Coffee stunts growth?

Dear Alice,

People always say that coffee stunts your growth, does coffee actually have an effect on your growth?

Dear Reader,

Rest assured that your latte habit has no effect on your height. Research doesn't appear to support the claim that caffeine stunts your growth. The only exception might be for children whose mothers consume too much caffeine during pregnancy. As a result, pregnant women are often advised to cut back on caffeine.

Although it won't make you short, caffeine does have some side effects (see Caffeine's effects on health for more info), so it's not a bad idea to be aware of how much caffeine is in your diet. As is the case with other substances you put in your body, moderation may be the best advice when it comes to caffeine use.

Too much caffeine may cause:

  • Nervousness
  • Restlessness
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure

Some research studies suggest other reasons that caffeine be avoided, especially in children:

  • Caffeine is addictive and stopping caffeine may cause withdrawal symptoms.
  • Caffeine can dehydrate the body since it's a diuretic.
  • Drinking sugary caffeinated beverages can increase the risk of cavities.
  • Caffeinated beverages usually don't contain vitamins or minerals.
  • Caffeine can cause the body to excrete more calcium. Compensating for this with other sources of calcium can help protect bone health.

So, height aside, you may want to think about your next coffee or energy drink. Although it may help you stay up to cram for your next test, it can have some intense side effects.

Last updated Jun 01, 2015
Originally published Oct 10, 2008

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