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Does Caffeine Really Stunt Your Growth?

Has anyone checked out the latest TV ad for the new Amazon Prime Phone? The commercial features two pre-adolescent hipsters sharing a French Press while showing off their new smart phones to two women we’re guessing are their babysitters. Putting aside our feelings on kids with cell phones…since that’s a battle we lost with our own kids…we thought that children weren’t supposed to drink coffee. Growing up, we were told repeatedly that coffee would stunt our growth. It’s one of those parental wisdoms passed down for generations; along with your face will freeze that way and don’t sit too close to the TV. It’s an old wives’ tale so ubiquitous it was even mentioned in the movie Clueless (remember how Cher wanted to be 5’10” like Cindy Crawford).

So for years we sat and watched as our parents enjoyed their delicious brew every morning at the breakfast table. We waited…pretty patiently we might add…for the day when we would be old enough to have some too. Of course at the time we were only assuming it was delicious based on the fact that mom and dad HAD to have a cup every morning, and we were often asked not to speak until they had savored that first steaming sip.

So we decided to do some digging, and it turns out that coffee has not been scientifically proven to have any correlation to height. In fact, we found a number of articles dedicated to refuting this theory.

Think of all those lattes we could have enjoyed!

One study we read about in the New York Times (so it must be accurate) tracked 81 adolescents for six years and found that those who had the highest daily caffeine intake had no difference in bone gain or bone density at the end of the study than those with the lowest.

That said…coffee does contain caffeine, which might reveal the root of our parent’s deception. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, adolescents should consume no more than 100 mg of caffeine a day, and there is an average of 95-200 mg in an 8 oz cup of coffee.

One of the reasons behind this recommendation is that caffeine can interfere with sleep. It’s hard enough to get your little ones to bed without adding an extra jolt to the mix. Just imagine a six-year-old hopped up on espresso.

At this time, we feel it’s also important to note that most sodas, energy drinks, and even semi-sweet chocolate chips contain caffeine!

And while we’re not going to be serving the younger set anytime soon, we do feel slightly uneasy knowing we’ve spent the bulk of our adolescent and adult years believing such folklore. So now if you’ll excuse us…we need to call our moms.