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Does Coffee Stunt Your Growth? Answers & Health Facts

Does Coffee Stunt Your Growth? Answers & Health Facts

Clark
7 minute read

There have been some rumors flying around that coffee can stunt your growth. (We’re lookin’ at you, Cher Horowitz in Clueless.) Many parents tell their kids coffee is bad for them for this reason. Is there any truth to the rumor, or has coffee gotten a bad rap?

Scientists have worked to shed light on the coffee-and-height conundrum. Through careful studies, they’ve been able to illuminate how coffee may affect a child’s growth. Read on to see if this argument is science-backed or an urban legend.

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Does caffeine have an effect on growth?

Let’s dispel the rumor: no, coffee does not stunt your growth. That’s just an old wives’ tale. There is no scientific evidence that coffee consumption is linked to how tall you’ll be.

Why do people think coffee stunts growth? According to Smithsonian Magazine, we may have to thank some very effective advertising. 

In the early 1900s, ads for a breakfast drink called Postum condemned coffee as an evil drink that would harm children’s health and slow their growth. It seems that the false claims about coffee made a lasting mark — some people still believe them today.

There has also been some concern that coffee might lead to osteoporosis, shrinking your height as you lose bone mass. Most studies have shown no link between coffee and osteoporosis.

The caffeine in coffee doesn’t stunt your growth, either. Caffeine affects calcium absorption, making it harder for the body to get the calcium it needs to build bones. Despite these effects, most studies show caffeine doesn’t actually affect adult bone density or strength.

Caffeine doesn’t appear to affect kids’ bone growth either. Kids who drink caffeinated beverages like soda or energy drinks don’t have less bone mass than their caffeine-avoiding peers.

Is it safe for my child to drink coffee?

Just because coffee doesn’t stunt kids’ growth doesn’t mean it’s safe for kids to drink excessive amounts of coffee. Small amounts of coffee won’t harm your kid, but the effects of caffeine in kids are pretty strong.

Kids who drink a lot of caffeine tend to have more anxiety. Large amounts of caffeine can also make kids restless and inattentive. They can also go through caffeine withdrawal if they suddenly stop drinking caffeine, which can cause physical and behavioral problems.

In short, yes, it is safe for your child to drink coffee, but keep a watchful eye on the amount they have.

Health Problems Linked To Coffee

Almost all of the side effects of coffee are directly linked to caffeine. Too much caffeine can make people feel jittery and can cause problems like:

Large amounts of coffee and caffeine can raise blood pressure if consumed in excess. But, if you drink coffee regularly, your body adapts, and it doesn’t affect your blood pressure.

OB-GYNs strongly recommend limiting caffeine intake during pregnancy. Consuming lots of caffeine is associated with higher miscarriage risk and low birth weight. Caffeine can pass into breast milk, too, so nursing moms may want to limit caffeine as well.

What does coffee do to teens? Coffee can have more than one effect on teens. Coffee can help with concentration in moderate amounts. However, too much can lead to headaches and sleep problems. It’s generally safe for teens to drink 100mg of caffeine, or one cup of coffee, daily.

Remember, this doesn’t mean that coffee is overall unsafe, just that it should be consumed within the recommended amounts.

Health Benefits of Coffee

However, unless you’re drinking too much, pregnant, or have specific conditions, the good in coffee may outweigh concerns.

Is coffee good for you? Yes, coffee can be good for you! Coffee has many health benefits, including:

You can grab a cup of joe and feel confident you’re doing something good for your health! Just make sure your child isn’t getting too much of it.

Even though coffee can be beneficial for you, it can still have some negative effects. Coffee can do a number on your digestive system thanks to its high acidity, especially if you have a sensitive stomach.

The best coffee gives you all of the benefits of coffee without the digestive discomfort. That’s where Golden Ratio comes in, making low-acidity coffee with great taste.

How much coffee is safe?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting older children’s caffeine consumption to around 100 mg of caffeine per day. That’s about the same amount of caffeine in an average 8 oz cup of coffee or about 1.5 shots of espresso. Small kids should avoid coffee entirely.

Some countries, like Canada, have specific caffeine intake recommendations for kids based on age. Health Canada recommends the following caffeine limits:

Under age 4 No caffeine recommended
Age 4 to 6 Under 45 mg per day
Age 7 to 9 Under 62.5 mg per day
Age 9 to 12 Under 85 mg per day
Age 13 to 18 Under 2.5 mg/kg body weight

Ideally, adults should have 400 mg or less of caffeine per day, or about 4 regular cups of coffee. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should try to limit their daily caffeine intake to 200 mg or less. 

Is it OK for a 13-year-old to drink coffee? Yes, it’s OK for a 13-year-old to drink small amounts of coffee, but no more than one cup a day.

Ways To Ensure Healthy Growth

Even though coffee doesn’t affect growth and height, other factors do. Genetics have the most significant effect on height:about 80% of height is genetically determined. So, there’s only so much you can do to control your child’s ultimate height.

Proper nutrition is also essential if you want your child to grow to their full potential. Make sure your child is eating enough:

  • Protein: Protein has a considerable effect on height, so make sure your child gets plenty of protein from healthy sources. 
  • Vitamin A: Vitamin A helps our organs function properly, and it supports the immune system, too.
  • Vitamin D: Vitamin D helps bodies absorb calcium, which is essential for growing bones.

Childhood diseases can also have a negative impact on height. Ensure that your kids have good hygiene by encouraging hand washing and limiting the spread of germs can also help kids reach their full genetic height.

Coffee without concerns.

You can breathe easier knowing that coffee isn’t going to stunt your kids’ growth. However, it’s probably not a good idea for little ones to drink significant amounts of coffee because of the caffeine.

If you’re looking for flavorful, health-conscious coffee, you’ve found it. Low on acid and high on flavor, we make our coffee from all certified organic ingredients.

Our Original Gold Coffee is a perennial favorite with its smooth take on your morning cup. Golden Milk Gold Coffee is a new anti-inflammatory favorite that your taste buds and body will both love. Here’s to healthier coffee and your growing kids!

Sources

  1. Coffee Consumption and Risk of Osteoporosis.
  2. Coffee and health: a review of recent human research.
  3. Dietary caffeine intake is not correlated with adolescent bone gain.
  4. Behavioral effects of caffeine in children. Relationship between dietary choice and effects of caffeine challenge.
  5. Effects of caffeine on anxiety and depression.
  6. A study of caffeine consumption and symptoms; indigestion, palpitations, tremor, headache and insomnia.
  7. Coffee, caffeine and blood pressure: a critical review.
  8. Genetics of human height.
  9. Adult height, nutrition, and population health.
  10. Maternal caffeine consumption during pregnancy and the risk of miscarriage: a prospective cohort study.
  11. The association between low birth weight and caffeine consumption during pregnancy.
  12. Effects of coffee consumption on glucose metabolism: A systematic review of clinical trials.
  13. Coffee consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus.
  14. Coffee and tea consumption and the risk of Parkinson's disease.
  15. Alzheimer's disease and coffee: a quantitative review.
  16. Effect of caffeine on the metabolic responses of lipolysis and activated sweat gland density in humans during physical activity.

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