What is the Bone Broth Diet? Are the Benefits Worthwhile?

Written by Nathan | Updated on 9 November 2021

Did you know that bone broth is oftentimes considered a superfood? The bone broth benefits and effectiveness range from promoting weight loss to improving digestion and immune function. In addition, bone broth contains collagen, gelatin, and amino acids that promote health and longevity.

This diet claims to be based on the work of Dr. Kellyann Petrucci, a naturopathic physician, and nutritional scientist, is based on the idea that it’s not just calories or macros that matter when you’re trying to lose weight. The micronutrients matters too, and bone broth is an essential part of this due to its high nutritional value.

According to Petrucci, bone broth is essential in any diet because it’s extremely rich in nutrients. It’s full of collagen, gelatin, and amino acids that will benefit your entire body. Bone broth is rich in minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, sulfur, iron, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium.

Bones are also high in glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate. These two compounds are commonly used in the treatment of arthritis because they help to rebuild cartilage. This diet claims that drinking bone broth can help people with osteoarthritis or any other form of arthritis to reduce pain and inflammation.

Petrucci does not advocate eating large amounts of meat; instead you’re encouraged to eat small portions of fish, chicken, lean beef, and vegetables. As far as fruits and carbs, you’re allowed a little bit of fruit but it’s encouraged to limit carbs, especially refined carbohydrates like flour. Fruit should be eaten sparingly because it contains fructose sugar which is known to cause inflammation in the body when consumed in large amounts.

In today’s article, we’ll be taking a look at this “new” diet that is said to help you lose weight. The Bone Broth Diet has been surging in popularity, as people are looking for something different from the normal diet routine.

An Overview of The Bone Broth Diet Plan

All meals for the bone broth diet plan are made up of lean proteins like chicken breast, grass-fed beef, salmon, eggs, and white fish like sole or cod. Meals also include non-starchy vegetables such as spinach, kale, broccoli, and cucumber. Healthy fats such as avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, and ghee (clarified butter) are also allowed. Healthy fats are essential for nourishing your brain and central nervous system. In addition, herbal teas are allowed, as is black coffee (without sugar).

The 21-day bone broth diet also includes a special bone broth drink called “elixir” that’s made by blending ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon with 3 cups of water and ½ cup of ice. You can drink this mixture before breakfast and dinner each day while you’re on a diet to speed up digestion and burn calories more efficiently. You can also add a tablespoon of MCT oil for extra fat-burning benefits during the day. Additionally, the bone broth diet isn’t just about drinking bone broth — it’s also about avoiding foods containing collagen-blocking components. This includes dairy products and alcohol.

It claims to cleanse your system and restore your natural energy levels. It also aims to improve joint health, boost immunity, and detoxify your body. This is safe for short-term use; however, it may be difficult to follow over a long period of time. 

The main reason why this has gained so much popularity in such a short amount of time, especially when it comes to the health industry, is because bone broth has shown to have tremendous health benefits. Many people have tried this diet because they have heard about these benefits and how they can help with their general overall health [1]. 

Should You Try The Bone Broth Diet?

The Bone Broth Diet is a controversial new weight loss diet that has become hugely popular in 2016. The Bone Broth Diet is essentially just a modification of Paleo that Petrucci created herself based on her own research into how different foods can help you to lose weight.

The basic idea behind this is that when you have the right kind of food in your body, it will tell your brain to stop being hungry so much of the time, thereby helping you with weight loss more naturally and without having to do any extra exercise or spend hours at the gym.

It should go without saying that if you have any dietary issues, to consult your doctor before deciding to jump on this weight loss journey and change to such a strict difference. You wouldn’t want your body to go into shock based on what is mentioned on the internet.

Why is it Called the Bone Broth Diet?

The diet’s name, “bone broth,” refers to its primary ingredient: stock made from bones. Bone broth is a nutrient-rich drink made from simmering cow, chicken, or even pig bones, connective tissue, and other ingredients for several hours over low heat. Alternatively, you can substitute any animal bone broth for an immunity-building vegetable soup, you can find it at this link [2].

The nutrients in bone broth include calcium and phosphorus, which help maintain strong bones and teeth; glycine and proline, which help form healthy skin, joints, ligaments, tendons, and muscle; and chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine, which can reduce joint pain. Research also suggests that bone broth can even stimulate hair growth.

