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Health & Fitness Can Milk Make You Taller? Here's What the Science Says

13:50  23 october  2020
13:50  23 october  2020 Source:   menshealth.co.uk

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But can milk also make you taller ? It' s a statement that you might have heard when you were young and has maybe stuck with your through you adult years. "There are actually several published studies showing that, in children, drinking milk is associated with very small increases in height," says Jones.

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You already know that drinking milk can help you build strong bones and muscles.

a person sitting at a table eating food: Some people (your mum, probably) told you that drinking cow's milk can help you grow taller. Here's what the research and experts say about the connection. © MoMo Productions Some people (your mum, probably) told you that drinking cow's milk can help you grow taller. Here's what the research and experts say about the connection.

That's because cow's milk is naturally high in calcium, a nutrient that promotes bone density, and protein, which contributes to muscle growth. (One cup of milk contains 293 milligrams of calcium and a smidgen more than 8 grams of protein, for reference.)

And yes – that means chocolate milk, too, which is why you might see certain athletes enjoying chocolate milk in their post-workout shakes or just straight from a glass following a cardio or training session.

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But can milk also make you taller? It's a statement that you might have heard when you were young and has maybe stuck with your through you adult years. Heck, maybe you even tell your own kids the same thing: "Drink milk and you'll grow up tall and strong."

Your parents didn't just make this up out of nowhere, though. Scientists have actually studied this very hypothesis. And dietitians do hear similar questions from their clients.

But just how strong is the link between drinking milk and height? We turned to Kelly Jones M.S., R.D., C.S.S.D. for her wisdom.

"There are actually several published studies showing that, in children, drinking milk is associated with very small increases in height," says Jones.

It is important to recognise, however, that these studies are showing a correlation and not a cause and effect relationship. And that just because a few research reports have found a positive association doesn't mean that there's proof milk can make you taller.

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So let's dig in a little deeper...

What Does Science Say about Drinking Milk and Height?

The research is mixed.

One 2018 study followed a group of participants from birth, through 17 years, and discovered that height increased by .39 cm per self-reported additional 8 ounces of milk consumed daily. Jones: “However, the authors also noted that the population was mostly of moderate income and reasonably well educated, which can mean results would not be similar in populations with worse access to food or knowledge of appropriate eating patterns."

So, in short, it's complicated.

Plus, there are other factors that may influence the results. “In some of the studies showing a correlation between milk intake and height, other factors may not have been considered, such as overall diet quality, including adequate intake of protein, calcium, vitamin D and other nutrients,” she says.

Then there's a 2019 systematic review, which stated that adding dairy products to person's diet was associated with increased bone mineral content during childhood, but there was no correlation between dairy and height.

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“It may also be that those who do not drink milk are consuming sugar-sweetened beverages, such as soft drinks, which may impair bone health (with bone health being important for reaching appropriate peak height),” Jones says

Plus, all this research was done on children. So if you're looking to gain height as an adult, you may have missed your window.

Nordin Amrabat standing in a kitchen: A portrait of fit mixed race man getting milk from fridge after doing exercise at home. © Halfpoint Images A portrait of fit mixed race man getting milk from fridge after doing exercise at home.

Should You Still Drink Milk?

Yes, even if the research is mixed.

Milk still offers a ton of beneficial nutrients. Milk one of the few consistent sources of calcium, which we know is important for bone health.

“Additionally, many do not consume adequate fatty fish, one of the few natural sources of vitamin D, and milk can provide that as well,” she says.

Plus, milk protein is known to be very beneficial for muscle growth and repair, so, go ahead, enjoy it in your post-workout shake.

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