Does Coffee Make you Short?

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.


6 thoughts on “Does Coffee Make you Short?

  1. Katherine Yuen

    I’ve recently stopped drinking coffee as much as I used to, but a year ago there were days when I would drink a large iced coffee and a Red Bull in the same day (camp counselor probs). I was definitely at least somewhat addicted to caffeine because when I stopped drinking coffee, I had to throw back the Advil in order to survive the day. I found an article which goes into depth about how our brain develops this addiction to caffeine and coffee. It’s crazy to think that something so many people drink casually could really be an addiction.

  2. David Ross

    I am already short so drinking caffeine (even if it does actually make people short) wouldn’t affect me in this way. I found this blog incredibly interesting because I have noticed that teens and college students are relying on caffeine more and more. This article almost leads me to believe that when our generation becomes older, more of us will have osteoporosis. If that does in fact happen then caffeine could be the next cigarette. Whenever our kids walk past someone drinking coffee, they’ll judge that person and question how they could be doing that to their body. Just a thought.

  3. dhc5097

    This is a very interesting blog post. I personally have never heard that coffee makes you shorter and personally do not drink coffee to begin with but many of my friends do, starting as early as middle school. I stumbled across this article called “12 Health Benefits and 6 Disadvantages of Coffee.” I did not know coffee also helps you lose weight.

    Read more:

  4. Madeline Elizabeth Dittrich

    Wow, what an interesting article to read! I myself am not a coffee drinker, but many of my close friends are addicted to it! I must admit that I, too, believed the old wives tale that coffee stunts your growth. However, now that I think about it, it really does seem unlikely! For example, my dad, who drinks 3 cups of coffee each day, is about 6’3″. so it really seems unlikely that coffee can have this type of effect on people! Here is a link to an article explaining the pros and cons of coffee: check it out.

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