people use the bone broth diet for weight loss, and for good reason. In fact, there are plenty of bone broth diet reviews out there claiming that it can help shed stubborn pounds and jump-start weight loss within a matter of days. So how does bone broth help you lose weight? The diet plan swaps out processed foods and unhealthy ingredients for nutritious whole foods while also bumping up your intake of protein, which has been shown to reduce appetite and caloric intake to support weight loss. It also involves the practice of intermittent fasting, which can decrease levels of specific hormones responsible for controlling hunger while also improving overall body composition.

2. Decreases Inflammation

Although acute inflammation is an important process used by the immune system to protect against invaders and ward off infection, sustaining high levels of inflammation long term is thought to be at the root of chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes and cancer. The bone broth diet may help decrease inflammation, which can be especially beneficial for those suffering from autoimmune conditions, such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and rheumatoid arthritis. It works by pairing bone broth — an ingredient that contains anti-inflammatory compounds like collagen — with intermittent fasting, a practice that has been linked to decrease markers of inflammation as well.

3. Promotes Gut Health

Thanks to its anti-inflammatory effects, the bone broth diet can help support gut health and protect against leaky gut syndrome. Leaky gut syndrome is a condition caused by changes in the permeability of the intestinal lining, which allows particles and toxins to pass from the digestive system to the blood, resulting in inflammation. Studies show that collagen, one of the main compounds found in bone broth, helps strengthen the lining of the gut, which could potentially aid in the prevention of leaky gut.

4. May Improve Joint Function

If you suffer from chronic joint pain, swelling or stiffness, adding bone broth to your routine may be beneficial. This is because it’s a great source of collagen, which helps restore cartilage and keep the joints healthy. According to a study published in Current Medical Research and Opinion, supplementing with collagen was found to be effective at decreasing activity-related joint pain in athletes within just six months.

5. Keeps Skin Healthy

Bone broth is great for slowing the signs of aging to keep skin healthy and hydrated. In fact, studies show that the collagen found in bone broth could improve skin elasticity and moisture in older women. Although more research is needed, some also report improvements in cellulite and stretch marks thanks to the beneficial effects of bone broth and collagen on connective tissue cells.

Who Should Follow a Bone Broth Diet?

For most healthy adults, the bone broth soup diet is safe and associated with minimal adverse side effects. It may be especially useful for those looking to boost weight loss, improve joint function, support healthy digestion and decrease inflammation. To determine if the diet is right for you, try following a seven-day bone broth diet plan to see how you feel. There are plenty of bone broth diet tips and resources out there that can help ease the transition and maximize its potential effectiveness.

However, the bone broth diet may not be right for everyone. Women who are pregnant and nursing, for example, should not follow the bone broth diet and should instead focus on consuming a well-rounded, nutrient-rich diet. Those with underlying health conditions like diabetes or kidney disease should also consult with their doctors before considering the bone broth diet to prevent adverse effects on health.

How to Follow a Bone Broth Diet

The bone broth diet involves following a healthy diet five days per week and consuming only bone broth twice per week, similar to intermittent fasting. The diet should be followed for 21 days in total, with six days of bone broth fasting and 15 days of eating over the course of the entire plan. Fasting days should be separated by at least one regular day of eating in between.

During the days that you do eat, you should consume one to three cups of bone broth per day as snacks and limit ingredients such as sugar, dairy, soy, grains, gluten and processed foods. On fasting days, stick to one cup of bone broth for each meal and snack, plus unlimited liquids such as water or herbal tea.

Here is a sample bone broth diet meal plan for both an eating day and bone broth fasting day to help get you started:

Sample Eating Day:

  • Breakfast: Eggs Benedict
  • Snack: 1 cup bone broth
  • Lunch: Vegetable Beef Barley Soup with side salad
  • Snack: 1 cup bone broth
  • Dinner: Blackened Salmon with Creamy Avocado Dressing and roasted broccoli

Sample Bone Broth Fasting Day:

  • Breakfast: 1 cup bone broth
  • Snack: 1 cup bone broth
  • Lunch: 1 cup bone broth
  • Snack: 1 cup bone broth
  • Dinner: 1 cup bone broth

Bone Broth Diet Recipes

What can you eat on the bone broth diet? Although the diet involves fasting two days per week, enjoying a variety of nutritious, healthy foods during the days that you do eat is just as important to ensuring success. Fortunately, there are plenty of bone broth diet recipe ideas out there, making it easy to fill your week with delicious meals on the days that you do eat. Need some inspiration? Here are a few bone broth diet recipes to help get you started:

  • Moo Shu Chicken Lettuce Wraps
  • Grain-Free Apple Crisp
  • Cauliflower Steak with Italian Seasoning
  • Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
  • Paleo Protein Pancakes

Precautions

While the bone broth cleanse diet can be beneficial for many, there are several bone broth diet problems that also need to be considered. In particular, those with underlying health conditions, such as diabetes and kidney disease, should talk to their doctors before making any dietary changes. The bone broth diet is also not recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, as well as those following a vegan or vegetarian diet. Also note that the diet is intended to be a short-term plan and should not be followed for long periods of time.

Additionally, keep in mind that not all bone broth is created equal, and it’s important to select a high-quality supplement to make sure you get the most bang for your buck. So what is the best bone broth to buy if you are on the bone broth diet? Be sure to purchase a product from a reputable retailer and select a supplement that is free of fillers, artificial sweeteners and chemicals. Alternatively, you can try making your own bone broth at home using a simple slow cooker recipe. This puts you in full control of what’s going on your plate to help maximize the potential health benefits of the bone broth diet.

Read Next: Bone Broth for Dogs & Other Pets: Top 5 Benefits & How to Make Your Own

What do you eat on the bone broth diet?

“Bone broth is a traditional food that involves the slow simmering of bones and veggies for an extended period of time, making it a rich source of collagen, gelatin, and amino acids and minerals,” says Samantha Presicci, MCN, RD, LD, CPT, who is the lead registered dietician at Snap Kitchen. The 21-day plan popularized by Dr. Petrucci involves eating Paleo five days a week (which means eating animal protein, fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats while avoiding grains, dairy, sugar, and artificial sweeteners, processed foods, and legumes) and then fasting with bone broth the other two days. On the days that you eat Paleo you replace your snacks with bone broth; on the fasting days, you replace all meals with bone broth. If you need a little inspiration, start with these 12 Paleo diet foods that are nutritional powerhouses.

How does the bone broth diet promote weight loss?

“I like the bone broth diet for a few reasons,” says DeLuise. “Bone broth is high in protein, collagen, and minerals, which can support healthy tissues, satiety, and gut healing. Plus, while eating Paleo, you’re removing the majority of potential foods that could cause bloating or weight gain, such as dairy, wheat, and beans.” By sipping on bone broth between meals, she says dieters may feel less of an urge to grab a processed, sugar-laden snack. And since it’s mostly water, it’s an easy and delicious way to hydrate the body. All of these properties work together to help lower overall calorie intake. Finally, the fasting days with bone broth align with many beliefs of fasting and intermittent fasting for wellness, which have been associated with weight loss and improving insulin resistance.

What kind of weight loss can people expect?

Everyone is different, so there is no set amount. “It’s possible someone could probably lose between five to ten pounds in 21 days, with much of that being water weight,” says Presicci, “but I definitely do not recommend or encourage attempting quick weight loss. Since this diet is only meant for 21 days, people may treat it as a crash diet and miss the opportunity to use it as a reset for gut, hormone, and overall health.” And while you’re at it, consider adding a few of these 13 best supplements and vitamins for weight loss into your new routine.

