Does Coffee Stunt Your Growth? Facts vs. Myths

Medically Reviewed on 8/18/2022
Does Coffee Stunt Your Growth? Facts vs. Myths
The idea that coffee stunts your growth is largely a myth

Coffee is one of the most popular beverages consumed all over the world, mostly due to its ability to boost energy levels. 

However, it has been debated whether coffee is safe for growing teens because it is thought to interfere with proper growth and development.

The truth is that there is no scientifically valid evidence to suggest that coffee stunts your growth. Learn about the facts vs. myths regarding the effect of caffeine on growth.

Why is coffee thought to stunt growth?

This myth that coffee can stunt growth may have originated from the misconception that coffee causes osteoporosis, which is a condition that may be associated with loss of height.

However, the idea that coffee causes stunted growth due to osteoporosis is incorrect due to the following reasons:

  • Coffee in moderation does not cause osteoporosis in individuals with no other comorbidities.
  • Osteoporosis does not necessarily make a person short.

What factors can stunt your growth?

Though some lifestyle factors such as childhood nutrition and hormonal disorders can impact your height, it is mostly determined by your genes. Apart from genetics, certain factors that can affect your growth include:

  • Poor nutrition: Poor nutrition due to improper diet or frequent sickness in infancy can cause height loss. Calcium and vitamins D and C play a key role in normal growth and development, and a deficiency in these nutrients can hinder growth.
  • Hormonal disorders: Certain endocrine disorders can result in young adults being shorter than their peers. These include growth hormone deficiency, corticosteroid deficiency, and type I diabetes mellitus.
  • Lack of sleep: Sleep is vital for developing bones, muscles, and other body tissues. Important growth-related hormones are released during sleep, so lack of sleep or frequent sleep disturbances can negatively impact growth and height.
  • Other causes: Other causes of height loss include:
    • Osteoporosis with compression fractures
    • Scoliosis (curvature of the spine)
    • Kyphosis (forward bending of the spine)
    • Childhood developmental abnormalities

How much coffee is safe to drink a day?

Recommendations for different populations regarding daily coffee consumption are as follows:

  • Adults: The safe limit for adults is 400 mg of caffeine per day (4-5 cups).
  • Adolescents: The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends a limit of 100 mg a day.
  • Pregnant women: The FDA recommends pregnant and breastfeeding women and those who are trying to get pregnant limit their caffeine intake to 300 mg per day.


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What are the facts vs. myths about coffee?

Table. Facts vs. myths about coffee
Myth Fact
Addiction Caffeine is addictive. According to most authorities, caffeine is not addictive if consumed in moderation.
Heart disease risk Caffeine increases the risk of heart disease. Studies report that caffeine consumption does not increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and does not raise cholesterol levels or cause irregular heartbeat.
Cancer risk Caffeine causes cancer. Scientific evidence demonstrates that caffeine does not increase cancer risk.
Risk of osteoporosis Caffeine is a risk factor for osteoporosis. More recent studies have confirmed that caffeine intake is not a risk factor for osteoporosis provided the person has a healthy lifestyle.
Pregnancy Pregnant women or those trying to get pregnant should avoid caffeine. Moderate caffeine consumption is safe for pregnant women and their unborn children.
Children’s health Caffeine adversely affects the health of children. Moderate amounts have no detectable effects on the hyperactivity or attention span of children.
Health effects There are no positive effects of caffeine. Studies report that caffeine has various health benefits.
Dehydrating effect Coffee dehydrates you. The amount of water in a cup of coffee usually makes up for the dehydrating effects of caffeine.
Risk of insomnia Caffeine is likely to cause insomnia (partially true). For most people, 1-2 cups of coffee in the morning will not interfere with sleep at night.

What are the health benefits of coffee?

Coffee contains beneficial components such as:

  • Caffeine: Responsible for coffee’s stimulating effects.
  • Chlorogenic acid: Acts as an antioxidant, protecting cells from free radical damage.
  • Diterpenes: Has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Trigonelline: Lowers blood sugar levels and improves nerve damage associated with uncontrolled diabetes.

Studies have linked coffee consumption to several health benefits, including:

  • Rich in antioxidants and can reduce the risk of diseases such as:
  • Enhances athletic performance
  • Improves brain function
  • Promotes weight loss (since caffeine acts as an appetite suppressant and boosts metabolism)

What are the potential side effects of coffee?

Coffee can cause insomnia or disrupt sleep, causing jitteriness and a temporary elevation in blood pressure in some people.

Although definitive studies have not been conducted, excessive coffee consumption (6 or more cups per day) has been associated with reduced fertility and miscarriage.

In addition, caffeine withdrawal is a common cause of headaches. High coffee intake can also trigger migraine headaches and worsen heartburn due to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Some coffee beverages contain a significant amount of added sugar, which can contribute to health problems such as obesity, type II diabetes, and heart disease.


According to the USDA, there is no difference between a “portion” and a “serving.” See Answer

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Medically Reviewed on 8/18/2022
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