Food trends: Bone broth


Move over kale and coconut water – there are some new food trends ready to take centre stage this year. This week we are looking at…Bone Broth

What is it?

While there is nothing new about broth; bone broth has been gaining popularity recently, mainly with followers of the paleo diet, who have spruiked it into a mainstream arena.

Bone broth is made by simmering animal bones (usually chicken or beef) for several hours with vegetables, vinegar, herbs and spices. As the bones are boiled, it’s suggested that the vinegar leeches minerals from the bones creating a nutrition-rich broth containing calcium, magnesium and phosphorus.

But is bone broth just souped up stock?

Benefits Untitled design

Fantastic for preventing food waste; bone broth is a great way to use up leftovers and less common cuts of meat. However, as with most food trends, there is a host of supposed benefits for drinking it; including improved arthritis, digestion, immunity booster and improved appearance of skin and hair. I even found one obscure magazine article that claimed bone broth could help fertility.

Bone broth is high in chondroitin – a suggested remedy for arthritis and joint care.  The good people over at the Cochrane Review have examined all available evidence about how effective chondroitin actually is, and they found it has small to moderate benefits in some people.  However, this was looking at chondroitin as a supplement, not food.  There are varying amounts available in bone broth depending on how it’s made, so the same benefits may not be found in bone broth.

How about proline and glycine?

Proline and glycine are amino acids (the building blocks of protein). I noticed a lot of online material claiming that because bone broth contains these two amino acids it’s considered very nutritious. However, our body can make proline and glycine on its own and doesn’t actually require us to get it in our diet!

Aside from this, there is little evidence on the benefits of the use of bone broth in the diet. I am really not sure where all the claims are coming from! It’s almost like it’s just anecdotal claims mixed in with a bit of marketing hype…


Unless you are making the potentially deadly bone broth recipe created by a popular chef for your child (ahem), a cup of bone broth can be consumed by most people with little ill-effects.

Watch this space, however, as some suggestions have been made that bone broth could increase the risk of lead contamination; at the moment this is just a hypothesis, but worth being aware of.


I’m not a huge meat-eater, so didn’t taste this. Asking around, I was told that it has a pleasant, rich and meaty flavour and tastes great with ginger and chilli added.

The verdict

It’s a cheap, warming drink that can add some flavour and variety in your diet, so make a batch to use up leftovers or to make a tasty sauce, but don’t rely on it to be the answer to all your health problems.

P.s is it just souped up stock? The two are very similar; but bone broth is made with meat on the bone, rather than just the bone that’s used in stock. Plus bone broth is seasoned.

What do you think? Do you swear by it, or think it’s just a glorified meat stock?

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