Do the experts recommend the bone broth diet for weight loss?

Yes…and no. Dr. Yang says it’s low in calories, which increases your ability to burn excess calories and lose weight, while the high protein content (about 8 to 10 grams of protein per 8 ounces) also helps build muscle and makes your body feel fuller for longer. “The longer an individual feels full, the lower their food cravings will be throughout the day,” he says. “Less food equals less calorie intake. If an individual combines the diet with exercise three to four times a week, they will have a recipe for weight-loss success.”

Conversely, Rachel Fine, RD, owner of To The Pointe Nutrition, says that the bone broth diet is a “dangerously restrictive diet” and calls it “an unhealthy, short-term fix for weight loss, which will further result in the vulnerability to increased weight gain later on.” She goes on to say that the long-term negative effects of a restricted diet outweigh potential short-term benefits because restricting carbs causes the body to release specific hormones to counter the restriction, promoting increased cravings. Essentially, it could backfire.

What are the additional benefits beyond weight loss?

“There are numerous benefits to eating a paleo diet and drinking bone broth, including decreased inflammation, better sleep, improved skin health, normal blood sugars, improved gut health, and more,” says Presicci. “The key with both of these approaches is to be consistent—it won’t help to follow a plan for 21 days if you’re not planning to continue those habits long-term. The benefits of Paleo and of bone broth are only going to be seen if both habits are practiced consistently.” If you aren’t familiar with the importance of a healthy gut, read up on these 15 gut health research breakthroughs that could change everything.

Are there any risks to this diet?

Given the disparity of opinions between registered dietitians regarding the bone broth diet, it’s wise to check with your personal dietitian or health practitioner to figure out if it’s a good fit for you—particularly if you are on medication, suffer from hypoglycemia, or are pregnant or breastfeeding. “Especially for someone new to healthy eating, I’d recommend avoiding the fasting days and instead incorporating bone broth into their day of eating,” advises Presicci. “Bone broth can help decrease water retention and inflammation, even if you don’t change much else in your diet.” If you’re determined to try fasting, start the process with this intermittent fasting guide.

Are there any alternatives if you don’t want to commit to 21 days?

If you’re unsure about jumping headfirst into a three-week program, perhaps a one-week plan might be more palatable. Meredith Cochran, who has a degree in cellular molecular biology and a background in traditional Chinese medicine, and is co-founder and CEO of The Osso Good Co., wrote the book The 7-Day Bone Broth Diet Plan. Her version is all about rebooting your gut and setting you on a path to a better-feeling you with healthier eating habits. “The main idea of this diet is simple: Consume two servings of bone broth per day, plus whole foods as needed to improve your path to better gut health,” she explains. “This means eating only pastured and grass-fed proteins, good saturated fats, like avocado, coconut oil, and ghee, and organic vegetables. Avoid processed foods, alcohol, dairy, grains, and sugar because they cause inflammation in your gut. Bone broth is naturally anti-inflammatory and improves digestion, allowing your gut to do a mini reset.”

Where do you find bone broth?

You can easily make it in your own kitchen or buy store-bought versions. If making at home, Presicci says to choose pasture-raised bones and filtered water for your recipe. If you buy bone broth from the store, make sure you’re buying bone broth and not stock. Bone broth has been slow cooked for 24+ hours, leaching important nutrients from the bones, whereas stock is cooked for a lot less time and as a result, it has less collagen and gelatin.

Are all bone broths created equal?

As with most food products, there’s a big difference in quality between brands and packaging methods. Perishable bone broth, which requires refrigeration, has a shelf life of around one week or can be frozen for 6 to 12 months. If made the right way, perishable bone broth is thick and gelatinous with a Jello-like consistency when cold.” On the flip side, shelf-stable broth may seem more convenient, but the health benefits are diminished. When you shake them, you’ll notice a watery texture, unlike the thick and gelatinous texture that’s characteristic of a perishable bone broth when cold. “To make a shelf-stable bone broth, it must be heated to a very high temperature,” she continues. “This high temperature, even for a few seconds, often destroys the fragile gelatin, leaving behind a liquid similar to the texture of water.” So what you gain in portability and shelf life you may lose in health benefit. The bone broth diet isn’t for everyone, but there are other ways to incorporate broth and its benefits into your diet. If you’re not interested in bone broth at all, these 21 Whole30 snacks you’ll actually want to eat might help add nutrients to your diet and aid in weight loss, too.

(Diet Review) Bone Broth: Healer or Hoax?

Posted in Blog Posts, Diet Reviews.

Bone broth is one of those food trends that I’ve never really understood. Want to spend $9 on a cup of broth? Go right ahead, but before you spend that sort of money, you should really ask yourself what you expect will happen by eating what’s basically a clear soup.

There are so many claims associated with bone broth, and I seriously had to contain my bullshit-o-meter when I went on the internet to find a bit more about it. From weight loss to detoxification to smoothing wrinkles, bone broth seems like the miracle we’ve all been waiting for! But is it? At $12 a quart, we should probably take a look.

When I was a new dietitian, we used to put people on clear liquid diets after surgery because they were easy to digest. These diets were super low in calories – a cup of broth has something like 10 calories. So naturally, when I heard about people eating bone broth for a meal, I wondered how the hell they were actually getting through the next four hours without gnawing their arms off. Turns out, bone broth isn’t made like your typical broth. Bone broth is simmered for a lot longer, allowing more nutrients to leach out of the bones it’s made of. So, bone broth is higher in calories and in nutrients than your typical canned broth (YUCK).

There’s no real recipe for bone broth – people use chicken bones, beef bones, grassfed bones, whatever bones they can get their hands on (and apparently, there’s now a bone price war thanks to this trend). Different bones are going to yield different broths with different nutrient profiles, in particular because everyone is making it differently. So that’s important to know if you’re expecting some consistency with contents.

Is bone broth the ‘nourishing, healing, and restorative’ drink we’ve all been waiting for? Pffft.

The Claims:

The glucosamine and collagen in bone broth are good for your joints, skin, and hair, and can ‘rebuild bones’:

Collagen is a protein, and like every other protein, it’s made up of a string of amino acids.

When you consume any sort of protein, those amino acid chains are basically hacked into individual amino acids by the body, and sent to wherever they’re needed. Your body doesn’t distinguish the proteins from collagen versus those from chicken or any other protein source. This means that when you consume collagen, it doesn’t remain intact and magically directed to your hair and wrinkly skin to fix them. There’s no evidence at all that shows that consuming collagen in any form has a significant effect on skin or hair, and it certainly can’t ‘rebuild bones’. My orthopaedic surgeon father is up in heaven right now, laughing his head off about that one.

It’s like that old myth that eating gelatin gives you stronger nails. We all know that’s BS.

Glucosamine is much the same. It’s taken by a lot of people as a supplement to help with osteoarthritis, but there’s evidence to show that it has only a minor effect.

As Sol Orwell, the founder of examine.com, puts it:

If you increase a car’s efficiency from 40mpg to 42mpg, you can accurately say that its efficiency has improved. But is it really notable?

That is the crux of glucosamine – it helps with osteoarthritis, but not by much. So if you go in knowing that, you should be okay.

Dark green and orange vegetables, berries, fish, citrus, eggs, nuts, and garlic are among the collagen-boosting foods that you’re hopefully already eating…and when you take too much collagen, the excess is excreted in your urine. So as with many things in life, more isn’t better.

