Scarborough Fair Study Reconfirms The Osteoporosis Reversal Program: Diets Rich In Fruits, Vegetables, And Herbs, Reduce Bone Turnover, Helping To Prevent And Reverse Osteoporosis And Osteopenia - Save Our Bones

More than half a century ago, iconic duo Simon and Garfunkel re-popularized the folk song Scarborough Fair. The lyrics set to an English melody that dates back to Medieval times include the words, “parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme.” And when scientists embarked on a study to research the effects of fruits, vegetables, and herbs on bone health, they appropriately decided to name their work the Scarborough Fair Study.

Back in 2013, researchers in New Zealand launched the Scarborough Fair Study to assess the effect of a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and herbs on bone health. The study confirmed that these simple dietary changes reduce bone turnover, inflammation, and urinary calcium excretion. This further confirms the nutritional protocol of the Osteoporosis Reversal Program.

Today we’ll take an in-depth look at the Scarborough Fair Study, including the specific foods that were included in it, and more.

How And Why Fruits And Vegetables Lead To Better Bone Health

What is bone turnover? As in business, where “turnover” refers to the rate at which employees are replaced within a company, turnover in your bones refers to the rate at which bone is remodeled, where old bone is replaced with new, younger, more resilient bone.

Bone remodeling consists of two processes: bone loss or resorption, and new bone formation or deposition. Like everything else in nature, healthy bone depends on the balance between the two. In adults, approximately 5 to 10 percent of bone tissue is replaced in one year.

Savers know that a pH-balanced diet automatically increases fruit and vegetable consumption. The Scarborough Fair Study explains how this simple dietary modification benefits bones and reduces osteoporosis risk in exactly the same way as the Program. Quoting from the study:

“The chronic, low-grade metabolic acidosis induced by the modern, Western diet is exacerbated during ageing when renal function begins to decline, requiring the body's skeletal reserves to be called upon to relinquish bicarbonate to produce alkaline buffers needed to continuously balance the acid load. This results in bone mass that is worn away gradually and indefinitely after the age of 30 years, accelerating at menopause to lower bone strength and mineral density. F/V’s [fruits and vegetables] influence on acid–base balance is crucial as the sole dietary source of alkaline precursor constituents and is an important reason to recommend increased consumption during ageing to forestall bone loss.”1

Not surprisingly to Savers, the study concludes the following:

“In conclusion, this is the first study showing increased intake of a selection of vegetables/herbs and fruit decreased bone formation (P1NP) and resorptive (CTX) markers (osteopenic women). Lowered dietary PRAL was associated with urinary calcium conservation in intervention Groups A and B compared to control diet Group C. Downward modulation of bone turnover markers suggests that the additive effect of active phytochemical agents present in the SF selection of vegetables/herbs and fruit reduces bone turnover, particularly in those women with osteopenia.”2

This is not the first study that confirms the Osteoporosis Reversal Program protocol. An earlier meta-analysis of no fewer than 14 scientific studies all affirmed that we were on-point from the start. These studies prove that the typical Western diet, high in saturated fats, animal protein, and empty calories such as fast food causes excess acidity, which leads to bone loss. On the other hand, fruits and vegetables provide potassium bicarbonate, which neutralizes acidosis, creating an alkaline effect on the body's pH, therefore helping to retain valuable buffering minerals in bone.3


The Scarborough Fair study further confirms the Osteoporosis Reversal Program protocol: that a pH-balanced diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, and herbs, is natural and effective for preventing and reversing osteoporosis and osteopenia.

Connecting The Dots With Healthy Foods

To build stronger and more resilient, fracture-resistant bones, here’s how you need to connect the dots:

  1. A diet low in fruits and vegetables leads to an acid blood pH.
  2. An acid pH robs essential nutrients from bone.
  3. Bone density decreases, increasing the risk of osteoporosis and osteopenia.
  4. Weaker bones can result in fractures.

The first step to reversing this downward spiral, as a number of scientific studies have confirmed, is increasing your intake of fruits, vegetables, and healing herbs.


Building better bones is a matter of understanding the reasons why bone loss occurs, and applying the natural steps to prevent it and/or reverse it. By boosting your intake of fruits, vegetables and herbs recommended in the Scarborough Fair Study, you decrease acidity, inflammation, and oxidative stress in your body, which leads to healthy, denser, and stronger bones.

The Scarborough Fair Foods

Below are the the fruits, vegetables, and herbs that study subjects who obtained the best results (Group B) consumed for three months during the Scarborough Fair Study. They were instructed to increase their intake of those foods to at least nine servings per day. Each serving consisted of 80 grams or 2.8 ounces of the fruits and vegetables and one teaspoon of the herbs.

