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Does Coffee Increase Your Risk of High Cholesterol?

Posted by David Cheatham, June 2, 2022

If you feel concerned about your cholesterol levels – or if your doctor has expressed a concern – you probably know that dietary changes will be key to getting cholesterol under control. But what you might not know is that your morning coffee could contribute to the problem! A recent study published in the online journal Open Heart found that people who drink espresso might face a greater risk of high cholesterol.

Why? Certain chemicals in coffee (diterpenes, cafestol and kahweol) are the suspected culprits. Studies on regular coffee did not discover the same negative effects, leading researchers to believe that brewing coffee without a filter (as with espresso) leaves more of the chemicals in the drink.

No, that probably does not mean that you can never enjoy a cup of espresso. The study found a link between espresso consumption and high cholesterol when subjects drank three to five cups of espresso per day, which is admittedly an uncommon amount. The effect was more dramatic in men than in women.

High cholesterol does raise your risk of developing cardiovascular disease. The condition might also nullify some of the beneficial properties that coffee is thought to have, such as a reduction of diabetes risk.

Those who already face a high risk of cholesterol problems, and men in particular, might be wise to cut back on drinking espressos. However, filtered coffee is still considered a harmless daily habit by many researchers, and even beneficial by some. Of course, you should always consult with your doctor about dietary choices, including your coffee habit, and follow their recommendations based upon your own health.

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