Our diets are lacking in certain nutrients that bone broth contains. So, consuming bone broth helps fill in those gaps

I’m a bit confused. What could our diets be lacking that broth can make up for? Maybe proline and glycine, which are amino acids that are readily available in the proteins we eat. But this being true, neither of those amino acids is in fact considered ‘essential’, meaning our bodies make them without dietary protein. So even if you never ate either one again, they can still be synthesized by your body. Isn’t nature wonderful?

Minerals such phosphorous, magnesium, calcium, and sodium, all seem to be mentioned repeatedly as being plentiful in bone broth . But because of different ingredients/cooking methods, the amounts of those nutrients can vary widely in different broths. According to this analysis, the only vitamins/minerals that bone broth is truly high in seems to be manganese, B6, and vitamin C. Those things are readily available in other foods, so I’m not sure what the above claim is really referring to.

The gelatin in bone broth helps seal up leaky intestines

The term ‘leaky gut’ seems to be abused by certain healthcare practitioners, but it may indeed exist. Mainstream medicine seems to acknowledge the condition associated with certain diseases, but none of the alternative ‘cures’ that are touted all over the internet have any scientific evidence. Sure, drinking gelatin won’t hurt you, but I seriously doubt it’s going to seal up leaky intestines – especially since intestinal permeability appears to be mediated by a protein called Zonulin, which likely isn’t affected by gelatin. Chalk one up for wishful thinking by many, many celiacs.

Bone broth is healing

Just like chicken soup may be anti-inflammatory, bone broth – when made with chicken bones, that is – may have the same properties. But it sure isn’t the ‘magical’ (yes, someone who sells bone broth did make that proclamation about it, because of course he did) cure-all that it’s being heralded as.

Drinking Bone Broth – Is it Beneficial or Just a Fad?

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Sign up for our free newsletterBy Conor Kerley, PhD August 31, 2018 — Updated January 2nd, 2019

Bone broth is prepared by boiling the bones and connective tissues of various animals in water with the addition of herbs, spices and sometimes small amounts of vegetables.

Broth, including bone broth, is typically used either as a base for soups and stews or as a palate cleanser or beverage. Many kinds of broths are used for flavor but proponents of bone broth suggest that it provides multiple, wide-ranging, and ever growing health benefits such as aiding digestive issues, boosting the immune system, and much more. Bone broth is often recommended as part of the gut and psychology syndrome (GAPS) diet for various ailments such as autism and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and as part of the paleolithic or paleo diet.

Is Bone Broth Good for You?

The purported health benefits are ascribed to the contents of the broth that are leached from the boiled bones, including collagen, bone marrow, amino acids, and minerals. These components are extracted through long, slow cooking and sometimes by adding acids such as vinegar or wine, which can help loosen and dissolve tougher bits.

There is no evidence of an advantage to consuming these amino acids and minerals from bone broth as opposed to other foods.

Bone broth does contain collagen and bone marrow but the claim that consuming these will directly benefit human bones and joints is unfounded. When humans consume collagen, it will be broken down to individual amino acids, minerals, etc. These amino acids and minerals may then act like any amino acid or mineral consumed, but there is no evidence of an advantage to consuming amino acids and minerals from bone broth as opposed to other foods.

Research About Bone Broth

Despite its popularity and the numerous medicinal claims, there is very little scientific research regarding bone broth. I searched the scientific literature and could only find a few studies that were relevant. The earliest study available is from 1934 and published in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood. The research was conducted by Elsie Widdowson (British dietitian) and Professor Robert McCance (Northern Irish pediatrician) who together made numerous early, vital contributions to the field of nutrition science. This research analyzed the nutritional composition of either bone broth or bone and vegetable broth. It was found that bone broth was a poor source of many nutrients yet the addition of vegetables increased the content of several important nutrients including potassium, calcium, magnesium, and iron.

There is a tradition of eating chicken soup, often made using bones, when sick with an infection. Similar to bone broth, there is little research regarding chicken soup and infection. However, a 1978 study found that chicken soup was better than cold or hot water at moving nasal mucus. A subsequent small study conducted by researchers from Nebraska Medical Center and published in a leading medical journal in 2000 (Chest) found that “chicken soup may contain a number of substances with beneficial medicinal activity.” The researchers observed that people eating chicken soup seemed to experience a mild reduction in inflammation that helped reduce symptoms of respiratory infection. However, the actual chicken soup used in this study contained a large proportion of vegetables (onion, sweet potato, parsnip, turnip, carrot, celery, parsley).

The idea that because bone broth or stock contains collagen it somehow translates to collagen in the human body is nonsensical.

In January 2016, TIME magazine ran an article titled: “Science Can’t Explain Why Everyone is Drinking Bone Broth.” This article included excerpts from interviews with respected scientists. William Percy, an associate professor at the University of South Dakota’s Sanford School of Medicine, states, “Since we don’t absorb collagen whole, the idea that eating collagen somehow promotes bone growth is just wishful thinking. The idea that because bone broth or stock contains collagen it somehow translates to collagen in the human body is nonsensical. Collagen is actually a pretty poor source of amino acids.” Further, Dr. Kantha Shelke food scientist and spokesperson for the Institute of Food Technologists, and a principal with the food science and research firm Corvus Blue LLC says, “Eating a diet rich in leafy green vegetables is ideal. Plants offer richer sources in collagen building blocks and, in addition, provide nutrients not found in sufficient quantities in meats or broth.”

Is Bone Broth Harmful?

We can see there is a lack of research regarding bone broth, and the available research is not ground breaking. However, bone broth may have some potentially dangerous contents. Bones are known to store heavy metals, particularly lead. When bone broth is prepared, lead may be released. In 2013, UK scientists conducted a small study looking at the lead content of bone broth made from chicken bones. The broth contained over 10 times more lead than the water alone. Interestingly, the chicken bones in this study were derived from organic animals and the skin and cartilage contributed the highest amount of lead. Similar to the 1934 study, a 2017 study published in the journal Food and Nutrition Research reported that bone broth was a poor source of calcium and magnesium. In contrast to the 2013 study, this more recent study also reported that the lead and cadmium content of bone broth was low. However, the nutritional content and the health effect of bone broth would logically be majorly influenced by both the core ingredients as well as the preparation. Therefore, broad claims about all bone broth are likely to be misleading.

In short, the best we can say from the limited research available is that traditional bone broth appears to be a poor source of nutrients and may in fact contain harmful components. A more healthful alternative appears to be made with the addition of vegetables and the subtraction of the bone…in other words: vegetable soup!

Bone broth has become popular. You may have seen the countless blogs and media outlets touting its many presumed health benefits.

Marketing for bone broth claims it’s a high-protein comfort food for on-the-go lifestyles. It’s also considered a magical elixir that can cure leaky gut — and help with all manners of ailments from arthritis to a weak immune system.

Restaurants now serve bone broth, food delivery services offer it, and lifestyle celebrities and athletes endorse it. You can even find a bone broth to-go chain in New York City and a line of bone broth made especially for dogs and cats.

But what’s the truth about bone broth? Is it the magical elixir it’s claiming to be?

What Is Bone Broth?

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Bone broth is a broth made by boiling the roasted bones and the connective tissue of animals for a long time.

The long cooking time — ranging from eight to over 24 hours — draws gelatin and minerals, including calcium and phosphorus, out of the bones and into the broth.

