Coffee is widely used because of its energizing and sweet aroma. For many of you, when you were growing up, you might have heard this from your parents when you tried to sip their coffee when you were a child.
They took advantage of this saying to shield their coffee. That coffee will stunt your growth. And, now that you have grown up, it is clear whether this statement was true or just manipulation.
Many advertisements in that error also portrayed the same information about coffee. They linked coffee with low absorption of calcium in the body, and calcium is used in the formation of bones, leading to short children.
Coffee is the most consumed caffeine beverage among the elderly and the second most consumed beverage among adolescents and youths after energy drinks.
If coffee, as said, causes stunt growth, with such a high consumption among the youths, it shows that we will have a lot of short human beings in the future.
To answer the question of whether coffee causes stunt growth with one word, it is a NO. However, there are other health effects associated with drinking excessive caffeine in children and young people.
Where did the idea come from?
Like when there is a new phenomenon in society, people start speculating about it to fill the information gap that they have.
The same applies to a new product when introduced to the market. The competitors will take advantage of that knowledge gap and create myths that discourage the product’s consumption in the market. And those were the main source of the myths about coffee.
When coffee was introduced into the market, it was given a bad reputation because it was a stimulant. And this made many leaders ban coffee consumption in their regions.
The myths are also believed to have originated from C.W. Post, the creator of the Post cereals. The purpose of creating this myth was out of business interest to subdue the competition from the coffee in the market.
Post was manufacturing a cereal-based drink known as Postum, which they claimed was a caffeine-free beverage.
They were trying to persuade the population that the Postum drink was friendly to children while attacking coffee.
He proposed that coffee had many negative health effects on the children, such as tiredness and irritability that made the children fail in their academics and stunt the growth and development of bones.
Since the coffee was new in the market and no research had been done, people believed in that advertisement and held to it that coffee stunted growth and was good for consumption by children.
Does coffee stunt your growth?
So let us look at the truth, does coffee stunt your growth? we are going to look at what scientists say and what experts say.
What does science say?
According to the ancient research by the scientist, it claimed that absorption of caffeine in the body, which is in coffee, could lead to:
- Decrease in the absorption of calcium in the body, causing low bone density.
- Due to weak bones caused by low absorption of calcium in the body, the hip bones could fracture.
- There would be low calcium retention in the body.
According to recent research, a study involving 81 women of ages 12-18 over six years showed no difference in bone structure and density between those who had a high intake of caffeine and those who had a low consumption.
Calcium is one of the most crucial minerals in the body of human beings, especially at a young age, when there is gradual growth.
Calcium is used in the development and formation of bones in the body. Calcium makes 98% of the components of the bones in the body.
It is not only important to the children but also in every category of age. According to the scientist, the bones of a human being continue to remodel throughout their life.
This means that the bones break and form new patterns from time to time, creating the need for enough calcium in the body, even for the elderly.
There must be constant intake and absorption of calcium in the body for this process to occur so that you may have strong bones.
There is also a category of a scientist who believes that there is a connection between the consumption between caffeine and the absorption of calcium in the body.
However, their solution is simple, and you just have to consume between one to two tbsp of milk to balance the caffeine.
What do the experts say?
Since scientists have shown no relationship between the consumption of caffeine in the body and the absorption of calcium in the body, the experts have been forced to believe it.
The experts claim that there is not enough evidence to prove that coffee causes stunt growth in young people.
However, they still discourage excessive consumption of coffee as it may lead to anxiety and increase the heart rate.
Even though the experts second that there is no relation between the height and consumption of caffeine, they still prohibit caffeine consumption among young children under 12 years.
For those between 12 to 18 years, the experts propose that they should not exceed 100mg daily of coffee.
Canada has more specified categories of ages and their preferred prescriptions. Children between four to six years should not exceed 45 mg daily.
Between seven and nine years, they should not exceed 62.5mg daily. Between 10 to 12 should not exceed 85 mg in a day, and those between 12 to 18, should not exceed 100 mg in a day.
What can affect your growth?
So, if caffeine cannot stunt growth in human beings, what then can?
Poor nutrition during the infancy period will affect the child even in adulthood. Poor nutrition in an infant can be a result of a poor diet or a sickness that can alter the absorption of nutrients in the child’s body.
Poor nutrition during the infancy period is disastrous in a child’s life, for the child may fail ever to recover in their life; it has a lifetime impact even in the elderly age.
The endocrine system produces hormones in the body. At some times, especially during adolescence, a hormone disorder can inhibit the production of some essential hormones in the growth of a child, causing the child to be smaller than their peers.
There is a popular saying that sleep is a part of a diet for a child. It is essential in the growth of the muscles and bones and the multiplication of body cells in the infancy period of a child.
Coffee is a stimulant that interferes with the sleeping patterns of a child. When a child drinks coffee before they go to sleep, they will suffer from sleeplessness, which can inhibit their growth.
This is a problem most common in developing countries. Poor sanitation exposes children to bacteria, making the child’s body spend a lot of mineral resources on fighting bacteria other than on growth.
Stunted growth should be a great concern to parents, experts, scientists, and the government as it has a lot of effects in adulthood.
Once stunted growth has occurred in a child, recovery is impossible; the child has to live in that condition for the rest of their life.
Should children avoid coffee?
The effects of coffee on the health of children are controversial. It has negative and positive sides; it depends on usage.
Coffee contains many antioxidants, which reduce many diseases, and it also contains caffeine, a stimulant that can cause sleeping problems.
Benefits of coffee
Here are some benefits of drinking coffee.
It contains essential nutrients and antioxidants
Coffee is rich in many nutrients and antioxidants that help prevent many diseases. It contains vitamin B2, Vitamin B5, thiamine, niacin, folate, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium.
Caffeine enhances brain functionality and metabolism
Coffee is the most known source of caffeine in the world; others are tea and chocolate. When caffeine gets into the brain, it inhibits adenosine production, an inhibitory neurotransmitter.
This causes the brain to increase its activities to produce other neurotransmitters such as dopamine and norepinephrine, which reduces the feeling of tiredness and keeps the brain more active.
Caffeine in coffee also boosts the metabolism of the body by 12%
This helps burn fats in the body by increasing the body’s oxidation rate. It is essential in athletic performance.
Coffee can reduce the risk of liver diseases
The liver is one of the most important organs in the body and has more than 100 functions. Alcohol and fructose are the main contaminants of the liver and the body that leads to liver diseases.
It has been scientifically proven that coffee drinkers have less than a 20% chance of suffering from cirrhosis.
It has been proved that it also reduces the risk of liver cancer by 40%, which is one of the most dangerous killer diseases in the world.
Like drugs in medication, excessive consumption of coffee can have serious effects on the health of a human being, stunting growth not being one of them.
Therefore, it is very important to take in the right amounts of coffee to avoid adverse health effects.