This study was designed to evaluate the effects of elevated fruit and vegetable intake on bone turnover markers. In all, twenty-nine subjects (nine male and twenty female, with a mean age of 32·1 (sem 2·5) years) participated in a 28-week single-arm experimental feeding intervention trial and consumed a prescribed low-fruit and vegetable diet for 6 weeks (depletion-1), a provided high-fruit and vegetable diet for 8 weeks (fruit: 360–560 g; vegetables: 450–705 g), another prescribed low-fruit and vegetable diet for 6 weeks (depletion-2) and then their usual diets for 8 weeks (repletion). Serum bone-related biomarkers were analysed with commercial ELISA kits. Plasma carotenoid levels decreased as a result of the depletion phase and increased with the high-fruit and vegetable diet. Compared with the baseline, depletion-1 resulted in higher serum bone resorption marker C-terminal telopeptide of type 1 collagen (CTX) and lower bone formation marker alkaline phosphatase (BAP) (CTX, 0·68 (sem 0·05) v. 0·97 (sem 0·08) ng/ml and BAP, 10·7 (sem 0·7) v. 9·5 (sem 0·8) µg/l for the baseline and the depletion-1, respectively, P<0·05). High intake of fruit and vegetables decreased serum CTX (P<0·05) to 0·60 (sem 0·04) ng/ml and increased serum BAP to 11·3 (sem 0·7) µg/l (P<0·05), compared with the depletion-1 phase. Serum concentrations of CTX were inversely correlated and those of BAP were positively correlated with blood lycopene. These data show that increased fruit and vegetable consumption at or above federal dietary guidance may be beneficial to bone health.