Some recipes may use apple cider vinegar or red wine, which help extract nutrients. And sometimes it will include vegetables, such as carrots, onions, and celery. Once cooked, the liquid is strained, the solid parts discarded, and the remaining broth seasoned.

Why Is Bone Broth So Popular?

Bone broth advocates say it can relieve joint pain and osteoarthritis, detoxify the liver, aid in wound healing, prevent aging skin, support digestive health, balance hormones, increase energy, strengthen bones, improve quality of sleep, alleviate symptoms from certain autoimmune conditions, and boost immune function.

Praised for providing all these health benefits, bone broth also provides enormous profits.

The retail sales of shelf-stable bone broth products increased from $5.83 million in 2016 to $17.54 million in 2017. According to a report by Global Market Insights, Inc., analysts predict the global bone broth market will surpass $2.8 billion by 2024. Also, one of the foremost bone broth advocates, Dr. Josh Axe, recently raised $103 million from investors to expand his own bone broth business.

What Does the Research Say About Potential Bone Broth Benefits?

There’s a growing interest in bone broth due to the long list of purported benefits. But what does the science say? Does bone broth measure up to these claims?

Claim #1: It’s a Nutritional Goldmine

Bone broth gets a lot of attention for its “unique” nutritional profile. People praise it for being a low calorie, high-protein food, and providing minerals, such as calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium.

The earliest study to mention bone broth is from 1937, which looked at the nutritional value of bone and vegetable broths. Both were common ways of nourishing infants at the time. The researchers concluded that while neither was a very good source of nutrition, the broths that provided the highest mineral content contained the most vegetables.

Far more recently, in 2017, a study in the journal Food and Nutrition Research analyzed bone broth and found that it was not an especially good source of calcium or magnesium.

While marketers tout bone broth for its mineral content, it seems the vegetables used in the cooking process — not the bones — may provide many of the helpful nutrients.

An average cup of bone broth contains zero to 19 mg of calcium and six to nine grams of protein. But when you compare it to some other sources of these nutrients, the protein content isn’t terribly impressive:

  • Collard greens: 1 cup = 150 mg calcium
  • Navy beans (boiled): 1 cup = 126 mg calcium
  • Baked beans: 1 cup = 14 grams protein
  • Unsweetened soymilk (Edensoy): 1 cup = 12 grams protein
  • Peanut butter: 2 tablespoons = 7 grams protein

So yes, bone broth does provide some calcium and protein. But so do many, many other foods.

A cup of cooked kale contains ten times as much calcium as a cup of bone broth. A cup of baked beans contains nearly twice as much protein as a cup of bone broth. And most Americans may be getting too much protein (at least from animal sources), anyway.

Claim #2: It Will Strengthen Bones, Relieve Achy Joints, and Keep Skin Youthful

Collagen is the main protein in your body. It protects your organs, joints, and tendons; holds together bones and muscles, and maintains the lining of your gut. Plastic surgeons like it because it promotes skin elasticity.

Your body makes its own collagen, but as you age, you won’t make quite as much of it. So, much of the marketing says that, because bone broth contains collagen, it will help your body make more collagen.

Unfortunately, there is no evidence that eating collagen is directly helpful to your body. Many experts agree that because your body doesn’t absorb collagen in its whole form, the idea that eating collagen helps bone growth isn’t borne out in reality. Your body breaks collagen down into amino acids. So in the end, it’s just another form of protein.

You’ve probably seen collagen supplements sold for skin health. Some research suggests that collagen supplements may help to reduce visible signs of aging — like wrinkles and cellulite — but the collagen in supplements is hydrolyzed, or broken down to make it more usable for the body. The collagen in bone broth is not hydrolyzed and does not have the same effects in the body.

If you want to help your body build collagen, the best way is to eat a diet rich in leafy green vegetables because plants offer rich sources of the phytonutrients your body needs to make collagen.

These phytonutrients in plants include:

  • The vitamin C found in citrus fruits, dark leafy greens, bell peppers, kiwi, berries, and broccoli. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can help protect your skin, inside and out.
  • The vitamin E is present in sunflower seeds, almonds, wheat germ, spinach, and broccoli. Vitamin E works with vitamin C to promote collagen synthesis.
  • The vitamin A that’s found in carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squash, dark leafy greens, cantaloupe, and apricots.
  • The amino acids glycine, proline, and lysine found in dark leafy green vegetables, soy, nuts, seeds, and legumes.
  • The sulfur-containing foods, such as garlic, onion, and members of the cabbage family, may also promote collagen production.

The bottom line is that many vegetables and other plant foods can be powerful allies in keeping your skin young, your bones strong, and your joints healthy.

Claim #3: It Can Cure Your Cold

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At some point in your life, you probably had a bowl of chicken noodle soup while sick. It might have even helped you feel better.

Some older research studied the ability of chicken stock to ease common cold symptoms. And many people say bone broth has (or should have) a similar effect.

While there are no published studies about bone broth and illness in peer-reviewed medical journals, a few have looked at the effects of chicken soup.

A 2000 study in the journal Chest found that chicken soup could prevent white blood cells from migrating — thus preventing the worsening of upper respiratory infection symptoms.

But it also found that the vegetables in the soup — not the chicken alone — offered inhibitory effects when it came to battling infections. The researchers concluded that chicken soup likely contained multiple substances with medicinal properties.

Would vegetable soup have been just as effective? Or more effective? We don’t know. But it seems clear that the vegetables, at a minimum, played an important part.

The other chicken soup study, published in 1978, concluded that hot chicken soup was superior to cold liquids in the management of upper respiratory infections, namely in loosening nasal mucous. This sounds impressive — but then again, it’s entirely possible we could say the same thing about any hot liquid, including vegetable broth (perhaps even hot water).

Bone broth may warm your belly, but there’s no evidence that it will cure your cold. If there are immune-boosting effects, they could come from the vegetables used in its preparation.

Check out these articles for proven ways to boost immunity with food and beverages.

Claim #4: It’s Good for Your Gut

Advocates claim bone broth is good for digestion and therapeutic for leaky gut syndrome — a condition in which substances can leak from your intestines into your blood.

They say the gelatin will bind water in the digestive tract, protecting the lining of your intestines. Some studies show that potential in rats, but this doesn’t mean bone broth can do the same for humans. We have very different intestinal lining than do rats. It’s possible it could help. But at this point, all we have is a theory.

What’s not a theory, because it’s been well documented, is that you can support your gut health with a variety of fiber-rich plants foods, including fermented foods, which help to maintain a healthy gut microbiome. For more ways to support digestive health with foods, see this article.

Claim #5: It Can Detoxify Your Liver

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Bone broth contains the amino acid glycine. There are a few animal studies that suggest glycine supplements can benefit the liver of alcoholic rats, but none have looked at the impact of bone broth on human livers.

It’s doubtful that any single nutrient has the power to detoxify the liver by itself. The best way to protect your liver, and to protect your body from toxins, is by eating a diet that’s high in the entire array of phytonutrients found in whole plant foods.

Check out our article on using phytonutrients to detox your body, here.

It’s also helpful to steer clear of absorbing toxic heavy metals in the first place. And that brings us to what may be the most significant problematic fact about bone broth.

Lead — A Serious Concern with Bone Broth

It’s well known that lead exposure can be seriously harmful to humans. It’s been shown to have adverse effects on nearly every organ system in the body. Symptoms of chronic exposure range from memory loss and constipation to impotence and depression. The data suggests that there is no such thing as a “safe” level of exposure to lead.

