Will This Coffee Stunt My Growth?
Many of us have heard, probably many times, that drinking coffee will stunt our growth. It seems like this saying is double downed on when it's applied to kids and teens that may want to try coffee. But is this a factual and true saying? Or is this one of those old wives' tales that has gained a lot of traction as truth but is off the mark? Lets dive into it and see what we can find!
Kids and Teens are very curious about coffee. This is probably because they see their parents, relatives, and family friends drinking coffee and talking about how good it is or how they need it to function. With that talk and exposure, it's natural for kids and teens to be intrigued and want to drink and experience coffee. But in America, parents tend to shy away from allowing their kids and teens to drink coffee. Often the phrase, it will stunt your growth is used to help keep kids and teens away. According to Bethany Ramos in her 2012 article How Caffeine Affects Kids: Global Coffee Culture Influences, Bethany mentions that although American households may shy away from giving kids coffee, many in Latin America embrace giving kids coffee by mixing it with warm milk and serving it at breakfast. Yet, is growth stunted in Latin America because kids and teens drink coffee?
Did the phrase coffee will stunt your growth come from old studies that tried to show coffee depleted calcium and led to bone density reduction and osteoporosis? These studies were often used and quoted for the demonizing of coffee for kids and teens. Yet should they have been? Harvard Medical School studied this and in their paper, Can Coffee Really Stunt Your Growth? published in 2015, they stated that these studies were flawed and had faulty reasoning, that coffee did not and does not lead to osteoporosis or bone density reduction. The approach that osteoporosis affects the bones of kids and teens, thus will stunt your growth is bogus.
Sleep Medicine Specialist and Neurologist Brandon Peters, MD talks about an interesting theory about sleep and caffeine from coffee leading to stunted growth but this isn't proven. In his article Drinking Coffee and Stunt Growth in Children and Teens, Dr. Peters theorizes that coffee drank later in the day may cause sleep difficulties. These difficulties reduce slow-wave sleep and the production of growth hormone. Dr. Peters states there is no research into this and to test on children and teens would be unethical so at this point, this is a very interesting theory. John Hopkins All Children's Hospital released a paper called Does Coffee Stunt Your Growth? and they also mention that too much caffeine may interrupt your normal sleep so there may be some merit to this even if it's yet to be proven.
DOES COFFEE STUNT YOUR GROWTH, EVEN IN KIDS & TEENS?...
The Answer: NO. No, coffee WILL NOT stunt your growth! According to the BeanPoster over at The Roasterie Air-Roasted Coffee and the article Myth or Fact? Does Coffee Stunt Your Growth in 2013, they stated that like many old wives tales about coffee, no one really knows where or how this one came to actually be.
Letting your kids or teens have a sip or two of your coffee is not going to cause any harm to them and definitely is not going to stunt their growth. You may not want to allow too much coffee or caffeine to be consumed as it may affect their sleep (an article on coffee and sleep will be coming in the future). Just like anything in life, moderation and common sense go a long way! Enjoy your coffee and allow your kids to enjoy a small taste of what brings you happiness!
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