Will a Calorie Deficit Stunt Growth? (How To Prevent It)

Will a calorie deficit stunt growth? Short statues.

There is a ton of misinformation out there about how to achieve optimal health. One myth you may be wondering about is, will a calorie deficit stunt growth?

This might not be something that everyone wonders about, but you are here because you are concerned.

We will now explore the truth behind calorie deficits and growth/development, and answer the question: can a calorie deficit stunt growth?

What is a calorie deficit?

A calorie deficit occurs when someone burns more calories than they are consuming in order to lose weight.

This can come about in two ways: eating fewer calories or burning more calories through exercise, or a combination of the two.

A calorie deficit is absolutely necessary to lose weight and your body will not burn fat without being in a calorie deficit.

For example, if someone needs 2000 calories per day to maintain their weight, and they only eat 1500 calories per day, they are in a 500 calorie deficit and can expect to lose about 3500 calories or a pound of fat in one week.

If you would like to learn more about creating a calorie deficit for yourself, you can read more about how a calorie deficit can work for you and how you can lose weight by eating the foods you love, and also how to create one by clicking here.

How can a calorie deficit stunt growth?

The main way that a calorie deficit could affect growth is by slowing down the body’s process of developing through inadequate nutrition.

When the body isn’t getting enough calories and nutrients that are vital to growth, growth may be delayed.

If we take care of our body, our body will take care of us. We need to provide our body the adequate fuel that is needs to keep itself going.

It is important to remember though, that as adults, we are mostly done growing.

Continue to read on and see who is really at risk for stunted growth in a calorie deficit.

Who is most at risk for stunted growth from a calorie deficit?

I will give you the answer right now, short and sweet. Adults are not at a heightened risk for stunted growth from a calorie deficit.

Adults are not at risk because to put it quite simply, they are usually done growing.

This does not mean that you do not continue to grow in your early twenties (for some) but all of your growth is most likely completed by the time you are an adult.

The growth plates in our bones that are responsible for bone growth are closed around the age of 17 for most. In girls, this occurs at an age range of 13–15 and 15–17 for boys.


I do not usually speak about children and how a calorie deficit can help them, because I have no experience caring for children, and no experience assisting children in losing weight.

I do know that children are constantly growing. Babies grow so fast and are growing rapidly, but of course babies should never be in a calorie deficit, so we will not focus on babies.

Children are one of the most vulnerable groups in society, and they should leave their care in the hands of their parents and their trusted pediatrician.

I like to focus on adults losing weight and becoming healthy, because that is what I have experience doing when sharing how I have gotten results myself.

Who is at risk for stunted growth? Children


Teenagers between the ages of 12-17 are of course, actively growing. You may remember when you were a teen and how much your body changes once puberty begins.

Teenagers need to consume a diet filled with the adequate calories and nutrients to grow.

They need to consume great whole food options with ample sources of iron, protein, and calcium.

They can get these nutrients through helpings of fruits and vegetables, milk, and lean meats such as chicken or fish.

If a teenager is trying to lose weight and is not eating enough calories or enough of these vital nutrients, their growth may be impacted.

Teenagers are at risk for stunted growth in a calorie deficit

Do you need to worry about stunted growth in a calorie deficit?

If you are not under the age of 18 and you are done growing, then no, you do not have much of anything to worry about at all.

If you are under the age of 18, you may still be growing and you will need to make sure that you are consuming the correct amounts of nutrients through your diet to make sure you are healthy and will grow normally.

What are the types of foods I should include in my calorie deficit as a teen?

Fruits and vegetables

Oranges, carrots, spinach, and apples for example contain many valuable vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin C and Vitamin A, and iron for strong bones but can also help with nerve function and muscle contraction.

Certain vitamins and minerals found in fruits and vegetables can also help with immunity and making sure your immune system is up to par and fighting off those nasty contagions such as Flu and other viruses that make us sick.

I will share a list of my favorite fruits and vegetables:

– Onions, broccoli, asparagus, celery, carrots

– Oranges, grapes, strawberries, blueberries, apricots, squash

– Peppers and potatoes (regular or sweet)

Oranges are of course my favorite fruit. There is nothing quite like a juicy orange.


1%, 2% milk and whole milk contain large amounts of calcium and Vitamin D.

Vitamin D helps to absorb calcium, and calcium is important for healthy bones and teeth, as well as muscle function and helping our muscles to contract normally.

If you feel like whole milk has too many calories, you can opt for skim milk which has less calories and fat, but still has plenty of calcium.

Almond milk also can contain a healthy amount of calcium, so just take a look at that nutrition label.

I like to use the unsweetened kind of almond milk because it only has 30 calories in one cup, and I like the taste.

You can also get plenty of calcium from cheese. Think of all the delicious varieties of cheeses out there that you could try!

I don’t think I could live in a world without cheese.

Lean meats

Chicken, fish, and tofu contain protein which is essential for muscle growth, especially in a teenager.

There I go mentioning tofu again. Many are not a fan of it, but it does contain about 10 grams of protein in one half cup.

Good sources of protein can also help improve energy levels. Make sure to consume protein directly after a workout so you can make sure that you are giving your muscles the protein they need to grow.

Of course, you can also find sources of protein in eggs and dairy. Eggs are one of my favorite gems.

Whole grains

Oats, quinoa, brown rice, whole wheat bread, and popcorn are examples of foods that contain whole grains.

Whole grains are important as they contain complex carbohydrates which provide the body with energy to grow and develop properly.

You can also find many varieties of healthy cereals that are jam packed with good amounts of whole grains. Many of these cereals are great for being in a healthy calorie deficit.

These are just a few examples of foods that you can include in your diet to make sure you are getting the nutrients you need while in a calorie deficit as a teen! There are many more options out there for you to choose from.

Fruits and vegetables in a calorie deficit


There we have it. Will a calorie deficit stunt growth? The answer is no, if you are a full grown adult that is.

If you are a teenager and are trying to lose weight, you need to make sure that you are getting enough calories from fats, proteins, and carbs to maintain your growth as well as foods rich in the vitamins and minerals you need.

If you are a teen that is concerned about your weight, it is always best to discuss your plans with your parents as well as your doctor who can guide you and make sure you have a safe plan. Healthcare professionals are here to help us.

Just make sure to do your research on healthy foods that you like to eat before creating your own individualized plan. Creating a calorie deficit can be simple, healthy, and delicious when done correctly!


Will a calorie deficit stunt growth in adults?

Likely no. Adults are not in an active growing phase.

Will a calorie deficit stunt growth in teenagers?

Yes, it could. If you are a teenager and are trying to lose weight, you need to make sure that you are getting enough calories from fats, proteins, and carbs to maintain your growth as well as foods rich in the vitamins and minerals you need.

What are some common causes of stunted growth?

Some common causes of stunted growth can be malnutrition, chronic illness, hormone problems, and certain medications one may take. A calorie deficit could cause stunted growth in a teenager if you are not getting adequate nutrients from good to grow.

What foods should I eat if I am trying to create a calorie deficit?

There are many healthy foods that you can eat if you are trying to create a calorie deficit. Some examples include fruits, vegetables , lean meats, whole grains, and healthy fats. Always read your nutrition labels as well!