Lead can build up in body fat and attach itself irreversibly to neurons. This is especially dangerous for children as it increases the risk of behavioral problems, hyperactivity, impaired growth and hearing, anemia, and lower IQ, even at low levels.

Now, here’s the thing: Lead and other heavy metals build up in the bones. And that’s not just true of human bones.

Boiling animal bones for a long period of time turns out to be a great way to leach lead out of them — even if the animal bones come from organically fed animals.

In a study published in the peer-reviewed journal Medical Hypotheses, researchers looked at broth made from organic chicken bones and found that the broth had lead concentrations that were up to a 10-fold increase compared to the water before the bones were added to it. The samples came from organic, free-range chickens.

Today, many health enthusiasts are drinking bone broth by the case, hoping to detoxify their liver of heavy metals. Sadly, in the process, they could be inadvertently exposing themselves to dangerous levels of lead and possibly other heavy metals.

Ethical Concerns

Many of the most popular bone broth brands come from the bones of animals raised in factory farms. These animals may have never seen the sun or a blade of grass in their lives. They were fed an utterly unnatural diet and pumped full of hormones and antibiotics.

Those aren’t practices that I want to support. And they don’t create products that I want to take into my body, either.

What Are Some Healthy Alternatives to Bone Broth?

If you’re interested in trying the broth trend for yourself, and you want some warm nourishment for your tummy, but your favorite flavor isn’t “bone,” there are many other options.

Some people are creating vegetarian and vegan broths, using mixtures of seaweed, mushrooms, miso, and various vegetables instead of bones.

Plant-based broths offer a lot of flavor and nutrients. Mushrooms contain selenium, B vitamins, iron, and zinc. Seaweed contains iodine, which is an essential nutrient for healthy thyroid function. Fermented foods, like miso paste, or anti-inflammatory agents, like ginger or turmeric, are often added as well.

The next time you hear bone broth touted as a magical cure-all, remember this: The science behind the claims about bone broth is murky at best. But the science behind the health benefits of vegetables is massive, coherent, and compelling.

In short, veggies rock.

Tell us in the comments:

  • What are your experiences with bone broth?

  • Why or why don’t you drink it?

  • Do you have any recipes for bone broth alternatives you want to share?

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We know. We know: Bone broth. It’s almost too hip for its own good. But whether you consider it a miracle cure for all ailments, or just a hearty broth to sip on during cold winter months, it’s a cooking project worth tackling. That said, poorly made bone broth can be about as palatable as, well, a bowl full of bones. Avoid these common mistakes, and your bone broth will be the hottest ticket in town—or at least your kitchen.

1. Skipping the Blanching Step

If you think bone broth is too funky, you’ve probably had to suffer through a mug or bowl that was made without blanching. This step, to be done before roasting and boiling, removes any impurities (read: the nasty bits) from the bones. And if you’re using the right bones, there will be some nasty bits. A real bone broth is made with bones and cuts of meat high in collagen, like marrow, knuckles, and feet. While beef is the meat most people associate with bone broth, it can also be made with lamb, pork, chicken, veal… you name it. A word on these collagen-heavy bones: They make for a stock that’s gelatinous at room temperature. Don’t let the texture of this meat Jell-O alarm you; that’s a sign you did it right. To blanch, cover the bones with cold water, bring to a boil, and let them cook at an aggressive simmer for 20 minutes before draining and roasting (see mistake no. 2!).

2. Not Roasting the Bones

Repeat after us: “I will always roast my bones.” This browns and caramelizes them, and we all know what browned and caramelized means: Better flavor. Don’t be afraid to really take the bones to the limit: Crank the oven up high—a bold 450˚, says senior food editor Andy Baraghani. Lily Freedman, test kitchen contributor, also adds that you have to put in ample oven time. A quick 15 minutes won’t do: Take those bones right up to the edge of “too done.” Once you’re ready to boil the bones, don’t waste the crisped brown bits on the bottom of the pan; loosen them with a little water and a metal spatula, and add those to your stockpot. This adds flavor to the finished broth.

Into the oven you go. Photo: Rochelle Bilow

Rochelle Bilow3. Adding Too Much “Stuff”

According to Baraghani, a good bone broth doesn’t need much more than bones and a few choice aromatics, like onions, garlic, and black pepper. “Don’t even get me started on carrots,” he says, which add sweetness. (We won’t dock points if you choose to add them, however; a little sweet can help balance the deeply savory quality of bone broth). But ultimately, this is not the best place to dump all of your compost scraps. Keep the flavor focused and concentrated. Worried about it tasting “one-note”? Just roast the bones to build depth of flavor, and that won’t be an issue.

4. Not Using a Large Enough Stockpot

Those femur bones you’re using? They’re pretty big. This is not a task for your 4-quart sauce pot, says senior associate food editor Claire Saffitz. Use the biggest, heaviest stockpot you’ve got, and fill it up with your roasted bones, plus your (carefully curated) selection of aromatics. Add just enough water to cover, bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, and cover. “There shouldn’t be so much water that the bones are floating,” Saffitz explains. The bone-to-water ratio should be close enough that the resulting broth is intensely flavored. Adding too much liquid will make it taste, well, watered down.

5. Not Simmering It Long Enough

Q: How long can you simmer a bone broth? A: How much time have you got? Saffitz recently made one that she kept on the stove overnight. Because the bones used are thick and hardy, they have a lot of flavor to offer up. This is in contrast to a simpler broth, like basic chicken stock: Those smaller, thinner bones will disintegrate after hours on the heat, and won’t add much more flavor.

“Beef” up your broth by adding cooked veggies and meat. Photo: Rochelle Bilow

Rochelle Bilow6. Letting the Finished Broth Cool Slowly

Not to alarm you, but hot broth can be a breeding ground for bacteria—and not the good kind. “Cool it as quickly and efficiently as possible,” says Saffitz. This will also keep the broth fresher for longer. Once you’ve strained out the bones, she recommends adding ice and transferring it to a shallow and wide container, where it will lose heat more rapidly. Don’t worry about the ice diluting the broth; it’s so intensely flavored (you did roast the bones and simmer them for a heck of a long time, right?) that a few cups of cubes won’t drastically impact the flavor. One thing’s for sure: Don’t put screaming-hot broth in the fridge. Not only will it invite bacterial growth, it will raise the temperature of the refrigerator and potentially contaminate the rest of its contents.

Actually, make all of the broths and stocks!

I recently completed a three day bone broth fast to repair my gut.

I’ve been on a journey to heal my gut for at least the last five years, actively working to recover from a lifetime of processed foods and a poor diet.

And as fast back as I can remember, it seems that I’ve always struggled with bloating, gas and poor digestion. At it’s worst point it had me laying in bed with horrible knots in my stomach.

The culprit of my gut breakdown, unfortunately reads like a very typical story.

I grew up on the Standard American Diet (called SAD for short, how ironic and disturbing). Frozen burritos, fish sticks, hamburger helper, sloppy joes, those were the staples in my house. Regularly finish a 2 liter bottle of pepsi all by myself was not a rare occurrence as a kid. In fact, most nights we had soda with dinner. It practically flowed like water in my house. As you can see, I wasn’t exactly set up for success.

As an adult, my diet improved, but not much. My caffeine of choice switched from soda to coffee (not sure which is worse, to be honest). I became vegetarian and started eating lots of faux meat, beans, rice, and grains instead. I tried to make smoothies and green juices to make up for the processed crap I ate, but at the time, I had no idea just how much omega 6 I was eating. No wonder I had so much gut inflammation.

Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be until a full decade later that I woke up and found the ancestral (paleo) diet.

And along the way, boy have I experimented with some weird shit. I’ve tried everything from guzzling wheatgrass to juice cleanse cults (master cleanse, anyone?). I tried probiotics, prebiotics, raw vegan diets, sugar-free, dairy-free, and everything in between.

But the most powerful thing I found was broth.

Around two years ago, like a lot of paleo geeks, I jumped feet first onto the bone broth bandwagon. I heard about the laundry list of benefits, from glowing skin, to healthy joints, to digestive healing. It made perfect sense to me. What was once a traditional diet staple (for thousands of years), had somehow become lost in the search for food convenience. The lack of collagen in our modern diet (the stuff gut lining, healthy skin, and connective tissue is made of), was showing up in the form of more gut issues than ever.

I was hooked. I immediately started buying bones (and chicken feet to thicken up broth, which I kept in a container in the freezer, much to my wife’s dismay) and making big batches of fatty broth in my crockpot. And lo and behold, steadily but surely, my gut has gotten better.

That was until, I reached a plateau of just feeling “OK,” but not great.

Then I decided to make 2017 year the year I would reclaim my health, and heal my gut, fully. I got serious about eating clean once again (no little cheating here and there that quickly becomes a problem), and making bone broth a staple.

But I still needed something to kickstart my gut to heal at a deeper level. Intuitively I felt that my digestive system needed a break, badly. If I could give it simple, liquid nutrition it could take energy away from digestion, and toward deep healing.

I went to my butcher, picked up some knuckle bones and brewed up close to three gallons of broth. Here’s what happened and how things went…

A necessary, but unfortunate disclaimer

Fasts are not for everyone, and everyone has different dietary needs. Before you start on a fast of any kind, you should absolute consult your health care provider. I’m not a doctor, nor do I claim to give medical advice of any kind. As always, consult your own body and decide what is best for you.

Preparations for the fast

The first step was to decide how long I would fast for. Most guides I looked at recommended between 48-72 hours. I decided I needed as much relief as I could get, so I went with 72.

Because I’ve done fasts before (though never a broth fast), I knew I needed to prepare myself mentally. Not getting psychology prepared I think is the biggest mistake you can make before starting a fast. If you want to set yourself up for success, you need to be prepared to deal with cravings, be irritable, and have lots of space and time to set aside for self care. Starting a fast before a big trip or work project is not the right time. I suggest doing it on a weekend, or taking time off of work if possible.

The first thing I did was made sure that my fast fell on the weekend, and that I didn’t have any major events planned. I also spent time reading up on the benefits of fasting to get myself emotionally anchored to what I was about to do. I visualized myself feeling good, persevering through any challenges that came up, and resisting temptations to eat.

My bone broth recipe and daily regimen

Since talking about my fast on Facebook, a lot of you have been asking for my bone broth recipe. I actually did a whole post on my love for bone broth, including my recipe. You can find it here.

Here’s my exact daily routine, including everything I ingested:

  • Hydration elixir. The first thing I drank every day was 12oz of spring water with 1tsp of sole (himalayan sea salt soaked in water), 1tbsp of bentonite clay, and lemon. It’s a super hydrating exlixir, and the bentonite helps with detox.
  • Morning herbal tea. In this I put chaga, lion’s mane, astragulus, ginger and a bit of yerba mate’. Since I was going off coffee, I decided to give myself a smaller dose of caffeine to help with withdrawal, but in a more gut friendly way. The chaga and lion’s mane were for immune boosting properties, astragalus for its gut optimization properties and ginger for it’s gut healing properties.
  • Bone broth. I let myself have as much as I wanted. In it I often added several tablespoons of collagen from Great Lakes.
  • Fermented veggies. I ate a good amount of these for the beneficial probiotics they contain. I made about 4 quarts of kimchi that I devoured. Because they’re predigested, they’re super easy on the gut.
  • Supplements. I kept with my normal supplement routine of Vitamin D, MSM, Glucosamine, Fish Oil, and Colostrum.

The good and the not so pleasant: my daily fast journal

Day 1: Determined and ready

Woke up with a slight headache. A bit nervous, but I’m feeling determined and excited about the results that I’ll be getting. Ready to follow through with this and see how much this can help me with my gut.

Today I just started with skipping dinner and replacing with bone broth. It felt pretty easy and just like I was having soup for dinner (an empty soup, but still had that feeling).

Went to bed feeling better than when I woke up.

Day 2: Riding the struggle bus

Woke up with headache again, ugh. I didn’t sleep the best and think I was in a weird position that created some neck tension. Feeling more groggy and tired than usual.

Plan is to spend some time outside, take it easy and go sauna.

Update: I went for a walk, did a little light climbing in the trees, and went to the sauna. Felt a lot better after being outside, even though it was cold and overcast. The sauna tired me out though, so I ended up taking a nap.

Was pretty exhausted today, honestly. Lots of cravings for burgers, fries, comfort food. Hoping that tomorrow will be better.

Day 3: The sun is shining again

Woke up feeling a lot better today. The best way I can describe it is just feeling clear and clean.

Got my broth and tea in, then hit the park for a walk. It was a beautiful sunny day, so I couldn’t resist getting out.

Climbed at the gym, but kept it pretty light and short, nothing too strenuous. Went to sauna after climbing with Ev’Yan and picked up a green juice from the store.

Got a bit sleepy after the sauna (as to be expected), but overall feeling good.

Day 4: Give me all of the food (and a surprise)!

Woke up irritable, slightly groggy and hungry. I knew that it was time to eat today, and I absolutely could not wait.

Then, after my morning water and bone broth, it hit me… I needed to go to the bathroom, now!

I felt sick, bloated and gross, and I couldn’t figure out why. I had just been on days of amazing bone broth, after all.

And that’s when I remembered… I haven’t had a bowel movement in three days! Oh, maybe that’s why. I also recalled that I might have put way too much salt in my water. On an empty stomach, salt water can act as a laxative. Oops!

I’ll spare you the details, but it definitely felt like I released some clogged up junk in my system.

I broke my fast with some veggies, an egg, and a slice of bacon. My original plan was broth with some vegetables cooked in it, but my body was saying “GIVE ME FOOD. NOW.” and I decided to listen. I trusted it knew what was up, and that it was time.

How I’m feeling now and what I think about how it went

Several days after the fast, I’m feeling great. This feels like exactly what my body needed in order to heal and reset. The level of gas/bloating and digestive discomfort I was experiencing has decreased dramatically and is now almost unnoticeable.

I do think that there’s likely still more healing to be done, so I plan on repeating the fast again in the future when it feels like the right time.

My plan moving forward

A lot of people say that the fast is the easy part, but it’s after the fast that is the real test. I think that’s true.

It’s pretty easy when you’re on the fast after a while to stick with it and keep it going. After all, it’s only 72 hours, and anyone can stick with something for at least that long. It’s staying away from your trouble foods long term, and managing stress that is the real test.

These are the big gut irritants for me, and what I plan to stay away from:

  • Any glutenous grains
  • Sugar
  • Peanuts
  • Beans and legumes
  • Soy
  • Industrial vegetable oils (canola, safflower, etc.)
  • Too much coffee
  • Too many nuts and seeds

I also have to be careful not to overdo it on dairy, nightshades, and overly complex meals with lots of ingredients. Yay, my life is fun, right? Yeah, yeah, I know it could be worse.

Sticking to meat, veggies and healthy fats, while drinking lots of broth and fermented foods seems to be what works best for me.

