It’s an age-old myth that coffee stunts growth. Those who don’t believe it without proper proof have had the question “does coffee stunt your growth” in their mind for quite a long time. And the answer is:
It’s just a myth! But where does this myth come from, and how true is it?
Today, that’s what we’re going to find out.
Origin Of The Myth
The origin of this myth has not yet been determined. But, most possibly, it came from the idea that caffeine reduces bone mass, and this idea comes from a study that was performed decades ago.
The study showed a relationship between people who drink coffee and people who lack calcium in their bones, causing a lower bone density. But this study wasn’t valid since they used elderly people as test subjects who were already lacking in calcium counts.
Another reason is the company called “Postum” and their false advertising. Back in 1933, Postum created a product without caffeine in it, and they marketed coffee as an “evil drink” and “nerve poison” so they could corner the market.
Though their idea didn’t go as planned, the idea that coffee was bad for both children and adults stuck for decades and is still around today.
So How True Is It?
Though coffee will not halt a person’s growth entirely, there are various other effects of coffee and caffeine on the growth and development of a person.
- Drinking overly sweetened drinks can cause children to be overweight.
- Teenagers can lose sleep if they regularly use caffeine, causing their growth hormone release to decrease.
- High caffeine intake causes anxiety levels to rise in teenagers and adults.
- Caffeinated energy drink usage of older adolescents is associated with alcohol use.
- Consuming caffeine can sometimes be associated with the baby’s size being bigger than usual and cause the baby to be overweight during the early years.
The True Causes Of Height Loss
- The most common issue that causes height loss is Osteoporosis, a condition that fractures and compresses the bone structure, causing an adult to lose height. But other reasons can cause a loss of height over the years.
- Osteoporosis can also lead to worse conditions like Scoliosis, where the spine curves, or Kyphosis, where the spine bends forward as you age more. These conditions can also lead to height loss.
- Most of your spinal bones, named “vertebrae,” have water. As you age, the bones keep losing water, causing the bones to compress a little. When enough of your bones are crammed, you’ll notice a height loss when older.
Caffeine Intake Recommendation Growing Teens and Younger Adults
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends only one 8-ounce cup of coffee (100 mg) for teens 12-18 years old, though they don’t have recommendations for how much children should drink coffee.
The following chart is a recommendation from Health Canada for caffeine intake for children and young adults:
|Age Threshold||Caffeine Intake Recommendation (Per Day)|
|12-18 Years||2.5mg/kg of body weight|
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The Benefits And Risks Of Coffee
Coffee has its fair share of risks, but its benefits outweigh them.
Several pieces of research have concluded that coffee decreases the risk of several diseases, which include:
- Arrhythmia (Irregular heartbeats)
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Different Cancer Types
- Liver disease, including liver cancer
- Parkinson’s disease
- Type 2 diabetes
Aside from the resistance boost, coffee boosts your performance (both in academic and athletic fields) and helps you with weight loss.
While coffee can help you out in so many ways, if you’re caffeine sensitive, you’ll feel a few adverse effects of caffeine in your system, including:
- Elevated levels of stress and anxiety
- Elevated blood pressure
- Jittery Feeling
Too much of anything is never good, and that goes for coffee. Too much caffeine can ruin your natural sleep cycle balance and has a rare case of causing miscarriage.
Ways To Optimize Your Bone Health
Your body height is your genetics and not your morning coffee habit. If your friends think coffee is the issue, you don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.
Though genetics is the factor that determines the height of you and the younger ones, malnutrition can stunt growth in children to an extent.
Here’s how you can ensure that you don’t end up like this later on:
The two most beneficial elements for your bones are Vitamin D and Calcium. Calcium is suitable for your bone, and Vitamin D helps you absorb the calcium you ingest via different food and supplements, like milk or dairy products.
Calcium builds up your bone and teeth structure. In fact, 99% of your body’s calcium is in your teeth and bones.
The best source of Vitamin D is to drink food, orange juice, and take breakfast cereals. Of course, you can always go out and get some sun on your skin to naturally produce vitamin D in your body to make it easier.
This one’s sure to appeal to all the gym bros out there.
You stress your muscles by lifting weights, and your muscles adapt to the process by growing stronger and larger.
The same can be said for bones too. Your bones also evolve slowly to become stronger and build a higher resistance by lifting weights.
Your bones develop higher calcium density when you introduce your body to mild weight resistance training with free weights or weight machines. This can help you when you’re older.
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There will always be myths about certain things that are “bad” or “evil .” But, of course, not all myths are true, and doing your own research is always essential.
Coffee can have adverse effects, but monitoring the right amount of caffeine dose for you (if you’re in the early/ late teens) or for your children (if you’re an adult) can actually support growth, not stunt it. So enjoy your coffee within the safe limits.
Though unmoderated coffee consumption can cause harmful effects in children, there’s no proof that drinking coffee stunts the growth of children and teenagers, so it’s just a myth that’s never been proven.
Children can start drinking coffee even at the early age of 4, but the amount of coffee given to children has to be strictly monitored by the parents.
There’s a list of the amount of caffeine that is safe for children of different ages made by Health Canada. You can refer to the chart for easier understanding.
For any adult, drinking 2-3 cups of coffee a day is normal. The “reasonable amount” depends on their age and overall physical condition when it comes to kids and teenagers.
There have been rumors around for decades that are just false accusations about how coffee is a drink that causes many negative things to the human body, including stunting a person’s growth. Sadly, many people still believe in this myth, where the belief comes from.