Bone broth has worked its way up from a humble cold remedy to ‘superfood’ status hyped up for aiding digestive issues, ‘boosting’ immunity and removing wrinkles…
BUT… here are the facts vs fiction.
The claims are mostly down to the collagen. Collagen is a protein, and protein is important, but it’s not a ‘complete’ protein because it lacks one of the essential amino acids (the protein building blocks).
When your gut is breaking it down, it can’t necessarily tell whether the amino acids (which your body uses to build its own muscle) are coming from the bone broth or other protein foods.
Does it help digestion?
There’s no good evidence that it’s effective in helping digestion either. Some initial studies in animals are behind this claim, but it’s super important to remember humans are VERY different.
Getting some relief from gut symptoms?
Some people with IBS do report that it can relieve their symptoms in the short term.
But this is NOT because it’s ‘healing’ the gut – instead, it’s just giving your sensitive tummy a rest by reducing the fibre load (just as any low-fibre / protein food would).
Restricting this fibre long-term (e.g. the ‘bone broth diet’) will essentially starve your gut bacteria – a bad idea for your gut health. We don’t want our GM to go hungry!
One study also warned about the potentially dangerous heavy metal content in organic chicken bone broth, especially lead, which can be harmful. While that may not be the case for other broths, it’s worth watching out (Monro et al, 2013).
Many shop-bought versions can also be high in salt, which can contribute to high blood pressure and risk of heart disease.
If you enjoy the taste, then, of course, go ahead – just don’t spend your hard-earned cash on expensive broths and powders thinking it’s a magic superfood
Go for plant-packed soups instead!