Significantly, gelatin is the main component of bone broth. Gelatin is a protein that protects the cells in your body altogether. It also happens to be found in significant quantities in animals’ connective tissue — including, of course, bone and cartilage.

The price you pay for eating meat and other animal products is that you’re consuming more than just protein: you’re consuming all the potential toxins that animal was exposed to during its lifetime — including the residues of medications it was given. Bone broth — which is rich in gelatin — helps prevent us from absorbing those toxins.

The Bone Broth Diet is Not a Traditional Diet

This new (ish) diet is best for people who are looking to add more protein to their diets without adding too many calories from meat or dairy products. It requires two options for this consumption, fasting for two days and non-fasting for five days. On days where you are not eating, you have two possibilities in itself, one where you drink a cup of bone broth six times a day or drink it five times a day and one snack before 7 pm containing the necessary protein, vegetables, and healthy fats. Non-fasting days you have the option to have breakfast, lunch, dinner, and two snacks. These meals include protein, fat, and fruit, with the exception of the snacks being a cup of bone broth each.

The key to this health fad is the bone broth itself. You are recommended that you use organic chicken or beef bones and make homemade chicken bone broth or beef bone broth. It claims that bone broth may help you lose weight because it boosts your metabolism, eliminates cravings, reduces inflammation, and cleanses your body. If you’re looking for answers on the differences between low-fat and low-carb, read this article here.

Many also say doing this can treat the following conditions:

  • Reduce wrinkles and cellulite
  • Heal leaky gut syndrome
  • Heal acid reflux
  • Heal Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, IBS, and other digestive disorders.
  • Treat sore muscles and joints
  • Boost your energy level
  • Ease anxiety and depression

Bone Broth Guidelines

The Bone Broth Diet is a paleo diet, which means it’s high in protein and fat. In fact, you’re allowed to eat unlimited amounts of meat while following it. Even though this is low-carb, it does promote weight loss because of its focus on nutritious foods. When you consume abundant fresh, whole foods, your body processes nutrition more effectively and converts it to energy more efficiently.

Being Paleo may also help improve heart health since many of its foods are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that may reduce the risk of disease. The guidelines are essentially a combined bone broth diet, paleo, and intermittent fasting. If you’ve ever tried intermittent fasting before, then you know that this eating pattern can help you improve your health and lose weight faster. Intermittent fasting helps boost metabolism and decrease appetite while improving satiety between meals. It also helps control insulin levels by reducing the amount of food consumed at one time. 

Before deciding whether this is right for you, it’s essential to understand what you may be getting into. Expectations that are too high are a common cause of disappointment. This works for some people, but not everyone. It isn’t because the nutrition is bad; it’s because your body type and preferences are unique.

A Typical Day on the Bone Broth Diet

Breakfast: Omelet made of 2 whole eggs, 1 egg white, cooked in coconut oil with 1/2 cup of vegetables.

Lunch: Handful of nuts or seeds (about 20) or green leafy vegetables like lettuce or spinach (about 1 cup).

Dinner: Meat (about 3 ounces), cooked in coconut oil with 1/2 cup of vegetables.

Snacks: 1 cup of bone broth

A broth diet isn’t meant to be complicated or challenging to maintain. The core understanding is that you must:

  • Change your meal consumption to Paleo friendly foods for 21 days
  • Drink 1 to 3 cups of bone broth on your non-fasting days
  • Drink 6 cups of bone broth on fasting days, plus any water, tea, or coffee
  • Drink the bone broth as your snack substitute
  • Omit any sweets, cookies, and sugary drinks or foods, even the paleo ones

What Food Choices Can You Eat on The Bone Broth Diet?

The Bone Broth Diet is designed to start your day with a high-protein breakfast. It’s based on organic vegetables, grass-fed meat, and other whole foods when you are on non-fasting days.

On a broth diet, you are allowed lean proteins and vegetables that are non-starchy:

  • Beef
  • Fish
  • Chicken
  • Eggs
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Leafy greens
  • Tomatoes
  • Summer squash

Broth diets also permit healthy fats like oils, condiments, flours, and beverages such as:

  • Avocados
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Vegetable oils
  • Salt
  • Spices
  • Vinegar
  • Salsa
  • Certain nut flours such as almond and coconut
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Water

You are also allowed fruit when on a broth diet, but you are limited to one portion a day on your non-fasting days:

  • Apples
  • Berries
  • Melons
  • Citrus fruits
  • Kiwi

Foods To Avoid

The Bone Broth Diet forbids all grains, dairy, sugars, and alcohol. Additionally, it further bans all artificial sweeteners, carbonated beverages, and food with preservatives.

