Coffee continues to find its name among the most popular caffeinated beverages in different countries. Whether you love this beverage for its aroma, taste, or energizing effects, you eventually find yourself drinking it between your meals. In some countries, like the US, adults consume more coffee than other drinks like soda and tea.
However, time and again, people have often wondered, “Does coffee stunt growth?” Some also believe that coffee may even affect bone structure. In this article, we’ll set the facts straight for you.
Does Coffee Really Stunt Growth In Children?
Contrary to the popular myth, coffee consumption does not affect growth in children. There’s no scientific evidence that coffee would prove adverse to growth in kids and adolescents.
However, it’s worth digging into this misconception and reasoning out the truth. The idea behind caffeinated drinks causing stunted growth may have come from the misconception that it leads to osteoporosis. This is a condition related to loss of height. However, there’s no point blaming the popular beverage for slow growth.
This can be clarified based on two facts.
- Coffee does not lead to osteoporosis.
- Osteoporosis does not necessarily make people short.
In fact, people start consuming these energy drinks mostly after achieving their adult height. By the time you are into your late teens, you have most likely obtained your maximum height. It’s not possible to reverse your height by consuming coffee.
Several decades ago, certain studies reported that people who drink coffee might have a greater risk of osteoporosis. The study suggested that caffeine may increase the rate of elimination of calcium from the body.
In reality, caffeine has very little to do with calcium excretion. The false claims were never confirmed. It appeared that people who drank more coffee missed out on milk and other beverages that contain calcium.
Therefore, it was the deficiency of Vitamin D and calcium among coffee drinkers that exposed them to the risk. Evidently, daily caffeine consumption has nothing to do with growth in kids.
What Are the Causes Of Height Loss?
Osteoporosis comes with certain compression features that may result in a dip in the heights of adults. People can lose height even if they do not have osteoporosis. The discs present below most of the vertebrae contain water. With age, this water content is lost, leading to compression and degeneration of the bones.
In case this affects several discs, a visible decrease in height would be evident. Loss of height is also associated with scoliosis (curved spine) and kyphosis (forward bending of the spine).
However, rather than the presence of caffeine in coffee, these conditions are caused by the deficiency of Vitamin D. With adequate milk and a balanced diet, one can easily overcome these problems. Therefore, caffeine consumption has nothing to do with height loss.
Effects of Coffee on Your Child
Drinking coffee won’t stunt the growth of your child. The physical effects of coffee and caffeine are somewhat different. Have a look at some of the actual effects on the development and growth of kids and adolescents.
- Drinks containing sweetened caffeine affect the body weight of children. This can lead to obesity in some kids.
- Girls consuming caffeinated soft drinks regularly are 50% more likely to experience their periods early, even before they reach the age of 11.
- Coffee can lead to sleep deprivation in teenagers. The drink affects their sleep patterns. Teenagers drinking caffeine just before going to bed get around 40 minutes of less sleep each night.
- Apart from sleep disturbances, high caffeine intake may lead to anxiety in teenagers.
- For middle school students, caffeine consumption through energy drinks may lead to more alcohol use and smoking. In girls, it is associated with other substance use.
What Are the Health Benefits of Coffee?
Now that you are familiar with the adverse effects of coffee, have a look at the positive health effects of the beverage.
The caffeine content is the reason behind coffee’s energizing effects, as it stimulates activity. Daily caffeine intake can minimize the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. It enhances athletic performance and brain function.
This compound serves as an antioxidant, securing the body’s cells from damage. It also helps in weight loss by managing the mass of the body and bone density.
This element of coffee comes with specific anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. Some studies also propose that the compound possesses anti-cancer properties.
Studies carried out on diabetic mice show that trigonelline can lower the level of sugar in the blood. Eventually, it mitigates the harm caused by uncontrolled diabetes.
What Is the Safe Limit of Coffee for You?
The safe caffeine limits largely depend on your age and body mass. From the Harvard Chan School of Public Health, here is a caffeine-per-day intake list to help you out:
- For kids aged between 4 and 6, the maximum caffeine limit should be 45 mg.
- Children aged between 7 and 9 can safely have up to 62.5 mg of caffeine.
- Children between 10 to 12 years of age can have up to 85 mg of coffee daily.
- For adolescents, the caffeine intake ranges between 115 to 200 mg daily, depending on their body weight.
- Adults can have up to 400 mg of coffee daily.
We have presented you with both the positive and negative effects of caffeine in kids. There is no connection between stunted growth in kids and caffeine intake, as evident from numerous studies.
To be on the safe side, it is recommended to ask your doctor or a child specialist if they have a better answer to the question “does coffee stunt growth”. This ensures that you can safely include coffee in the diet of your child without worrying about unconfirmed facts.
Be sure to visit Great Coffee Brewers weekly for more information to help you meet all of your coffee needs.