Does Sugar Stunt Growth?

Sugar consumption, whether by children or adults, is surrounded by controversy. Some people consider sugar to be the enemy, while others view it as an acceptable means to calm irritable children or provide rewards.

However, is consuming excessive amounts of sugar detrimental to overall health? Does sugar impede growth? Let’s explore these questions in the following post from Supplementchoices!

How does sugar affect your height?

The truth is that consuming sugar alone will not inhibit the growth of children. However, if they consume excessive amounts of sugary foods or drinks, their sugar intake may have an impact on their height.

How does this happen?

When children consume high quantities of sugar, their stomachs become filled with sugary substances, leaving little room for a balanced mix of nutrient-rich foods that are essential for proper growth. Additionally, consuming excessive sugar can contribute to weight gain. For instance, if children consume a can of soda daily without offsetting the calories through physical activity, they could gain around 15 pounds within a short period of time. Excessive weight gain can exert pressure on their bones and spines, potentially impeding the growth and development of their backbone.


How does sugar affect your health?

Aside from affecting height, you are prone to various health issues if consuming too much sugar.

Tooth decay

The natural bacteria in your mouth transfer sugary foods into an acidic substance. And this will wear down what is surrounding them, in this case, the enamel of your teeth. This weakens your teeth and makes them more prone to cavities.

Skin issues

Excess sugar has been shown to enhance the production of oil and androgens. Both are harmful to boost the creation of advanced glycation end products, called AGEs. And these molecules do exactly what they sound like they do – age your skin and increase the chance of acne.

Brain disorders

Sugar makes your brain release an increase of a feel-good chemical, called dopamine. This explains why you are more likely to want a cake at 3 p.m. than a carrot or an apple. It is because whole foods like greens and fruits do not make the brain release more dopamine. And your brain wants more and more sugar to get the same feeling of pleasure and concentrate, or this might lead to brain fog.

Other health issues

Eating too much sugar on a regular basis has been proven to boost rates of obesity, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar, thereby leading to an increased risk of heart disease. Also, kids are vulnerable to nutritional deficiencies if they sink into sugary foods and drinks instead of consuming essential nutrients like vitamin D or calcium. This might end up with osteoporosis.

Which sugary foods can stunt growth?

Below is a list of foods rich in sugar that you should be watchful of if you want your kids’ height to reach their full potential.

Junk food

As its name suggests, junk food comes with very little nutritional value and does nothing apart from making your children’s stomachs full. Moreover, it comes with a dangerous threat to the bones of growing kids. So, consuming highly-processed foods might affect skeletal growth and leave kids with weaker bones.


Soda is low in vitamins, minerals, and fibers yet contains artificial colors, flavors, and added sugar. Over 40% of packaged fruit juices and soda include 19 g of sugar [1]. Also, they contain phosphorus that consuming in large amounts will affect calcium levels and lead to lower bone density.


In fact, rice by itself is not bad for your children. A diet high in carbs and low in protein is the main reason to slow their growth. Remember that moderation is a must. Kids should consume a sufficient amount of protein and carbs to gain their full height.

Cookies and biscuits

Aside from packing sugar, cookies and biscuits include added sweeteners, food additives, preservatives, and dry fruits. Although these ingredients make them savory, they can affect growth in kids badly.

Low-fat yogurt

It is a wrong idea that low-fat yogurt or milk is better than the full-fat variant. It is not true because low-fat yogurt has added sugar and flavor to make it taste yummy.


How to cut down on sugar?

Below are some tips to follow to stop eating too much sugar.

  • Toss white and brown sugar, molasses, syrup, and honey. Then cut back on the amount of added sugar to pancakes, cereal, tea, or coffee by half and wean down gradually.
  • Switch soda to water. But if you need something sweet to drink, diet drinks will be fine.
  • Instead of adding sugar to oatmeal or cereal, you should try raisins, cherries, bananas, cranberries, or strawberries.
  • Always compare food labels and select products with the lowest amounts of added sugar.
  • Try extracts like vanilla, almond, lemon, orange, or even ginger or cinnamon to enhance the flavor of foods.
  • When baking cookies, cakes, or brownies, it is best to cut the sugar called for in the recipe by one-third to one-half.

Which foods make you taller?

While genetics primarily determine a child’s height, nutrition also plays a crucial role. By incorporating the following foods into their diet, you can naturally support their height growth:

  • Eggs: Rich in protein and essential amino acids, eggs also provide calcium (24.1 mg) along with other vitamins and minerals that contribute to overall body improvement.
  • Dairy: A valuable source of calcium, dairy products are necessary for bone growth and skeletal development.
  • Almonds: Packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and healthy fats, almonds are particularly rich in vitamin E. This vitamin is essential for breaking down bone tissue by regulating osteoclasts, a specific type of cell.
  • Fish (salmon and tuna): These fish varieties offer omega-3 fatty acids, which are crucial for promoting growth by enhancing bone turnover.
  • Fruits (orange, kiwi, strawberry, grapefruit): These fruits are primarily rich in vitamin C, a crucial component for bone health. Vitamin C also stimulates collagen production, necessary for bone strength and repair.
  • Beans: Highly nutritious and protein-rich, beans contain essential factors that control growth in children by enhancing increased insulin-like growth factors.
  • Quinoa: This grain is not only beneficial for the body but also an excellent food for boosting height growth. Quinoa contains all nine essential amino acids and is a great source of magnesium, which is vital for growth.
  • Leafy greens (spinach, kale, bok choy, turnip greens, etc.): These greens are among the top plant-based sources of calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, and other antioxidants. Consuming more leafy greens can support bone density and prevent oxidative stress.

While these foods can support natural height growth, it’s important to remember that genetics ultimately determine a child’s maximum height potential.

Final verdict

Excessive consumption of sugary foods and drinks, combined with an unbalanced diet and lack of exercise, can negatively impact your children’s growth. Therefore, it is essential to make adjustments to their diet to ensure they grow up healthy and strong.

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