  • Wheat, rye, barley, gluten grains, corn, rice, quinoa, and oats
  • Table sugar, honey, and maple syrup, and pretty much all Starbucks drinks that aren’t black coffee with sugar-free syrup
  • Most potatoes with the exception of sweet ones

A Look At The Benefits of Bone Broth

Benefits of bone broth range from assisting weight loss to improving digestion and immune function. In addition, bone broth contains collagen, gelatin, and amino acids that promote health and longevity.

Gelatin is a protein that comes from the hydrolysis of collagen, which is found in bones, skin, connective tissues, and tendons. Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies that makes up around 30% of all the proteins we have. Gelatin is also an excellent source of amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins that provide many health benefits, such as supporting muscle growth and repair. A collagen-rich diet may also help people recover from illness or surgery more quickly [3].

The amino acid in collagen called glycine is responsible for many of the health benefits of bone broth. Glycine can help improve sleep patterns, lower stress levels, and fight inflammation [4]. As an anti-inflammatory agent, collagen helps in the treatment of arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease. Additionally, collagen is necessary for maintaining the health and beauty of our bodies. Collagen helps people look beautiful, young, confident, energetic, full of life. So many women are trying to find natural methods that will help them become more beautiful naturally [5].

Gelatin is a protein that is made by cooking the skin, tendons, ligaments, and bones of animals, such as cows, chickens, and even pigs. Gelatin has an appearance and consistency similar to Jell-O and can be used as a thickener for soup or even for dessert toppings. It dissolves easily in hot water and has been used as a broth in cooking for hundreds of years.

The gelatin found in bone broth differs from the type found in Jell-O. It contains many additional nutrients, such as chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine sulfate, keratin, and collagen, which makes it beneficial for several health conditions.

From an evolutionary point of view, the consumption of gelatin may be essential because the consumption of meat and fish was necessary for survival. In addition, gelatin consumption has been linked to increased hair and nail strength, improved digestion, stronger immunity, and healthier skin. Studies also say it may help manage conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis (MS).

Bone Broth Internal Bodily Benefits

  • Hydrated skin
  • Healthy intestines
  • Lower blood sugar
  • Stronger joints and bones

An Insight Into The Potential Risks

There is no published evidence that this diet works, but there are trusted testimonials from people who have tried it. There are suggestions that the diet is effective for weight loss, but how healthy it is also depends on the dieter.

Researchers mention that bone broth is not a weight-loss diet and it does not allow for enough calories to be consumed based on the recommended daily allowances. Rachel Fine, RD, owner of To The Pointe Nutrition, says that while the bone broth is rich in minerals, “any potential health benefits are outweighed by the fact that low-calorie diets are metabolically damaging, which can lead to future weight gain, increased risk of heart disease, stroke, inflammation, and oxidative stress.”

For those worried about potentially consuming metals from animal bones, fear not. A study has experimentally confirmed that the levels of calcium and magnesium in homemade or commercial soup are not more than a few tenths of a milligram per serving. Also, the risks associated with the ingestion of heavy metals in soup are minimal due to low ranges of a μg per serving. Click here to learn more about health risks associated with bone broth[6]. 

Although the bone broth diet isn’t all what it’s made up to be, bone broth in itself is very healthy and could be incorporated into any meal plan. 

Bone Broth Diet FAQs

Will I Get Hungry?

If this is your first time fasting, there may be an adjustment period for you, as it will take some time for your body to get used to taking in fewer calories than it has known. It’s good to note that bone broth has a significant amount of grams of protein that does help make you feel full. However, this diet isn’t about coming close to starving yourself, so if you still feel hungry, consider having one more cup of bone broth, water, or tea to help maintain your levels.

I’m a Vegetarian. Can I Try The Bone Broth Diet?

Yes, you can! Kellyann (the creator of the bone broth diet) has an alternative to animal bone broth. Rich vegetable broth made from all fresh vegetables, the freshest is critical, as the nutrients begin to deteriorate immediately upon leaving the plant that they came from. The slow simmering of this broth will bring out fantastic flavor and nourishment, detoxing your body from the inside out!

If you’re worried about those non-fasting days and what to meal prep as a vegetarian, below are the perfect substitutions for meat while on the bone broth diet.

