Does coffee or caffeine stunt growth?
I love coffee. Even when I was little, I loved how my parents’ coffee smelled. But the most that my parents would do is giving me a teaspoonful of coffee. Coffee, they said, would stunt my growth and make me shorter than the rest of the kids.
Now as an adult, I enjoy coffee on a daily basis without my parents nagging at me. But does coffee really stunt your growth? Can you become shorter by drinking coffee?
The premise that coffee stunts growth probably originated from the notion that caffeine makes you lose calcium. Since calcium is the foundation of bones, it is easy to assume that coffee stunts growth. It is in fact true that coffee makes you lose calcium. Normally, your body loses a small amount of calcium through urine. When coffee is consumed, that calcium loss is increased.
But the story gets interesting. Scientists have found that even though coffee increases urine calcium, the amount lost does not increase with more coffee consumed. In fact, not only is the amount of calcium lost in urine limited, the calcium loss is so small that it is easily replenished by a few spoonfuls of milk. What a perfect combination!
So, does drinking coffee make you shorter? The answer is probably not. You simply do not lose significant amount of calcium to impact your health. However, the caffeine content does affect your sleep cycle, which is essential to the natural growth process. Therefore, it is best to have a balanced diet and limit your coffee habits to maximize your growth potential. And always add some milk or cream to your coffee, for both the flavor and the calcium. Also, caffeine does dehydrate you, so make sure to drink plenty of water if you do drink coffee.