Do we need more calcium in order to avoid osteoporosis, the progressive thinning of bones in the elderly?

In the West we are certainly told so. The dairy industry vigorously promotes the suggestion that without its products we face an unpleasant and probably shrunken future.

Yet the data uncovered in China do not support this view. Although most Chinese consume little if any dairy and ingest low amounts of calcium in general, they appear to be at a much lower risk for this potentially disabling disease. Hip fractures, for example, are only about one-fifth of what they are in the West – a striking difference.

Is it because the Chinese are more physically active? Or that they possibly adapt to a low-calcium diet? Or perhaps because they eat far less protein than we do in the West?

We do know that high protein intakes result in calcium loss through the urine. High-protein [...]