According to national sales figures, sales of bone broth more than tripled in the past year, thanks in part to the promising claims of improved health and well-being associated with sipping the pricey stock.
Bone broth devotees are often health-conscious individuals who follow a Paleo or Whole30 diet and believe that bone broth provides nutrients that will improve mobility, make your skin glow, improve immunity and much more.
Problem is, no data supports any health claims that are often associated with the slow-cooked broth. In fact, the notion that cooking bones for longer so that they are degraded or release collagen or other molecules is nonsense because the body creates collagen from amino acids—not from drinking or eating foods that contain collagen.
Here’s what you need to know before plunking down hard-earned money on high-priced stock.
Bone broth is made from meat or poultry bones, that are sometimes roasted first, combined with water, vinegar and spices and simmered at low heat for up to 24 hours. Normal broth or stock is cooked for just a few hours.
Once thoroughly cooked, all the solids are removed and the liquid is strained to become broth. Because the bones cook for so long (and with some vinegar) proteins and some minerals, like calcium and iron, leach from the bones into the broth. A cup of bone broth has 40-50 calories and 6-10 grams protein compared to a chicken or beef broth that has 10-20 calories and 1-2 grams of protein per cup. While bone broths have more protein than regular broth or stocks, there is no data to suggest bone broth provides any health benefits
According to an article written in the Academy of Nutrition’s Food & Nutrition magazine, “broths made mainly from bones provide little nutritional value and much of the protein in the bones does not dissolve.” What’s more, the article suggests that there could be a potential contaminants in bones and bone marrow. For instance, the article states that “bone marrow from from the spine of cows has been implicated in cases of BSE (mad cow disease).” There are no human clinical studies to suggest bone broth possesses any significant health benefits (more than any other broth).
Bottom line: If you like bone broth, it’s a soothing low-calorie choice, but don’t count on bone broth to provide any significant health benefits.