Another thing I plan on incorporating more is intermittent fasting, where I skip breakfast and allow my digestive system to rest from 7pm-12pm. Check out the benefits here.

I also think once or twice a month having 24 hours of only broth would be a good addition to add my strategy.

Going forward I’ll be staying on a 90/10 diet of strict paleo, with some slight room for deviation. I’ve tried super strict diets before, and they always backfire with me binging on unhealthy foods. Staying disciplined, but having room to breathe and live a little is what works best for me.

So, would I do it again?

Having done fasts like the Master Cleanse in the past, I like how this approach focuses on giving your gut a break, but also fuels you with much needed gut-healing nutrients.

Based on the results I got (despite the difficulties), I would absolutely do a bone broth fast again. Incorporating a fast like this every 3-6 months makes a lot of sense to me, along with more frequent, shorter digestive breaks.

It’s also a great way to kick start a healthier, cleaner diet.

Bone Broth Fasting

BONE BROTH FASTING

I recently discussed bone broth fasting in Episode 93 of the Naturally Nourished Podcast on Getting Autoimmune Disease into Remission. A bone broth fast is a type of modified intermittent fast that entails consuming bone broth several times per day as a replacement for meals. Consuming bone broth provides your body with essential amino acids while allowing your gut a rest from anti-nutrients in vegetables or grains and other inflammatory foods. Reducing inflammatory foods and gut damaging compounds from intake allows the immune system time to rebound from leaky gut reactivity likely contributing to flare. Remember, gut lining damage can occur from stress alone and we see depleted levels of glutamine. Beyond resting the gut, bone broth is rich in glutamine, collagen, and gelatin to support gut tissue repair to reset your gut integrity reducing inflammatory stress while enhancing nutrient absorption at future meals.

Beyond the benefits for your digestive tract a bone broth fast supports autophagy, a process of cellular clean up, regulated by the immune system and stimulated at times of calorie restriction (CR) or time restricted eating (TRE). It is important to understand and acknowledge the digestive process is somewhat distressing on the body, when the system is over burdened with toxic overload, inflammation, autoimmune flare, or under chronic stress, the body is not in an optimized digestive state and may actual create more signals of stress and inflammation when distressed with food. This is where when animals are sick they may go off to the woods for a day or two, spike a fever, rest, sleep, and allow their body to do the healing work. Often unfortunately when we are not feeling well, we often don’t have an appetite, so we don’t eat savory quality protein-rich and fat focused foods, we force feed carbs as comfort foods when our body is telling us “don’t eat” with nausea or bloating. This is where a bone broth can be incredibly supportive of gut health and can be used as a tool when experiencing an autoimmune flare or recovering from an immune hit like a cold, flu or food poisoning.

A bone broth fast can be used proactively for optimal health as well, as a tool for weight loss or used as a quarterly detox. Fasting supports a reduction in insulin levels, which allows the body to access fat as a fuel source and when in a fasted state, the body makes more human growth hormone (HGH) which stimulates metabolism and has a muscle sparing effect. Bone broth is packed with minerals as well as amino acids making it the perfect addition to extended fasting that will keep electrolytes from being thrown off.

Note: this is not a recommendation if new to keto or not participating in a low carb diet and coming from a high carbohydrate intake! If you have blood sugar irregularities and are on a blood sugar lowering medication consult first with your physician as you may need to adjust dosage prior to participating in a bone broth fast.

Also, if under high stress and dealing with known low leptin levels or elevated rT3 via blood value, a bone broth fast could further signal starvation and distress your body, it would be ok to do only broth but it would be required in this case to get 5-6 Tbsp fat to compensate for calorie need.

Consider a Bone Broth Fast if:

You are in an active autoimmune flare.

You want to kick off a detox, elimination diet or reset on a ketogenic diet.

You are looking to accelerate body fat loss (and are overweight with body fat out of normal range).

Benefits of Fasting:

Accelerated fat loss

Reduction of fasting insulin and insulin resistance

Lower insulin allows access to adipocytes (fat cells) to dump fatty acids into blood stream to turn over fatty acids essentially burning fat

Autophagy or cleaning up of old “faulty” cell parts

Reduction of cardiovascular and diabetes risk

Promotion of human growth hormone (HGH) to aid in body composition shift and maintenance of muscle mass

How to Do a Bone Broth Fast:

  • Consume 2-3 quarts bone broth per day, ideally from a variety of sources. Here is a recipe for our Chicken Bone Broth and Beef Bone Broth. You can also use a good quality pre-made bone broth such as Bonafide Provisions (use code ALIMILLERRD to save 20% off your online order!).
  • You can add herbs or spices such as turmeric and ginger as well as pinches of Himalayan or celtic salt to flavor broth and increase nutritional density. Note: If dealing with bloating, distention, or digestive stress, hold all additives and just do broth to limit antigens and potential reactions.
  • Green and herbal teas are best, coffee and espresso are okay.
  • No dairy, no meat, fish ok cooked in broth if needed for extreme hunger but best to eliminate.
  • Generally, consume broth in 5 servings, only 2 should have add ins of ghee/coconut oil, herbs, turmeric (try golden broth from the Naturally Nourished Cookbook!) the other 3 should be plain broth
  • Keep consumption within 8-10 hour window, this means for 14-16 hours (typically 8pm-10am or 12pm) only water, coffee, or tea to support a pure fast.

Modifying your bone broth fast:

If dealing with hunger that is uncomfortable, hypothyroid, dealing with adrenal fatigue, low leptin, or are at low body weight: Limit a pure fast to 12 hours and add fat to liquid once 12 hour window hits (example 8pm-8am with nothing, then can do a fatty coffee or a bone broth).

Also, ensure you consume between 3-5 Tbsp pure fat during fasting. Ideally use a combination of coconut oil, ghee or grassfed butter, MCT oil and avocado or olive oil this can be topped or blended into broth or beverage.

If this sounds extreme but you still want benefits!

You may do a 12-16 hour fast while sleeping and in morning only having water, coffee, or tea, and then do just bone broth and fat to break the fast and a couple times through the day and 1 meal daily trying to keep bone broth and eating window optimally within 8 hours.

A gentle entry for a 5 day optimal health bone broth fast:

Days 1-2: Guidelines above (either with or without meal per preference) + 1 avocado (may cube into broth or eat with lemon/lime, coarse salt, cayenne)

Days 3-4: only the bone broth fast guidelines

Day 5: Add 1 avocado plus guidelines above, Add 1/2 cup shredded cabbage simmered in bone broth twice during the day (1 cup total cabbage), Add 1/2 cucumber, eat with mashed avocado or in broth, or as slices with ghee

Lifestyle support for fasting:

Fasting provokes hormetic impact on body meaning it is stressful but provokes benefits to the system, in this sense it is important during a fast to ensure mental, emotional, and physical stressors are limited as you are already physiologically stressing system with “food insecurity”.

  • Restrict exercise to gentle movement therapy! Yoga, walking, light pilates, barre or gentle resistance only!
  • Consider infrared sauna and temperature variations to provoke thermogenesis to stimulate lipolysis (body fat break down), adiponectin (hormone that stimulates grey/brown fat), and anti-inflammatory healing effects.
  • Focus on harnessing your parasympathetic state to allow the body a sense of “safety” during your fast. Caloric restriction and time restricted eating alone will be a stressor so work to practice breath, meditation, and mantra.
  • Take nutrients that drive detoxification processes of both phase 1 and phase 2 biochemical enzyme pathways. My 10-day Reset, Restore, Renew Detox Packs drive phase 2 encapsulation and excretion pathways while supporting phase 1 activation in the liver. I suggest 1 pack 2-3 times daily during a bone broth fast.
  • If dealing with digestive distress, rawness, gut inflammation, or inflammatory bowel disease consider layering on the Gut Rehab Bundle!