Quoting from the study:

“The women in the dietary intervention were randomly assigned to one of the two arms of the study. Both groups consumed ≥ 9 servings/day of fruit/vegetables and selected herbs but the diet of each group emphasised different fruit/vegetables/herbs with one group (B) selecting from a range of vegetables, fruit and culinary herbs with bone resorbing inhibiting properties. 50 women formed a negative control group (Group C usual diet).”1

The researchers concluded that:

“Intervention Groups A and B had decreased PRAL, increased urine pH and significantly decreased urinary calcium loss. Urinary potassium increased in all groups, reflecting a dietary change. In conclusion, Group B demonstrated positive changes in both turnover markers and calcium conservation.”2

The list below shows that most of the foods that helped to obtain the best study results are Foundation Foods listed in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program:

9 Fruits And Vegetables:

6 Herbs:

  • Parsley*
  • Sage
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Dill
  • Garlic

* Foundation Food

It is relevant to mention here that study participants were advised to add one leafy green vegetable to their plate every day for the Vitamin K benefit.4 Aside from their powerful alkalizing effect on serum pH, leafy greens are calcium and polyphenol-rich foods.


The Scarborough Fair study study subjects with the best results consumed a total of 9 servings of selected fruits, vegetables (each serving consisting of 80 grams or 2.8 ounces), and herbs (each serving consisting of 1 teaspoon) to achieve an 80/20 alkalizing vs. acidifying balance. This dietary modification was shown to buffer serum acidification, helping to retain and increase bone density, conserve calcium, and reducing inflammation.

Boning Up Is Nutritious, Delicious, And Easy

Aside from their powerful alkalizing effect on serum pH, fruits and vegetables contain valuable micronutrients and polyphenols. So make sure you eat plenty of Foundation Foods and balance their consumption ensuring that you eat more of these foods than acidifying foods, such as animal proteins and grains.

If you haven’t yet, consider getting started on a bone-smart pH-balanced diet, knowing that it’s been scientifically proven over and over.

Stop Worrying About Your Bone Loss

Join thousands of Savers from around the world who have reversed or prevented their bone loss naturally and scientifically with the Osteoporosis Reversal Program.

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1 Caroline A. Gunn et. al. “Increased Intake of Selected Vegetables, Herbs and Fruit may Reduce Bone Turnover in Post-Menopausal Women”, Nutrients 2015, 7, 2499-2517. Web:

2 Caroline A Gunn et al., “Midlife women, bone health, vegetables, herbs and fruit study. The Scarborough Fair study protocol”,BMC Public Health. 2013; 13: 23. Published online 2013 Jan 10. Doi. Web.

3 HM Macdonald et al., “Low dietary potassium intakes and high dietary estimates of net endogenous acid production are associated with low bone mineral density in premenopausal women and increased markers of bone resorption in postmenopausal women.”Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Apr;81(4):923-33. Web.

4 Binkley NC et al., “A high phylloquinone intake is required to achieve maximal osteocalcin gamma-carboxylation”, Am J Clin Nutr. 2002 Nov;76(5):1055-60.Web.

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Comments on this article are closed.

  1. Mary Jo

    Is the water we drink acidified ? I just heard there is a filter they are selling takes the acid out of water with many health benefits.

  2. Karen

    I have severe osteoporosis and do eat a lot of collard greens , kale ,spinach, parsley and coriander. I make a green drink. Ialso add Granny Smith apple, strawberry and beet crystals with clean water. Everything is organic.. Is This helping my bones?

    Thank you, Karen

  3. Anne

    I like to drink carbonated (sparkling) water is this bad for my bones.

    • Save Institute Customer Support

      Hi Anne,

      Please check your inbox for an email from Customer Support.

  4. Beverly

    Why don’t you post the actual research. I must have missed that link. I appreciate you explaining it all in layman’s terms but please send me a link to the actual Scarborough fair research paper
    Thank you kindly

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Hi Beverly,

      If you’ll take a look under the References at the bottom of the article, you’ll see a link to the study under #1. 🙂

  5. Claudia

    Must the term “lettuce” be taken literally as “Boston,” “Romaine,” etc. or can it be generalized to mean other leafy greens such as kale, collards etc. This could be important to me because I am unable to eat more than a bite or two of tomato, broccoli, oranges or prunes with a few down days in between. I’m ok with cucumbers if juiced (and I do that a lot) or just a bite or two. I do like and eat all of the spices though.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Hi Claudia,

      Lettuce refers to leaf lettuce, such as Romaine, which is a Foundation Food on the Program. It does not include other greens such as kale or collards.

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