As children, we were often forced to drink milk. Milk is rich in calcium, fats, proteins, and essential vitamins and minerals which help us stay healthy. It is also believed that drinking milk helps you grow taller. But is it true? Does milk make you taller? Are there any studies supporting this claim?
Milk helps with your overall growth including muscle strength, bone development, mental agility, and more. It is useful as much as other nutritious foods such as fruits, vegetables, and more. But how does milk make you grow? There must be a correlation between drinking milk and growth in children.
According to age-old observations, and of course, certain research studies, the theory is that milk makes you grow taller. Moreover, children start drinking milk in their growth stage. However, the growth or maximum height a person will reach depends on many other factors. Read on to find out yourself.
Does Drinking Milk Help You Grow Taller?
Before knowing if milk makes you taller, let’s look at the factors that help to determine height.
The first determining factor is genetics. The maximum height of a person is predetermined by their genetics. Genetics plays an important role in determining a child’s height says Andrea Wiley, an anthropologist who has been studying the relation between milk and height for more than a decade.
Other factors that determine height is the food we eat as a child and the infectious diseases we were in contact with. Diseases like chronic respiratory disease cause the body to use its energy to fight against the infections instead of growing.
Drinking milk or having supplements will make you reach the predetermined height and not grow taller than that.
Milk and IGF-1
The human body naturally produces a protein called insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF 1). This protein is also present in the milk. People who drink milk regularly trigger the body to produce more IGF-1. It allows bones, tissues, and blood cells to divide and duplicate. IGF-1 supplements are often prescribed to children with height disorder.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends drinking two glasses of milk a day to boost your iron and vitamin D intake. Milk contains calcium that helps in the development of bones and keeps them stronger.
The proteins contained in milk help with the wear and tear of muscles. Does milk help you grow taller during puberty? According to Dr. Manish Sharma, milk helps with growth during puberty. You should also accompany milk with other foods rich essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to help you grow taller.
You may not see a drastic change in your height, but drinking milk will definitely have a positive impact on your health.
The Relationship between Milk and Height
Certain studies say that drinking milk makes one grow bigger and taller.
Stunted Children and Preschoolers
According to a study conducted by The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University in Denmark found out that cow’s milk and height are interrelated. It says that in stunted children, milk has a more positive effect than in well-built children.
A study in the Archives of Disease in Childhood states that preschoolers who drink three or more servings of milk are not only taller, but are also obese and overweight. Whole milk is high in saturated fats, and drinking it in excess can lead to various health problems.
According to a study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, drinking cow’s milk may help you grow taller. The study conducted on 5,101 premenarchal girls recorded their past height, diet, and weight. It was found that the premenarchal girls who drank more than three servings per day of milk grew 0.11 inches taller than those who drank less than one serving. So, consuming milk and dairy proteins help you grow taller.
The study also concluded that the protein found in milk isn’t responsible for height. But, the height in girls, to some extent, depends on a factor in the non-lipid phase of milk.
Milk and Bone Health
A study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics found that children living in countries that have a higher rate of milk consumption, have lower rates of fractures compared to those in countries in which people consume less milk. There is a correlation between vitamin D and low risk of fractures. However, milk is not the only source of vitamin D.
Exercise or physical activities are the main factors that decide the bone growth in children. Also, milk isn’t the only source of vitamin D. It can also be found in egg yolks, beef liver, sun rays, and so on.
Plant Milk and Height
Researchers conducted a study on 5034 healthy Canadian children aged 24 to 72 months to determine if non-cow’s milk helped in increasing children’s height. They found that non-cow’s milk contains less fats and proteins than cow’s milk, so it may not be as effective as cow’s milk. So, drinking non-cow’s milk is associated with lower childhood height.
The difference in the height of a three-year-old child who consumed three cups of non-cow milk per day compared to the one who consumed the same quantity of cow’s milk was 1.5 centimeters.
Milk Intake and Height during Pregnancy
A study published in European Journal of Clinical Nutrition looked at milk during pregnancy and if it helps the unborn child grow taller. The study conducted on 809 Danish pregnant women showed that pregnant women who consumed more than 150 milliliters of milk per day showed an increase in the weight and length of the child at birth than those who consumed less milk.
The studies also say that the results may also advance in the early adulthood, although a detailed study is needed to prove the same.
So, does milk make you grow taller? Yes, it does have a substantial role to play in the overall growth and strength of your body. But that shouldn’t be the only nutrient you take in. You should have a well-balanced diet and exercise regime to help you grow tall and strong.
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