As a coffee consumer, I decided to do research on the possible side effects of drinking coffee at a young age and figure out what age would it be safe for a child to start drinking coffee.
Consuming coffee at a young age can have long term affects. However, children who are at least 12 years old should be fine drinking coffee just not frequently. For a young child, Caffeine can get in the way of calcium absorption, which can cause them to have improper growth. After just a small amount of caffeine a child could experience headaches, jitteriness, upset stomach and increased in heart rate.
Coffee can have many more health risks that can impact a child’s life. It is important to know these risks to make sure children are safe when drinking coffee. However, what effects a child in a certain way doesn’t necessarily mean an identical reaction in another.
Risks of Drinking Coffee at a Young Age.
1. Can Cause Lack of Sleep
The caffeine in coffee is a stimulant, which can cause a child’s adrenaline to increase and can have their heart rate speeding up rapidly, resulting them to feel extremely energized.
Since children are already hyperactive, these symptoms can last up to about 8 hours. If they drink caffeine later in the day, this can result them in not being able to sleep.
Most children have early wake up schedules, this can make it hard for them to get the 11 hours of sleep they need to grow healthy. For children between 5 and 12 years old it is crucial that they get this amount of sleep.
2. Can Interfere With Bone Growth
Although there is no real evidence that shows caffeine can stunt growth, it can affect calcium intake. When consuming coffee the caffeine in it acts as a leach to calcium which causes bones in children not to grow properly.
For a child’s bones to grow properly their calcium intake can vary as they grow older, for 12 year olds they would need about 1,300 mg of calcium per day. However, If they are constantly drinking coffee then this can be a problem.
Side note: If they are having issues with calcium intake, some of the best foods to fix this are seeds, yogurt, almonds, beans and many more foods.
3. Can Cause Anxiety
Anxiety in our bodies can make someone have a feeing of worrisome or threatened. If a child already has symptoms of anxiety and suffers from panic attacks, consuming high amounts of caffeine can make these symptoms worse.
This may also cause them to have the jitters, sweaty palms, pounding heart and even ringing in the ears. If a child is experiencing this symptoms we recommend they stop drinking caffeine or cut down their regular caffeine intake.
4. Can Increase Heart Rate
When consuming high dosages of caffeine, there can be an uncomfortable feeling of your heart beating. High doses of caffeine can raise a child’s blood level of epinephrine, also known as adrenaline.
If a child is already experiencing abnormal heart rhythms, consuming an excessive amount of caffeine can cause rapid heart rate and may cause the heart to develop skipped beats.
5. Can Damage Teeth
Depending on how children drink their coffee, most children drink their coffee with loads of sugars, fats and other substances causing their teeth to grow cavities. Even if a child drinks black coffee this can cause their teeth to start discoloring and turning yellow.
Most beverages that contain caffeine in them like Sodas, energy drinks or other beverages have loads of sugar, corn syrup and other things that can cause childrens teeth not to be clean and healthy.
6. Can Cause Twitching
A child consuming too much caffeine or other stimulants can cause muscles in any part of the body to twitch. There are many reasons that can cause muscle twitching.
However, if this is constantly a problem for the child then they may want to cut down on their coffee intake or get checked out by a doctor.
7. Can Cause Dizziness
Coffee is a diuretic, in other words it makes you have to pee.
When drinking coffee it can increase a child’s electrolyte and water loss. This decreases their blood volume which can cause them to feel dehydrated, especially during hot summer days or if their exercising.
To prevent dizziness make sure to drink a lot of water or cut down coffee intake.
8. Can Effect Mood
When a child starts to consume high amounts of coffee, the caffeine in it will start to increase their heart rate causing them to feel extremely energized.
If a child frequently consumes high amounts of coffee with all that caffeine then there brain and body starts to become more immune to this feeling, causing them to feel no affect of the caffeine, feeling like they need more to function.
If the child doesn’t get the caffeine intake that there used to then this can cause symptoms like depression, anger and exhaustion.
To prevent these symptoms from happening it helps to slowly bring down their daily caffeine intake, making them become used to not having so much caffeine throughout the day.
Does Coffee Stunt Your Growth?
Coffee does not stunt your growth. Coffee contains caffeine which has nothing to do with growing. However, researchers have shown that coffee can absorb calcium causing bones not to grow properly and lose strength. High dosages of caffeine can also cause nervousness, increase in heart rate, stomach problems, headaches and even muscle spasms. Most people consuming under 400mg of caffeine shouldn’t experience these effects.
Does Coffee Age You?
Coffee is a diuretic, this causes waste fluids to be excreted from the body and can drain your body of moisture, also causing dehydration. Dehydration can cause skin to dry out and not look healthy, this can cause you to look dull and aged. To prevent these symptoms from happening is easy, just drink plenty of water.
What Does Coffee Do To Your Brain?
For those who drink lots of coffee throughout the day can have a problem. This can cause your brain to start relying on coffee. When we consume coffee the caffeine inside attaches with our brain’s adenosine receptors, preventing the chemical from binding with the receptors and makes neural activity slow down, causing us to feel tired.
If you drink a lot of coffee then this can cause your brain to create more adenosine receptors, so this makes us need more coffee to wake up. This is the reason why when we try to cut down on coffee we feel more tired, as having more adenosine receptors means that more adenosine makes its way into the brain.
Does Coffee Offer Health Benefits?
Studies have shown that coffee has many health benefits such as defend against Parkinson’s disease, liver diseases and type 2 diabetes. Coffee can also help with erectile disfunction and reduce depression. However, studies have shown some risks.
Does Coffee Keep You From Losing Weight?
The caffeine in coffee helps boost your metabolism and can help you burn fat. However, if you drink coffee on a regular basis then your body can become immune to the caffeine which eventually won’t have much effect on your body. Coffee can still help decrease an appetite, that can help you not eat so much.
Does Coffee Have Calories?
A cup of regular black coffee contains less than 5 calories and no fat. Depending on how you like to drink your coffee will determine the calories. By adding creamers, sugars or milk to your coffee may add on extra calories and fat.