Does Coffee Stunt Your Growth?

Does Coffee Stunt Your Growth?

March 18, 2023

Let's find out once and for all!

We are continuing to bust some coffee myths and we often get the questions around one of the classic sayings we all heard growing up. Does coffee stunt your growth? 

There has long been a misconception that coffee hinders growth in kids and teenagers. Since this myth has been spread for many years, many parents have told their kids not to consume coffee. But is there any basis for this assertion?

According to a number of university research studies, the answer is no. In fact, the idea that coffee stunts growth is nothing more than a myth. Let's take a look at some of the evidence.

A study published in the Journal of Pediatrics in 1994 found that there was no association between caffeine consumption and decreased bone mass or growth in children. The study followed 81 boys and girls between the ages of 12 and 14 for two years and found no evidence that caffeine intake affected their growth or bone density.

Another study that tracked 81 girls between the ages of 12 and 18 and was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2001 revealed that caffeine intake had no impact on either of the girls' bone mass or height. According to the study's authors, adolescent girls' bone mass and growth are unaffected by moderate coffee consumption. 

The impact of caffeine on the growth and development of kids and teenagers was examined in a more recent study that was published in the International Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology in 2010. According to the study, children and adolescents' height, weight, or body mass index (BMI) were not significantly affected by coffee consumption.

Since that coffee doesn't slow down growth, whence did this belief originate? The misconception is said to have started from early research that linked coffee consumption to a reduction in calcium absorption. Lack of calcium can result in restricted growth because calcium is a crucial mineral for bone development. Further research dispelled the notion by showing that coffee consumption has no appreciable impact on calcium absorption.

In conclusion, there is no scientific foundation for the claim that coffee inhibits adolescent and child growth. The misconception probably originated from a misinterpretation of early studies on the absorption of calcium and caffeine. Hence, if you enjoy drinking coffee, you don't need to be concerned about your height or the height of your kids. If you drink coffee in moderation, it won't stop you from growing.

Check out this video from out this clip from an interview we did with Robert Laprairie, PhD, he speaks to the coffee myth of does coffee stunt your growth! Dr Robert is Associate Professor and Research Chair in Drug Discovery and Development College of Pharmacy and Nutrition University of Saskatchewan.