Now what about mTor?

Doesn’t the protein in a bone broth fast block your autophagy? If you are a nerd (I totally love ya extra) Otherwise keep reading!

It is important when looking at research on the influence of “protein” to not get too myopic and recognize that it is the dose that makes the poison!

When focusing on mTor activation and impact, energy should go towards demonizing refined carbohydrates and refined sugar as they provoke insulin response and have no essential need or nutritional benefit where as amino acids in protein-rich foods have a quarter or less influence and provide essential needs and therapeutic value for the body.

A note from Becki on her experience:

I do a 3 day bone broth fast with my husband every quarter as a detox and reset for my system. I follow a low carb high fat diet most of the time, so a bone broth fast is not a huge shock to my system. We choose a long weekend with no social commitments and try to reduce our agenda to chores around the house and minor outings that do not involve food. I will often choose a project that needs doing around the house like cleaning out a closet as a distraction and find that without the distraction of eating (plus all the fabulous ketones I’m producing) I can be super focused and productive! We start this on Thursday night and break the fast with a meal on Sunday night.

Our fast for the 3 days looks like this:

Breakfast

Matcha Keto Tea: 1 tsp matcha powder, 12oz hot water, 1 Tbsp coconut oil, sprinkle cinnamon

Snack

16 oz Bone Broth with pinch Himalayan sea salt

Lunch

16 oz Bone Broth, 1 Tbsp ghee, pinch turmeric powder, pinch Himalayan sea salt

Snack

16 oz Bone Broth with pinch Himalayan sea salt

Dinner

16 oz Bone Broth, 1 Tbsp ghee, pinch turmeric powder, pinch Himalayan sea salt

Snack (if needed)

2 sheets toasted nori dipped in 1 Tbsp olive oil sprinkled with coarse sea salt. I find this super helpful to have something to chew on and nips any desire for munching with minimal caloric impact!

I sip on additional bone broth with sea salt, green tea and rooibos tea throughout the day. I also take 3 detox packs per day during my 3 day fast and ensure I am drinking 2 liters water and sparkling water as well to accelerate detoxification. Note: I typically do 3-4 Tbsp fat daily while my husband does closer to 5-6 due to our calorie needs

Fasting is NOT appropriate if pregnant or breastfeeding, if significantly underweight or if you have a history of disordered eating. You should only fast if being actively monitored by a nutrition professional.

Not sure what an ingredient is or which brand to choose? Check out the Ali Miller RD Amazon Store for pantry staples, favorite snacks and more!

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Thank you for voting with your dollar and believing in food-as-medicine

The nutrients found in bone broth can be incredibly beneficial, and consuming it on a regular basis is one of the simplest and least expensive ways to help you feel your best.

Pump up the nutrients

Bone broth is a natural source of hard-to-get nutrients, like collagen, gelatin, several trace minerals, and anti-inflammatory amino acids, which support gut, skin, and joint health.

Ready, Set, Sip!

With all these powerful benefits, you can see how drinking bone broth on a regular basis may have a huge impact on the way you feel. But have you ever considered doing a bone broth fast?

So, what’s up with a Bone Broth Fast?

Similar to a water fast, a bone broth fast involves taking a break from solid foods and consuming liquids throughout the day. But during a bone broth fast, instead of drinking only herbal tea and water, you drink several cups of savory bone broth throughout the day. And that tasty broth keeps you feeling full and satisfied.

The benefits of the bone broth fast

First, let’s talk about the benefits of fasting in general. Fasting is a great way to give your system a “reset” and help your body’s natural processes work more efficiently—such as energy production, metabolism, and digestive function. And best of all buh-bye, bloating!

Be a fat burning machine

For most people, during the day, you’re in the “fed” state. This means your body is working hard to digest, absorb, and assimilate all the nutrients from the foods you eat. But when you enter a fasted state—which simply means you’re not taking in any calories—your body can shift gears and use your energy to focus on the functions that are prioritized after digestion, such as burning fat and boosting metabolism.

Burn without burning out

This is why the “fasted” state is often referred to as the “fat-burning” state. And although you might expect to feel tired or weak without eating, many people experience more energy, less brain fog, and improved focus and concentration when they enter the fasted state.

Give your gut a break

Fasting also gives your digestive system a break, and when you’re not eating inflammatory foods such as refined sugar and carbohydrates, the beneficial bacteria in your digestive system has a chance to rebalance.

Bone broth: premium fasting fuel

Bone broth is a great liquid you can drink when you fast. It’s like filling up your gas tank with premium fuel. This is because bone broth is a source of bioavailable nutrition to support your body’s natural healing processes without taking you out of a fasting state.

As mentioned above, bone broth contains naturally-occurring collagen and gelatin, but animal bones also contain several other compounds and amino acids that support the body, such as glucosamine, chondroitin, hyaluronic acid, proline, and glycine. These nutrients can:

  • Support digestion
  • Support joint health
  • Support skin health
  • Support a healthy immune response

Nourish your bod’ with broth

Of course, drinking bone broth at any time (not just when fasting) will offer these benefits. However, when you’re fasting and consuming only bone broth, your body may be able to digest and absorb these nutrients even more efficiently, allowing them to go where they’re needed that much quicker.

Easy does it: the bone broth fast

It’s simple to do a bone broth fast, all you need to do is consume five to eight cups of bone broth (in addition to herbal tea and water) during a fasting period of 24 hours. This 24-hour period is long enough to give your digestive system a reset.

Sip away

One of the nice things about a bone broth fast is that you can have as much as you want. Let’s say you’re 150 pounds, you’ll need to drink about six cups of bone broth to meet your daily protein needs. But if you want to drink more than eight cups, that’s totally okay!

The two-day way

If you want to continue your bone broth fast beyond 24 hours, we recommend drinking four to six cups of bone broth per day, and eating one Paleo-friendly meal that contains protein. You can do this for up to two more days and then return to your regular eating.

Getting the most from your bone broth fast

Drink bone broth that’s made with quality bones and connective tissue, such as grass-fed beef bones or organic chicken bones. Your broth is only as good as the bones of the animal it came from. For this reason, we recommend only using grass-fed, grass-finished beef bones or organic chicken bones.

Bone broth fast FAQs:

Q: Can I eat anything during a bone broth fast?

A: It’s normal to get hungry during a fast, but if you get to the point of being uncomfortable, feel free to add a tablespoon of coconut oil, ghee, or grass-fed butter to your broth, and you can snack on raw veggies.

Q: How often can I do a bone broth fast?

A: If you are in good health, once per week is safe. It’s actually best to do it consistently—every Monday, for example.

Q: What’s the longest period of time I can fast for?

A: There are mixed opinions from health experts on how long a bone broth fast should last. Some say up to four days. However, we recommend going no longer than 24 hours without solid food.

In any case, it’s still important to check with your doc before doing any type of fast to make sure it’s 100% safe for you.

Q: So, can I use regular stock or broth instead of bone broth?

A: Nope. A bone broth fast is so beneficial primarily because of the amazing benefits of collagen and gelatin—which are the result of simmering bones and tissue for approximately 24 hours.

The bone broth diet

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