When it comes to drinking coffee, not only is it a great perk-me-up drink, but it also is known to provide a lot of health benefits like reducing the risk of cancer, helping you lose excess fat, and providing you with that well-needed energy boost. However, there is a question that keeps trending and that is does coffee stunt your growth?
There has been a lot of discourse when it comes to coffee consumption in young adults and whether coffee affects proper bone development. To clarify, this topic mainly centers around kids and teens during their developmental stage. Once you are a full-grown adult, your body stops growing and therefore coffee cannot “stunt” anything.
We will take a look at whether coffee stunts your growth, what is the relation between coffee and human growth, and if it is okay for young adults to consume coffee.
Does Coffee Stunt Your Growth?
Coffee does not stunt your growth. The common belief that a persons’ growth is impacted by coffee is a myth. There is no scientific evidence to support this theory, and the concerns are based on very loose factors.
The main link for coffee affecting growth is caffeine. This is claimed to reduce the body’s ability to absorb calcium, a key nutrient in bone growth and development. However, the key thing to remember is that there is caffeine in most carbonated drinks. Children/teens consume those drinks from a young age and there is no impact on growth with those.
Even the studies that suggested there’s a connection, drew up that the people who consumed coffee also consumed less milk. This means that it’s not the presence of caffeine in their body, but the absence of calcium intake that caused a stunt in growth.
As is stated by Harvard Health Publishing “There is no scientifically valid evidence to suggest that coffee can stunt a person’s growth.”
Does Coffee Make You Short? True or False?
To get things straight, coffee does not in any way stunt your growth or be a contributing factor to height loss. Regardless of the scientific reasons behind this, most teens in their growth stage don’t even consume coffee until they grow up.
This means that even when you are in your late teens, by then you already have reached your growth capacity. So instead of putting the blame on coffee for people’s height, try to consider their genes. The connection between drinking coffee and height loss was never confirmed.
The Story Behind Coffee and Height Loss
There is no definite story about where the claim started, but two theories were proposed. One is that it’s just an old wives’ tale that mothers would tell their children in order to scare them into not drinking coffee.
Another possible reason why the claim became so popular as a marketing tactic made by Postum in 1933; wherein he stated that drinking coffee had an “evil effect” on people where they would experience heart and kidney failure, and nerve damage. He also said that coffee hinders proper growth and development for children.
The reason behind why Postum insisted on the claims was to boost their sales for their caffeine-free drinks and kid-friendly hot beverages.
As with many myths, it only takes one person to start them, and then it’s too late. Misinformed people spread information to friends and family, who spread it further. Without reading about the subject properly, people live their whole lives believing myths. Commonly, the question does coffee stunt your growth? Is believed to be true by many people.
When is the Best Age to Start Drinking Coffee?
Coffee is safe to drink at any age, although it is best to avoid giving it to babies and toddlers. There are no growth impacts caused by drinking coffee, and it can be consumed from a young age.
Coffee is one of the most popular drinks that contain caffeine, and it is a known fact that caffeine helps in boosting energy and making you feel less tired. So if you think about it, do you really think that a 10-year-old kid that already has a lot of energy in them would need an additional boost?
As Toby Amidor, MS, RD, the author of Toby Amidor Nutrition said, “coffee is addictive, and withdrawal symptoms are real, so the later you start, the better”. He also mentioned that too much caffeine intake can cause insomnia, jitteriness, and a lot more health issues. Children only require a small dose of caffeine for those signs to occur.
So again, as you can see, there is conflicting information on this question. The best thing to do is to try out giving your child small amounts of coffee to see how they react. Then go from there.
Contributing Factors to the Theory that Coffee Stunts Growth
1. Caffeine Consumption Hinders Calcium Absorption
One possibility that could have contributed to the claim that coffee will stunt your growth is the theory that the caffeine present in coffee is known to be linked with a decrease in bone mass.
As mentioned by R P Heaney in his article “Effects of caffeine on bone and the calcium economy”, this claim may be explained by the contradictory relationship between the consumption of milk, and beverages that contain caffeine like coffee and sodas.
It’s a known fact that low calcium consumption affects the bones and can contribute to calcium deficiency, so you can see why high levels of caffeine consumption are thought to be an indicator of low calcium absorption.
2. Drinking Coffee Can Cause Osteoporosis
Another point to take into account is that the caffeine present in coffee is theorized as a contributing factor to osteoporosis. Although osteoporosis and growth do not have a direct relationship with each other, in osteoporosis the bones become so fragile and are not able to grow anymore.
A study about the relation between consuming caffeine and osteoporosis from one of the articles of the National Library of Medicine sheds the truth behind coffee being the reason for height loss, and it states that there is no risk factor in caffeine to cause osteoporosis.
Other Coffee Myths to Debunk
1. Drinking Coffee Causes Dehydration
Coffee is not the cause of dehydration. Although it acts as a natural diuretic, it is not enough to cause dehydration. If you live a well-balanced lifestyle and consume water regularly, you will remain hydrated.
2. The Caffeine Present Coffee Will Cause Insomnia
To get things straight, the caffeine present in coffee won’t cause insomnia but drinking coffee later in the day or during the nighttime may contribute to hindering you from sleeping.
The best time to consume coffee is at least 6-7 hours before you plan on sleeping this way, you won’t be affected by caffeine’s energy-boosting properties.
3. Coffee Will Help You Sober Up and Cure Your Hangover
This may sound too good to be true because it is. Coffee might have the capability to make you more alert and less dizzy, but it isn’t the cure for your hangover. The only thing that research has suggested is that people may think drinking coffee after a night of partying will help them sober up, but it won’t.
On that note, are the benefits of coffee and lemon true?
The Final Sip
So does coffee stunt your growth? No, this is a myth, and you should not worry about consuming coffee from a young age. The likely cause of a growth stunt is from a lack of calcium or other health-related issues that should be consulted with a doctor.
Now you don’t need to worry about enjoying your favorite cup of coffee!