Does Milk Make You Taller?

December 9, 2022 | By NuBest
Milk is very nutritious and has long been related to growing big and strong. But does milk make you taller as you wish? Let’s dig in a little deeper and find out the truth.

How does milk help you grow?

Children who consume dairy products, like milk, got taller than those who got less dairy. Basically, milk consumption between the ages of 6 months and 5 years is related to a reduced chance of being stunted by 1.9%. This relationship was stronger among kids living in developed countries, who had solid access to other nutrient-dense foods [1].

Another study pointed out that the positive connection between milk consumption and childhood development is at least due to the difference in nutrients it delivers. Yes, milk includes a wide range of key nutrients, including protein, calcium, zinc, potassium, and vitamin A, which are vital for growth during childhood. Also, some milk products are fortified with vitamin D [2].

Do you know that milk contains a protein, called insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), which our body naturally produces? IGF-1 in milk helps stimulate overall growth by dividing and duplicating bone and muscle tissues [3].

That said, milk is one of the most convenient and affordable options for many families to acquire many growth-increasing nutrients. And make sure to make it an essential part of a healthy diet for your growing kids and teens.

So, how about adults? Should they keep drinking milk after the age of 18?

If you have already stopped growing, no amount of milk intake may make you taller. That is because your growth plates close themselves while your bones harden at the same time, indicating the end of further growth. However, it does not mean that you should not stop drinking milk. Milk still delivers many helpful nutrients, especially protein and calcium, which we know are essential for bone health as well as muscle repair and growth.

When is the best time to drink milk?

Milk is considered to be sleep-inducing and best consumed at night according to Ayurvedic medicine. Drinking milk at night helps calm the nervous system, while the serotonin content in milk may make you get a good quality sleep. Also, the calcium absorption from milk works better at night due to minimal enzyme reactions. Ayurvedic medicine recommends everyone should consume milk except those who are allergic to it [4].

How about the morning? Does timing really matter?

In some cases, drinking milk at a particular time might help you acquire the most benefits.

For overall health

Drinking a glass at mealtime helps your body absorb all health-promoting nutrients. While calcium in milk strengthens bone growth, potassium and magnesium are necessary for blood pressure regulation. Most dairy products in the U.S. are fortified with vitamin D, which is essential for the body to absorb calcium effectively.

For muscle mass and weight loss

Milk is rich in protein, so it may enhance metabolism and increase fullness after meals, resulting in lower daily calorie intake and helping you lose weight. Besides, consuming fat-free milk 5 days per week after workouts may aid muscle mass and body composition, compared with those who do not drink milk [5].

How much milk should a kid drink?

The recommended amount of milk for children to drink daily is based on their age. Take a look at the table below!

Recommended daily milk intake

Toddlers

12-24 months

1 2/3 to 2 cups

Children

2-3 years old

2 to 2 ½ cups

4-8 years old

2 ½ cups

Teen girls and boys

9-13 years old 

3 cups

14-18 years old 

3 cups

Milk should not be introduced until your kid is at least 12 months, and they should not drink more than 2 cups daily, or it might result in anemia and damaged iron absorption [6].

Which milk is best, cow’s milk or plant-based milk?

As mentioned above, cow’s milk is very nutritious as it includes essential nutrients that aid a child’s growing body. The fat content in milk plays a key for brain growth and neurological development as well. That is why cow’s milk is the best choice for children.

How about non-dairy milk? Is it better than dairy milk?

It is suggested that kids under the age of 5 should avoid plant-based milk. But if they are allergic to cow’s milk or their family is following a vegetarian diet, it is fine to consume non-dairy milk. The best thing is to drink fortified soy milk since it has similar nutritional value to cow’s milk. Remember to check the nutritional facts label on different brands and select the one with added vitamin D and calcium, without added sugar.

What are other dairy products?

Aside from milk, there is a huge range of dairy products to provide many nutrients the body needs to grow.

Cheese

You easily find hundreds of cheeses, from firm to chewy, melty, and creamy, and combine them well with everything, like fruits, veggies, beans, whole grains, etc. Cheese is rich in calcium and phosphorus, which aid in building and strengthening strong teeth and bones.

Yogurt

Who does not love yogurt? Due to its versatility, you can eat it alone or combine it with fruits, nuts, or cereals. Yogurt delivers essential nutrients, including protein, calcium, zinc, vitamin B12, and so on. Also, it has probiotics that help maintain digestive health.

Butter

Butter is rich in calories and includes needed nutrients, like vitamins A, B12, D, E, and K. It is a great source of protein, which is helpful for supporting physical growth.

Is there anything else?

Part of the reason why it is necessary to add milk to your children’s diet to support their overall growth, you should pay attention to other factors that affect height growth.

Nutrition

That said, kids with poor nutrition may not be as tall as those with adequate nutrition. So, make sure every diet should include all the vitamins and minerals, especially protein and calcium needed for bone health and growth.

Physical activity

Getting regular exercise is necessary for proper physical growth since it helps strengthen muscle tissues and bones, maintain a healthy weight, and stimulate HGH production. Children and teens should get at least 30 minutes to 1 hour of exercise per day to make their bones stronger, denser, and healthier.

Sleep

Getting enough sleep helps enhance growth and development in children and teens. When they sleep, their bodies will release the hormones they need to grow.

Posture

Poor posture from slumping and slouching might make you appear shorter than you are. And if you keep maintaining these poses over time, they can affect your actual height and cause pain in your neck and back. So, be mindful of how to stand, walk, sit, and sleep to have good posture.

In a word

Milk is a rich source of calories, protein, calcium, vitamin D, IGF-1, and other bioactive nutrients, which might bring positive effects on growth and development, including the achievement of height for children and teenagers. As parents, you should guide them to follow a healthy lifestyle to contribute to the attainment of a tall frame.

(*) All pictures shown are for illustration purpose only.
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THE ABOVE INFORMATION IS FOR REFERENCE ONLY and shall not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or starting any medication or treatment without discussing it with a qualified health professional.