One of the things claimed by several adults when I was little is that coffee would stop me from growing so I wasn't allowed to drink it, is there any truth to that claim?

It doesn't seem completely out of order that it could have some negative effects on us considering that it's a natural pesticide, and that it reduces the life expectancy of fruit flies.

  • Hi Kit - can you ask a specific question here? What is the specific claim you want analyzed? I doubt there is any research checking whether coffee is "good" or "bad". :-)
    – Sklivvz
    Commented Mar 27, 2011 at 9:25
  • Why not? I don't see why asking a question like "Is smoking bad for you?" is wrong when there should be plenty of evidence that suggests it causes cancer and heart problems for very little benefit. I outlined several claims about coffee and was asking if the health implications of drinking coffee has ever been investigated beyond specifics. I would think this is perfectly in line with: skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/1367/…
    – Kit Sunde
    Commented Mar 27, 2011 at 9:56
  • @Kit, I've only asked you to improve your question. It surely could use some improvement by focusing it. The question you linked also suffers from the same problem and is, in fact, becoming quite subjective and argumentative (see the comments on my answer for example).
    – Sklivvz
    Commented Mar 27, 2011 at 10:02
  • I don't really see why evaluating the current state of things and not coming up with a definite answer, or why controversy is a problem, if anything we should welcome the critical evaluation. I will narrow my question.
    – Kit Sunde
    Commented Mar 27, 2011 at 10:17
  • 1
    I find the question much more interesting in its current incarnation. Commented Mar 27, 2011 at 10:48

1 Answer 1


This seems to be more about caffeine than coffee.

In 2008, due to this study that suggested that caffeine intake during pregnancy could increase the risk of fetal growth restriction, the "UK Government's Food Standards Agency" issued new advice to pregnant women on daily caffeine consumption:

Pregnant women are being advised to limit their daily caffeine intake, ideally keeping this below 200mg a day (previously it was 300mg). This is roughly two mugs of coffee a day, although caffeine is also present in tea, chocolate, some soft drinks, and certain medicines.


Too much caffeine might result in a baby having a lower birth weight than it should, which can increase the risk of some health conditions for the baby in later life, or could possibly result in spontaneous miscarriage.


We would emphasise that the risks are likely to be very small and believe our new advice, which is based on new research and has been considered by leading independent scientists, is sensible and proportionate.

As stated above, caffeine isn't just in coffee, it can also be found in (ice-)tea, soft and energy drinks, cocoa and chocolate. I'd guess these sources for caffeine are more common for children than coffee.

Here is a list of caffeinated beverages (including the amount of caffeine in it).

BabyCenter has this to say:

No. Caffeine has plenty of undesirable effects, but interfering with a child's growth isn't one of them.

The United States hasn't established recommended limits for kids' caffeine consumption. In Canada, it's recommended that kids ages 4 to 6 get no more than 45 mg a day, kids ages 7 to 9 get no more than 62.5 mg, and kids ages 10 to 12 get no more than 85 mg.

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