  • Eggs
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Edamame
  • Kefir
  • Yogurt
  • Temph

How Do I Choose My Fasting and Non-Fasting Days?

The Bone Broth Diet consists of two mini-fasting periods and five non-fasting days. The diet plan suggests that you can pick any days you want for your two fasting days.

Will I Lose Weight By Following The Bone Broth Diet?

Essentially you are doing a Paleo diet combined with Intermittent Fasting while adding in bone broth as your snack supplements to encourage your body to take in more protein, collagen, and other essential minerals. The benefit of sipping on broth between your meals is it suppresses your cravings for sweets and other sugary items leading you to live a healthier dietary lifestyle.

Since this diet is based on two days on a fast, it aligns with intermittent fasting, which has been associated with weight loss. Everyone is different, and that goes with talking about bodies, so someone may lose 10 pounds on this diet, whereas you might lose 2 or 5 pounds. That being said, this is not a “crash diet” and is only meant to be done as a reset for your gut and overall health. 

Where Can I Shop for Bone Broth?

This diet recommends making your own bone broths at home. However, if you have any specialty grocery stores around you, you will likely find bone broth in a shop near you. Alternatively, you can choose to shop online at Amazon or shop directly for Kellyann Petrucci’s bone broth through her shop site.

Is There a Difference Between Regular Broth or Stock and Bone Broth?

Yes, there is! The main difference is that regular broths or stocks are not simmered with bones for an extended period of time, and more importantly, bone broth is made from pasture-raised animals. 

Conclusion

The diet begins with a 2-day fast of bone broth, followed by a paleo 5-day low-carb, high fat diet. It is based on the idea that bone broth can help reduce body fat ultimately losing weight, boosting your immune system, improving health, and function optimally. This diet promises to help you lose up to 15 pounds in 21 days while it claims to be a safe, easy to follow, nutritionally sound, affordable, and effective diet.

A bone broth diet is a good way to lose weight because it reduces the amount of sugar and carbohydrates that you consume each day. It provides a lot of protein, which leaves you feeling fuller longer. It also helps your body absorb nutrients from the foods you eat instead of just passing them through your system, promoting your overall health.

Before deciding whether the Bone Broth Diet is right for you, it’s best to understand what you may be getting into. Expectations that are too high are a common cause of disappointment. This diet works for some people, but not everyone. It isn’t because the diet is bad; it’s because your body type and preferences are unique.

This diet is a good way to jump-start a healthier lifestyle. By incorporating this into your regular routine, you will see a dramatic difference in the way that your body looks and feels. If you are ready to make a health change in your life, then this may be the solution for you!

Resources

[1] Peters, Melanie. 30 August 2018. Taking Stock: the Health and Hype of Bone Broth Health Line. 21 October 2021. Web. https://health.ucsd.edu/news/features/Pages/20118-09-10-recipes-talking-stock-health-and-hype-of-bone-broth.aspx

[2] Petrucci, Kellyann. 14 December 2013. Immunity-Building Vegetable Broth. dr. Kellyann. 22 October 2021. Web. https://drkellyann.com/blogs/recipes/immune-building-vegetable-broth

[3] The Nutrition Source. Collagen. Web. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/collagen/

[4] Beswick, Kyle. 03 February 2020. Bone Broth: Is It Good for You? Cedar Sinai. 24 October 2021. Web. https://www.cedars-sinai.org/blog/bone-broth.html#:~:text=All%20of%20this%20sounds%20great,Patient%20and%20Family%20Support%20Program.

[5] M.H. Shaw and N.E. Flynn. 2019. AMINO ACID CONTENT OF BEEF, CHICKEN AND TURKEY BONE BROTH. Journal of Undergraduate Chemistry Research. 24 October 2021. PDF. https://www.westmont.edu/sites/default/files/users/user1231/V19No4/Nick%20Flynn_final.pdf

[6] Food and Nutrition Research. Essential and toxic metals in animal bone broths. Web. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5533136/

About the Author

Nathan

Nathan has been a fitness enthusiast for the past 12 years and jumps between several types of training such as bodybuilding, powerlifting, cycling, gymnastics, and backcountry hiking. Due to the varying caloric needs of numerous sports, he has cycled between all types of diets and currently eats a whole food diet. In addition, Nathan lives with several injuries such as hip impingement, spondylolisthesis, and scoliosis, so he underwent self-rehabilitation and no longer lives with debilitating pain.