Researchers found that among more than 21,000 Norwegian adults, those who indulged in several cups of coffee a day generally had slightly higher cholesterol than non-drinkers. The extent of the difference, however, depended on the method of elaboration.
People who drank “less filtered” types of coffee made with a French press, for example, showed the greatest effects of cholesterol: on average, those who drank six or more cups a day had total cholesterol levels of eight. at 12 points higher. , compared to non-drinkers.
Espresso lovers were next, followed by women who drank drip-filtered coffee (no cholesterol effects observed among their male counterparts).
The findings are in line with previous studies suggesting that unfiltered coffee could have a particular effect on cholesterol levels, according to researcher Dra. Maja-Lisa Løchen.
Unfiltered beers include coffees that are boiled or brewed with a French press or “plunger”. Espresso also falls into this category, but is relatively more filtered than other varieties, said Løchen, a professor at UiT The Arctic University of Norway.
Brewing methods are important because coffee contains natural oils that can raise blood cholesterol. Researchers have long known that unfiltered coffees, when exposed to moles in hot water for a long time, contain more of these oils.
In fact, Løchen said, it was the Tromsø study in Norway that first proved, in the 1980s, that “everything is in beer.”
In those days, he noted, boiled coffee was the variety of unfiltered choice. But now espresso and plunger coffees are all the rage, so Løchen and colleagues used more recent data from the Tromsø Study to analyze the relationship between these infusions and blood cholesterol.
“Norwegians love coffee,” Løchen said, “and Norway has the second highest coffee consumption in the world.”
The findings, published online May 10 in Open Heart magazine, are based on more than 21,000 adults 40 and older who reported their coffee drinking habits, exercise levels, and alcohol intake.
On average, study participants drank four to five cups of coffee a day. Those who drank boiled coffee or French press (six or more cups a day) showed higher cholesterol elevations, relative to non-drinkers, showed results.
Then came people who said they drank three to five cups of espresso a day. Their total cholesterol was approximately 4 to 6 mg / dL higher, compared to people who did not drink espresso. Finally, women who drank at least six cups of filtered coffee each day had higher, on average, 4 mg / dL cholesterol levels compared to women who never drank filtered coffee.
However, a registered dietitian who did not participate in the study had some warnings.
On the one hand, there was no information on the general diet of the participants, said Connie Diekman, a food and nutrition consultant and former president of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
It’s also unclear if people regularly sipped their favorite coffee with sugar and cream, Diekman noted.
So, he said, the question remains, was it the coffee, the cream, or the food that people ate with all those cups of coffee?
“Coffee, in and of itself, is probably a very small player when it comes to raising cholesterol,” Diekman said. “So instead of worrying about how coffee can affect cholesterol, look at your entire diet and establish other healthy behaviors.”
Løchen also noted the overall picture, noting that moderate coffee intake (up to five cups a day) has been associated with a lower risk of heart disease and a longer life.
Angel Planells is a Seattle-registered dietitian and spokesman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. He said filtered or instant coffees could be the best options for people looking at their cholesterol. But again, diet and lifestyle in general are key.
If you really like this coffee with milk or mocha, Planells said, there may be other ways to cut back on some “bad” fats from your diet, such as reducing processed meat or fried meats.
That said, some people should be especially aware of coffee caffeine, Planells said, including pregnant women and anyone with possible side effects of caffeine, such as trouble sleeping or “agitated.”