December 29, 2013
SO THE KIDS CAN KEEP THEIR DUNKIN DONUTS GIFT CARDS?:
It's a Myth: There's No Evidence That Coffee Stunts Kids' Growth ( Joseph Stromberg, 12/20/13, Smithsonian)
Posted by Orrin Judd at December 29, 2013 4:07 PMDespite decades of research into the effects of coffee drinking, there is absolutely no evidence that it stunts kids' growth."It's 'common knowledge,' so to speak--but a lot of common knowledge doesn't turn out to be true," says Mark Pendergrast, the author of Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World. "To my knowledge, no one has ever turned up evidence that drinking coffee has any effect on how much children grow."That said, there isn't strong evidence that coffee doesn't stunt growth, simply because the long-term effects of coffee on children haven't been thoroughly studied (in part, presumably, because it'd be hard to find a parent willing to make his or her kid drink coffee daily for years at a time). There has, however, been research into the long-term effects of caffeine on children, and no damning evidence has turned up. One study followed 81 adolescents for a six-year period, and found no correlation between daily caffeine intake and bone growth or density.Theoretically, the closest thing we do have to evidence that caffeine affects growth is a series of studies on adults, which show that increased consumption of caffeinated beverages lead to the body absorbing slightly less calcium, which is necessary for bone growth. However, the effect is negligible: The calcium in a mere tablespoon of milk, it's estimated, is enough to offset the caffeine in eight ounces of coffee. Official NIH recommendations state that, paired with a diet sufficient in calcium, moderate caffeine consumption has no negative effects on bone formation.But if the whole coffee stunting growth idea isn't rooted in science, where did it come from? Shrewdly calculated advertising.