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Relation between Drinking Coffee and Cholesterol Levels

  • Terpenes are oils found in coffee that may lead to high cholesterol, which is why caffeine may present a concern for those at risk for developing or already have been diagnosed with high cholesterol
  • When drinking coffee, make sure to pay attention to the amount of cream and sugar you add since they bolster total cholesterol levels
  • A low cholesterol diet is a good way of keeping levels (bad cholesterol levels) in check

Is there really a relation between coffee and cholesterol levels? There is but it’s not one that people will expect. The stimulant in coffee – namely caffeine – is not the problem when it comes to following diets for high cholesterol. In actuality, it is oils called terpenes that are the high cholesterol causing culprits. Terpenes are found in coffee that is unfiltered and most people drink filtered coffee. Anyone who prefers unfiltered coffee, such as espressos, is more at risk for high cholesterol because of the terpenes they are consuming.

Research on the correlation between coffee and cholesterol was done by John Hopkins in 1994 and researchers did find one. Drinking coffee causes in an increased risk in heart disease which is why many doctors recommend diets for high cholesterol that are low in caffeine consumption. Most of the people who participated in the study, however, had been drinking coffee since before 1975. It was around this time that the coffee industry was revolutionized with the introduction of filtered drip coffeemakers. Filtered coffee became the norm and people who on diets for high cholesterol that switch to filtered coffee as compared to unfiltered coffee have actually helped lower their cholesterol numbers.

Lowering your cholesterol by changing the type of coffee you drink has more to do with how you are already living and less about the coffee you are drinking. Hereditary factors, what you eat and how you live have more impact on your cholesterol levels than the amount of coffee you drink. Coffee adds to the levels, but do not cause them overall. A person with low cholesterol will not have to worry about whether or not their coffee is filtered or unfiltered, while a person with high cholesterol will need to reduce their caffeine intake.

When looked at in a perspective that includes other high cholesterol and heart disease factors, a person is much more likely to have problems from smoking and being overweight than by the amount of unfiltered coffee they are drinking. When compared to not drinking coffee at all, people who drink unfiltered coffee are only seeing a small drop in their cholesterol levels. In reality, drinking coffee really does not affect cholesterol levels unless the coffee is of the unfiltered variety.

Why is there a correlation between coffee and cholesterol then? The correlation probably comes from the fact that people drink their coffee with cream and sugar. Most of the research done on the coffee and cholesterol question is done on plain black coffee. When you add cream and sugar to the mix, then you are adding cholesterol bolstering products. Coffees at popular places such as Starbuck’s that is not straight black are more like desserts and are chock full of calories that most people do not need.

The decision to drink coffee or to not drink coffee in an effort to lowering your cholesterol needs to be locked at from the point of view of whether or not the coffee should be drunk black or with a limited amount of sugar and cream. People really concerned with the effect of coffee on their system – filter or unfiltered – should switch to filtered decaffeinated coffee to make sure they are sticking to the diets for high cholesterol their doctor recommends.

The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.

One Response to “Relation between Drinking Coffee and Cholesterol Levels”

  1. 1
    Beth Says:
    My father always had low cholesterol and this was a man who enjoyed steak, eggs, bacon, and all of the stuff that was bad for you. He also drank coffee - with sugar only - from the time he got up in the morning to the time he went to bed, going through a a 3 pound can in less than a week. He either had a really good metabolism or there is truly something to this coffee and cholesterol thing.