Everything You Know About Cholesterol Is Wrong
- The traditional view of cholesterol and heart disease is backwards. New research shows that cholesterol seems to be a symptom of heart disease, not a cause.
- Inflammation is what damages arterial walls and contributes to cardiovascular problems. Cholesterol is the repair molecule that comes in and tries to fix the damage. You should be more concerned about inflammation, not high cholesterol.
- Read on for 5 ways to decrease your inflammation, improve your arteries, and boost your performance.
The more I reviewed the literature, the more I realized, You know what? It seems like everything they teach us in nursing school, in medical school, in pharmacy school about lipids, about LDL, about VLDL, and HDL, the good cholesterol, the bad cholesterol, and how the stuff works its probably wrong, or at least incomplete.
Thats Zubin Damania, a primary care clinical director and internal medicine doctor at Stanford. Dr. Damania recently sat down with Dave Feldman, an engineer turned cholesterol expert, to talk about why your cholesterol numbers dont mean what youve been told they do.
Feldman started a ketogenic diet and his cholesterol went up to over 300 mmol/L, with his LDL number around 260. For reference, traditional guidelines say your LDL should be under 100, and total cholesterol, below 200.
Coffee For Cholesterol: The Bottom Line
So, some ways of brewing coffee can increase cholesterol levels. But at least now Ive given you your perfect excuse to buy that espresso machine youve had your eye on.
In the meantime, check out our DNA test. Remember, if you have a genetic mutation that slows down coffee metabolism in your body and you drink two or more cups of coffee a day, your risk for heart disease may be higher.
The sooner you know, the better.
What You Need To Know About Coffee And Cholesterol
Coffee is a popular beverage that can help boost energy. Research suggests that it may also provide antioxidants and nutrients that are good for your health. But coffee has a downside, potentially causing insomnia, restlessness, and stomach upset, especially if consumed in excess. Adding to the risks are studies that suggest that coffee may not be good for you if you have high cholesterol.
Coffee is a central part of many people’s daily rituals, and the question is whether the benefits of coffee outweigh the risks? And, if risks do exist, are there ways to reduce them if you’re struggling to control your cholesterol?
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Foodscience Says We’ve All Been Making Coffee Incorrectly For Decades
Registered dietitian Whitney Linsenmeyer, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and an assistant professor of nutrition at Saint Louis University, agrees that coffee can be part of a heart-healthy diet. I rely on the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which are rather encouraging for regular coffee drinkers in that they indicate that moderate coffee consumption can be incorporated into healthy eating patterns, she explained in an email to TODAY.
Generally the American Heart Association agrees that moderate coffee consumption does not seem to be harmful, and may even lower the risk of heart disease, she continued.
The Norwegian study concluded that filtered coffee was best. Freeman echoed this, suggesting that coffee drinkers keep their brews simple and choose filtered, black coffee without sugars and creamers.
The two most important factors to keep in mind,” says Linsenmeyer, “are total caffeine intake and any additions, such as milk, cream or sugar. These will contribute to your total calorie and added sugar intake, but these too can be incorporated into a balanced diet. Personally, my day starts with a whole milk latte , and that is certainly not going to change.
Types Of Coffee And Effects On Cholesterol
Analytical studies show that the content of diterpenes is similar in coffee beans, ground coffee, and decaffeinated coffee. But differences are observed in varieties: Arabica has a higher content of both substances than Robusta coffee.
The following table shows the number of diterpenes per cup and the effect on the increase in estimated cholesterol levels of different types of coffee:
|Type of coffee|
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So Is Coffee Or French Press Coffee Bad For Me
Coffee contains over a thousand chemical compounds, and some of these are trapped by a paper filter, but not by a metal one.
The key compounds cited by the Harvard Health article that started this controversy are cafestol and kahweol. Both are diterpenes that are removed much more thoroughly by paper filters than by metal ones.
Now, stick with me here, a study measured the concentration of cafestol in French press coffee at around 300 times that in paper-filtered drip coffee. The metal filter does remove a bit of cafestol, but not much compared to boiled coffee.
So ultimately, French press coffee is not unique here. This health issue is true of any coffee prepared with a metal filter .
French press coffee comes up in searches on this topic because of an influential post by the Harvard Health blog. You might think that espresso would be the big name that articles cite, but theres a key difference: we drink big cups of French press coffee and small cups of espresso. The concentration of cafestol is about the same, but the small serving size makes the amount you ingest fairly small.
How Does Coffee Affect Cholesterol
Coffee contains several hundred different substances, including several that have been shown to have an effect on the human body. So the question is: Which factor in brewed coffee is driving up cholesterol in people?
Research has teased out that the likely culprit affecting cholesterol is found in the natural oils of the coffee beans called diterpenes. Diterpenes, particularly cafestol and kahweol, are chemical compounds that may affect how your body breaks down cholesterol. Cafestol, in particular, has been shown to have cholesterol-raising effects.
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But First What Is High Cholesterol
So what exactly does high cholesterol mean?
