For decades, it seems as though it was “common knowledge” that coffee stunts your growth. A mother wouldn’t dream of giving her growing son a cup of coffee for fear that he wouldn’t make it past 5 foot. Despite this popular belief, studies have shown no evidence between the effects of regular caffeine intake and height.
The effects of coffee have been studied far more than any other food or beverage. Archaic experiments suggested the link of over consumption of caffeine to osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is the crippling disease common in elderly people with deteriorating bone mass. Typically, the cause of osteoporosis stems from a long term lack of calcium and vitamin D in the body. According to Harvard Health Publications, caffeine stimulates the body to over produce calcium. The body cannot process the mineral at this speed, and the excess is expelled in the urinary system. Following the calcium overdrive and expulsion, the body is left with minimal to no calcium in the bloodstream. Hypothetically, a consistent calcium deficiency due to excessive caffeine intake could lead to this bone disease. However, trials conducted over a randomized population show little to no decrease in calcium levels of coffee drinkers.
The New York Times followed a longitudinal study that focused on adolescents’ caffeine habits and heights specifically. Of the 81 teens observed, many admitted to consuming the highest amounts of caffeine daily through various drinks such as coffee, soda, energy drinks. After six years of observations, none of the heavy coffee drinkers had a decrease in bone mass in comparison to occasional coffee drinkers.
The old wives’ tale that coffee stunts your growth may be false, but that doesn’t necessarily mean mothers should be shoving coffee down children’s throats. Caffeine accelerates children’s already quick heart rates and may cause insomnia or high blood pressure. Coffee is also highly addictive to children and young adults in comparison to older populations.
But at least it won’t make you short.