You Should Stop Believing This Coffee Myth

Coffee is kind of a huge deal. We work with a cup of joe at an arm's length, we meet people over a cup, and we make awkward detours on our way to work simply to acquire a paper cup filled with that hot, acutely needed caffeine — preferably a Venti, thank you very much. Is it any wonder? Apart from its time-honored status as a cultural colossus, coffee is one of those rare vices that can actually be good for you, provided you don't overindulge on the flavor syrups.

As with anything truly important in life, there are plenty of myths and legends surrounding coffee. Not all of these coffee myths are worth believing, though, so think twice before trying to use coffee to sober up (via UAMS Health) or as a magic tool for shedding those stubborn pounds (via Mayo Clinic). However, there are some even stranger, widely quoted myths about everyone's dark, bitter friend — and today, we'll get to the bottom of one of the most persistent ones. Let's take a look at the coffee myth you should stop believing. 

No, coffee doesn't stunt your growth

If you have children — or, for that matter, have been one yourself — you might be familiar with the classic "coffee stunts your growth" line that pesky grown-ups told you whenever you tried to find out what they're constantly drinking from those cups (via The Roasterie). Well, it turns out that this oft-recited line might not be quite as accurate as one might think. Per Harvard Medical School, there's roughly zero evidence to prove that a coffee-loving adolescent turns out any shorter than their peers because of their caffeine fix. 

The idea that coffee may stunt your growth might come from the mistaken idea that coffee causes osteoporosis and, as such, messes up your bone growth. However, the old studies that suggested this failed to take into account the fact that the people who drank coffee also had worse diets in general; so while caffeine does have a tiny detrimental effect to your body's calcium content, chances are coffee is blameless on this front. 

An attack ad campaign by a rival drink may have given coffee its growth-stunting reputation

Faulty science is one thing, but per Smithsonian, there's also a fair possibility that the legend of caffeine's growth-stunting property is nothing more than the lingering effect of a decades-long attack ad campaign. In the early 19th century, C.W. Post — the guy behind Grape-Nuts, among other products — marketed a caffeine-free grain drink called Postum by claiming that coffee has all sorts of awful side effects, including the way it "hampers proper development and growth." Postum came and went, but it seems that the claim about coffee's ability to stunt growth has remained alive. Still, it could be worse: the world could be stuck with the myth that coffee is a straight-up "nerve poison."

All this being said, though, you might still want to think twice before taking the kids to Starbucks on a regular basis. After all, growing human beings need regular sleep way more than they need caffeine.