“The numbers indicate that there is excess cholesterol in the blood, which can cause health problems, mostly in the form of cardiovascular disease. Cholesterol travels through the bloodstream with helpers or carriers. The two most talked about by your healthcare provider or that are tested for most commonly are LDL and HDL ,” explains Kaidanian.
“Your LDL and HDL percentages are taken into account to get your total cholesterol numbers. LDL and HDL can be significantly impacted by the type of fat you choose to consume in your dietary regimen.”
Coffee May Help You Live Longer According To New Study
Since the 1980s, scientists have understood that drinking coffee can impact cholesterol. Research has shown that compounds called diterpenes in unfiltered coffee, specifically cafestol and kahweol , can raise LDL or bad cholesterol levels. With this in mind, Tverdal told TODAY Health in an email that his team posed the question, Does the use of filter have an effect on mortality?
The study focused specifically on drip coffee brewed with paper filters, the traditional preparation in Norway. Another popular form of filtered coffee is the pour-over method. Unfiltered coffee was defined as a drink made from ground coffee beans simmer in close-to-boiling water. This type of brewing method can include French press, Greek style or Turkish style brews.
Over half of participants preferred filtered coffee, 20% drank unfiltered coffee, 9% consumed both brews and 12% drank no coffee at all. Men who drank unfiltered coffee had a higher mortality than the men not drinking coffee and women who drank all three types of brews had significantly lower heart disease mortality. Among coffee consumers, the reference group of 1-4 cups per day of ltered brew had the lowest mortality and 9 cups per day of unltered brew had the highest mortality.
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The Amount You Drink Matters
Like the majority of nutrition-linked advice, how much you consume is important. A moderate level of consumption, which is typically defined as 3 to 5 cups per day, appears to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. In contrast, a recent study demonstrated that intake of more than 6 cups per day might raise your cholesterol levels, including the amount of LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol in your blood. This can potentially raise your risk for heart disease.
Filtered Coffee Is A Better Choice
A study published in 2018 tracked how much coffee people 18 to 24 drank in the course of a week and compared it to their cholesterol levels. The researchers found that the more espresso-based drinks the participants drank, the higher their cholesterol.
Espresso is brewed by having hot water shot directly into fine coffee grounds, rather than dripping slowly through a filter the way most household coffee makers do it. The result is coffee that has higher levels of the two cholesterol-raising compounds. Other similar methods where grinds and water come in direct contact include boiled coffee, coffee made from French-presses, Turkish coffee, and the increasingly popular pour-over method.
On the other hand, filters like the kind used in your local diner or your house in the morning reduce the amount of those oils in the coffee. The researchers concluded that their results are important, given how much coffee Americans enjoy, and that more research needs to be done. Commenting on the research, experts recommended that those folks who want to lower or prevent high cholesterol stick to filtered coffee.
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What Is It About Coffee
Remember when people used to worry that coffee would harm their hearts, give them ulcers, and make them overly nervous?
In excess, coffee, and more particularly, caffeine, can cause problems. But the fretting about two or three cups a day, or even more, is fading as study results suggestive of health benefits from coffee keep on coming in. Coffee drinking is associated with a lower risk of depression among women, a lower risk of lethal prostate cancer among men, and a lower risk of stroke among men and women. Earlier research also shows possible protective effects against everything from Parkinson’s disease to diabetes to some types of cancer.
Coffee contains literally a thousand different substances, and some of the lesser lights are thought to be responsible for healthful effects in other parts of the body. Some studies show caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee as having the same effect, which suggests that something else in coffee is involved.
It gets complicated, though. Caffeine and some of these other substances in coffee seem to have their good and bad sides, and coffee’s overall effect may depend on how much they cancel each other out.
Coffee Cholesterol Is There A Connection
If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911 or seek care at an emergency room.
Do you drink coffee? If the answer is yes, youre in good company. A majority of Americans64%drink two cups a day. But theres one more thing that many Americans have: high cholesterol. In fact, well over 100 million Americans have elevated cholesterol or are at serious risk for it.
So research scientists have posed an intriguing question: Is there a possible connection between coffee and cholesterol?
The short answer: Yes. But the complete answer is a bit more complicated.
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How Coffee Raises Cholesterol
- Baylor College of Medicine
- Drinking your coffee black or decaffeinated to keep cholesterol in check? Think again. Cafestol, a compound found in coffee, elevates cholesterol by hijacking a receptor in an intestinal pathway critical to its regulation, according to a recent article.
Drinking your coffee black or decaffeinated to keep cholesterol in check? Think again.
Cafestol, a compound found in coffee, elevates cholesterol by hijacking a receptor in an intestinal pathway critical to its regulation, said researchers from Baylor College of Medicine in a report that appears in the July issue of the journal Molecular Endocrinology.
In fact, cafestol is the most potent dietary cholesterol-elevating agent known, said Dr. David Moore, professor of molecular and cellular biology at BCM, and Dr. Marie-Louise Ricketts, a postdoctoral student and first author of the report. Cafetiere, or French press coffee, boiled Scandinavian brew and espresso contain the highest levels of the compound, which is removed by paper filters used in most other brewing processes. Removing caffeine does not remove cafestol, however.
