You’ve probably seen bone broth videos popping up on your social media feed. Mention celebrities sipping lunch. But is it actually healthy, or just a bunch of hype?
Laura Ligos, a registered dietitian, nutritionist and sports dietetics specialist, says bone broth has been a trend for a while and first became popular when keto and paleo diets were on the rise. Now the drink is getting more attention thanks to celebrities and influencers sharing their interest online.
While bone broth may provide some beneficial nutrients, experts don’t consider the popular beverage an essential addition to your wellness regimen.
“No earth-shattering study has come out telling us that bone broth is the panacea,” says Ligos.
What else should you know about the trend? We’ve asked some frequently asked questions:
Is drinking bone broth good for you?
Made by simmering animal bones in water for a long time with vegetables, spices, and sometimes other ingredients like apple cider vinegar, bone broth “may be part of the puzzle, but it’s not a quick fix,” says Ligos.
“The goal is to extract important nutrients from the bones, such as collagen, gelatin, amino acids such as glycine, and minerals such as calcium and magnesium,” she says. “It’s these nutrients extracted from the bones that have been shown to be helpful for gut, skin, hair and nail health and there’s some truth to that. That being said, we need more than just bone broth to be able to improving overall health.”
Bone broth benefits include providing people with certain nutrients from the connective tissue and meat of the bones, which in turn can help strengthen muscles and bones, explains Jenna Litt, a registered dietitian at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York .
“Bone broth, in particular, is rich in collagen and certain vitamins and minerals, such as iron, fat-soluble vitamins, zinc, and other trace minerals. Collagen and fat-soluble vitamins are known to improve hair, skin, and nail health,” she adds.
Currently, there isn’t enough research to support the benefits or harms of bone broth for gut health, Litt says.
Ligos also adds that it can be difficult to discern the amount and quality of collagen and gelatin in bone broth, or whether the concentrations are high enough to have an effect on health, as recipes vary.
Can Drinking Bone Broth Help You Lose Weight?
“Daily use of bone broth has been shown to reduce appetite due to its high protein content, so many have noted weight loss as a side effect,” says Litt.
However, for this reason, bone broth should not be consumed daily by children and pregnant women, she adds.
Do I need bone broth in my diet?
The short answer? No.
While almost anyone can try it, Ligos says it’s important to zoom out and look at the big picture when thinking about nutrition.
“There probably isn’t one food that will be the golden ticket to our health. It’s a combination of things we do that can support our health in the long run. Bone broth can certainly be part of that, but not the only part of it .”
For example, if you’re interested in improving the health of your skin, nails, and hair, simply increasing protein intake in your diet has been shown to produce results, says Litt, noting that “the use of bone broth isn’t required.”
When is the best time to drink bone broth?
If you want to give bone broth a try, there are several ways to do it. Ligos says it’s neither “realistic nor pleasurable for most people to drink broth all day long.”
Instead, she suggests reaping its benefits by using it in cooking things like stews, chilis, soups, and risotto.
“I have seen with clients struggling with digestive issues that having more soups (and) stews can make their digestion easier. These types of foods are high in minerals and amino acids to help improve gut health and are just easier for our bodies to break down, as opposed to a big salad, because cooking helps kick-start the process of breaking down our food for us.”
Litt adds that people should consult a doctor before starting any new supplements to make sure there are no contraindications to use.