Foods That Make You Short: Debunking the Myths


We all know that good nutrition plays a pivotal role in our overall health and development. However, there’s a common misconception that certain foods can make you shorter. Let’s delve into this topic and separate fact from fiction.

The point at which height growth ceases can vary based on individual physique, lifestyle, and living environment. Typically, it occurs around the ages of 18 to 20, occasionally extending up to 22 years old for late-maturing males. The consumption of the following 12 types of foods can impede the growth process and restrict height increase.

Sugary Foods

Consuming sugary foods can lead to obesity and weight gain in both children and adults. Consuming excessive candies and foods rich in starch triggers the release of a hormone that inhibits bone growth, obstructing the development of the skeletal frame. Hence, these types of foods are often referred to as the “height’s enemy.”

According to scientists, the Asian diet, while healthier, tends to contain excessive amounts of starch. This can lead to obesity risks, rapid body weight gain exerting pressure on the bones, diminishing the potential for bone and cartilage development, and restraining height growth. Moreover, elevated insulin levels in the blood not only impact height but also give rise to various other dangerous health conditions.



Excessive salt intake leads to water retention in the body and an increased excretion of calcium and minerals. The more salt consumed, the more calcium the body excretes, hindering the height growth process, especially in children.

To address this issue, it’s advisable to adopt a low-salt diet, only supplementing a moderate amount of salt as recommended by nutrition experts. Particularly, you should limit highly salty foods such as salted eggplants, pickled cucumbers, kimchi, pickled radishes, and the like.

Carbonated Drinks

Carbonated beverages are highly appealing and favored by many, especially children. However, these types of drinks are not beneficial for overall body development and, specifically, height growth.

Scientists have proven that excessive consumption of carbonated drinks is a primary cause of brittle bones, diminishing their strength and hindering growth. The reason lies in the fact that these drinks contain excessive amounts of chemical sugars and gas-inducing compounds. This can potentially deplete the body’s calcium reserves, impeding optimal bone development, especially during puberty.

Furthermore, these beverages also contribute to various health issues such as tooth decay, obesity risks, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and more. Therefore, for a healthy body and optimal height development, it’s advisable to refrain from consuming carbonated drinks.

Excessive Meat and Fish Consumption

Meat and fish are sources of essential protein for the body, but consuming an excessive amount of protein can hinder calcium absorption. An experiment has shown that consuming 80g of protein per day results in the loss of around 37mg of calcium. If the protein intake increases to 240g, approximately 137mg of calcium is excreted. Therefore, it’s recommended to consume meat and fish in moderation, maintaining a balance with other types of foods.

Canned Foods

Packaged ready-to-eat foods might be convenient, but they aren’t beneficial for health. Sometimes, canned foods can even be harmful due to compromised hygiene standards, unsafe production processes, or the presence of untested additives.

Not only does excessive consumption of canned foods impede height growth, but a higher-than-normal amount of fats in these foods also poses risks of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Therefore, it’s advisable to limit the use of canned foods. The ideal choice is always fresh and safe foods.


Beef is nutrient-rich and protein-packed, which is beneficial for health. However, beef contains very little calcium and is rich in acid-forming elements such as sulfur, phosphorus, and chlorine. Consuming a lot of beef can elevate the acid levels in the blood, prompting the body to utilize calcium for regulation, blood stability, and neutralization of excess acid. Consequently, calcium in the body becomes deficient, hampering height growth and increasing the risk of bone and joint-related issues.

Thus, for comprehensive body development, it’s crucial to maintain a balance of all nutrients. Every type of food has both advantages and disadvantages, and overconsumption should be avoided to prevent adverse effects.

Canned Fruit Juices

Fresh fruit juices are beneficial for the body, but canned fruit juices are not. Canned juices often contain artificial flavors, additives, and chemical sugars that hinder healthy sugar absorption, affecting digestion and overall height development. Therefore, if you wish to supplement your diet with healthy nutrients, it’s better to opt for fresh fruit juices or consume whole fresh fruits.

Fast Food

Fast food is often prepared by frying or stir-frying with excessive amounts of oil and contains numerous preservatives. The nutritional content in fast food is quite low, often lacking or completely devoid of essential nutrients like vitamin D, calcium, and necessary fibers for height development. Moreover, oily fast foods are calorie-dense. The body cannot efficiently absorb all the fat content, leading to excess fat storage and inhibiting height growth.

A recent study in the United States indicates that the height of children in the country has been decreasing compared to previous decades, attributed to the detrimental effects of fast food consumption such as fried chicken, hamburgers, pizza, and the like. Additionally, an increasing number of children are facing weight issues, obesity, and cardiovascular diseases due to excessive consumption of fast foods.


Combining Foods Rich in Phytic Acid with Calcium-Rich Foods

Phytic acid has the ability to bind with calcium, forming salts that reduce the beneficial calcium levels in the body. Calcium that isn’t absorbed might be excreted, which isn’t harmful to health but can hinder height development.

Foods high in phytic acid include various legumes, tofu, sweet potatoes, and spinach. Calcium-rich foods encompass shrimp, crab, seafood, and more. It’s not recommended to combine these two groups of foods because it can lead to nutrient wastage.

The effects of phytic acid only occur at the time of consumption. Therefore, you can consume foods containing phytic acid on one day and calcium-rich foods on another day. This allows your body to acquire both nutrient groups without worrying about phytic acid neutralizing calcium absorption.

Foods High in Caffeine

Excessive caffeine intake reduces the body’s ability to absorb calcium, thereby inhibiting bone development. According to the results of numerous studies, consuming around 4 cups of coffee per day can significantly diminish the body’s calcium absorption capacity.

Moldy Foods

Dried foods like peanuts, corn, beans, various seeds, etc., are susceptible to mold growth. Mold contains significant amounts of aflatoxin, which hampers height development. Additionally, mold can cause dangerous poisoning. Therefore, it’s crucial to thoroughly inspect food before consumption and store it carefully to avoid consuming moldy items.

Mixing Synthetic Calcium with Food and Drinks

Many parents have the habit of grinding synthetic calcium tablets and mixing them with food or milk for their children to consume. This practice is unscientific because a child’s body can only absorb up to 20% of the calcium mixed with food, and the rest is excreted. If the body cannot excrete all of it, the excess calcium doesn’t contribute to height increase and might cause constipation, impacting the child’s health.

In conclusion, the idea that specific foods can make you short is largely a myth. Genetics overwhelmingly determine your height, while nutrition, though important, doesn’t hold the power to drastically alter your stature. A balanced diet, rich in essential nutrients, coupled with a healthy lifestyle, is the best approach to achieving your maximum height potential.