Type of coffee a person drinks affects their cholesterol, heart attack risk
Coffee drinkers should avoid making their morning brew in a cafetiere and switch to filter coffee to lower their risk of heart disease, according to a new study.
Norwegian scientists looked at how the type of coffee a person drinks affects their cholesterol, which can accumulate in the blood and cause blockages leading to heart disease.
More than 20,000 people answered a questionnaire on how much coffee they drink and the type they prefer, while scientists analysed their blood for cholesterol.
Coffee consumption was divided into quantities of none; one to two cups; three to five cups; or more than five a day. Coffee type was either none; filtered; cafetière; espresso from a machine or pods; and instant.
Women drank an average of just under four cups of coffee a day, the scientists found, while men drank almost five, on average. There was no standard cup size in the research, the scientists said.
The three to five cups a day group covered the average intake of both men and women. For this cohort, filter coffee was found to increase cholesterol the least, with only 0.04 and 0.07 mmol per litre increases for men and women, respectively, above the baseline set by coffee abstainers.
In contrast, plunger coffee such as that from a cafetiere increased cholesterol by 0.25 and 0.18mmol per litre.
Espresso coffee from a machine was found to increase cholesterol by 0.16 and 0.09mmol per litre and instant coffee registered 0.08 and 0.1 for men and women, respectively.
The figures are small but significant, the researchers said, adding that “because of the high consumption of coffee, even small health effects can have considerable health consequences.
“Our findings regarding boiled/plunger coffee are the same as in the 1980s, pointing toward results being generalisable,” the researchers wrote in their report, published in the Open Heart journal.
“This supports previous health recommendations to reduce intake of boiled/plunger coffee because of its capabilities to increase [cholesterol levels].”
The scientists said that cholesterol-raising chemicals such as diterpenes, cafestol and kahweol were present in all coffee, but different brewing methods altered how prominent they were in the end product.
The researchers are unable to explain why men are more affected by coffee than women when it comes to cholesterol levels.
But Tom Sanders, professor emeritus of nutrition and dietetics at King’s College London, who was not involved with the study, said the gender discrepancy is likely to be down to differences in coffee drinking behaviour and not a physiological difference.
He added that for low-quantity consumers - those having less than two cups a day - the type of coffee one prefers should be of little concern but coffee fanatics drinking more than three cups a day should take heed of the research.