Studies by a co-author Dr. Martijn B. Katan of Vriye Univeriteit Amsterdam, Institute for Health Sciences, The Netherlands indicate that consuming five cups of French press coffee per day for four weeks raises cholesterol in the blood 6 to 8 percent.
It is part of the bodys own way of regulating levels of cholesterol, said Ricketts.
Link Between Coffee And Cholesterol
Several studies over the past decade have shown a link between coffee and cholesterol.
According to one study, coffee oils , such as cafestol and kahweol, are to blame. Coffee oils are naturally found in caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee.
Research indicates that cafestol affects the bodys ability to metabolize and regulate cholesterol. According to a meta-analysis of controlled studies on coffee and cholesterol, coffee oils may decrease bile acids and neutral sterols.
This may lead to increased cholesterol. Researchers concluded that cafestol is the most potent cholesterol-elevating compound identified in the human diet.
If you have a genetic mutation that slows down coffee metabolism in your body and you drink two or more cups of coffee a day, your risk for heart disease may be higher.
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Is Coffee Bad When You Have High Blood Pressure
Caffeine can trigger a short but dramatic increase in blood pressure, even for people who have normal blood pressure. Caffeine stimulates the release of calcium from the lining of the stomach which causes blood vessels to contract, increasing blood pressure. Because the effect is temporary, it may not necessarily be harmful, but it certainly doesn’t help if your blood pressure is out of control.
Is Instant Coffee Bad For Cholesterol
Instant coffee isnt bad for cholesterol. This is because it contains very low amounts of cafestol because of the way its processed. Lower cafestol means almost no harmful effects leading to bad levels of cholesterol.
Instant Coffee as the name suggests is the fastest yet cheapest way to brew a fresh cup of coffee. Its convenient and very easy to make.
It contains a little less caffeine than regular coffee and has more concentration of anti-oxidants. Also, it contributes to being the most popular way of making coffee in most countries with 50% of people using it every day.
But if regular coffee can be bad for your cholesterol, instant coffee should also be, right?
Well, fortunately, thats not the case.
Instant coffee is made from dried coffee extracts. The regular coffee beans are brewed slowly in water in a concentrated manner. Then after the brewing process is completed, the water is discarded and the fragments are further processed in either way:
- Spray Drying- air is used to dry the coffee extracts.
- Freeze Drying- vacuum is used with low temperature to dry coffee extracts.
All this processing through which instant coffee goes before being ready for shipment, the compounds which are responsible for targeting cholesterol are flushed out from the coffee. Therefore, making it safe for consumption and not giving any negative impact.
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Be Mindful Of What You Put In Your Coffee
Though the research is mixed on whether coffee itself can raise your cholesterol levels, researchers do know that saturated fat increases your cholesterol levels. And saturated fat can be found in a lot of things we put in coffee. Here are a few to avoid or enjoy sparingly.
- Cream and half-n-half. The classic coffee lighteners made with whole-fat milk have high levels of saturated fat, which has been shown to increase levels of LDL cholesterol. More cholesterol-friendly choices include nonfat or low-fat options or plant-based milks with no saturated fat.
- Sweet coffee drinks. Those frothy, sugary coffee concoctions popping up at more and more coffee shops have more in common with a milkshake than a cup of coffee and, besides packing in a lot of sugar, may contain ingredients high in saturated fat. Ask about ingredients before you indulge.
- Bulletproof coffee. Popular with fans of the ketogenic diet, bulletproof coffee is a breakfast substitute that calls for adding butter and coconut oil into your daily cup of joe. Both have high levels of saturated fat and there have been several case reports of people who regularly drink bulletproof coffee having sharp rises in their LDL cholesterol.
The bottom line for coffee and cholesterol is the same as many foods and beverages: Enjoy it in moderation, be mindful of how it is made, and know what ingredients are going into it.
Cleveland Clinic: âWhat You Should Know About Cholesterol and Coffee.â
Pursue A Healthy Lifestyle
To summarize, when it comes to cholesterol, the research confidently states that unfiltered coffee brews can increase cholesterol levels, primarily if you drink more than two cups per day and have other risks for high cholesterol for example, if youre ordering a grande specialty drink or refilling a jumbo mug at your favorite cafe, your intake of cholesterol-spiking additives is probably greater than you think.
But rather than worry too much about coffee, I recommend that my patients focus on other critical factors that impact their healthcontrollable factors such as nutrition, weight, exercise, and use of tobacco and alcohol. Its wise for everyone, coffee drinker or not, to exercise most days , to avoid smoking, and to make an effort to eat healthy.
I recommend the low-sodium Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes fish, whole grains, fruit, vegetables, oils, and nutsan excellent blend of nutrients to help protect against long-term disease. And quantity is as important as quality. Excess food consumption creates excess weight, putting you at risk for cardiovascular and other diseases. Moderation is the key to health, no matter what you eat or drink.
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