High cholesterol: Coffee may raise levels, study warns – which types should you avoid?


Lowering your high cholesterol can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. Many different types of beverages contain certain compounds that can affect your levels, including coffee

Drinking coffee could affect your cholesterol levels, a study finds

Most studies on coffee and its health effects show that moderate amounts (four cups or less daily) can be good for your overall health, however, more than four cups have been linked to a higher risk of death from heart disease.

Although brewed coffee does not contain actual cholesterol, it does contain chemical compounds that can raise cholesterol levels.

The diterpenes in coffee suppress the body’s production of substances involved in breaking down cholesterol, causing cholesterol levels to rise.

After the triglycerides, diterpenes are the main class of coffee oils and belong to the chewing family.

Coffee diterpenes can increase total cholesterol and LDL (low density lipoprotein – or “bad”) cholesterol levels), experts warn.

Studies suggest that instant or instant coffee contains virtually no diterpenes and is therefore recommended for those concerned about their levels.

Coffee contains diterpenes, which suppress the body’s production of substances involved in breaking down cholesterol


(Getty Images/Blend Images)

Acrylamide is another chemical found in coffee that has been shown to affect total cholesterol, triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol.

A study published in the National Library of Medicine further examined the levels of acrylamide in coffee.

A total of 42 coffee samples were analyzed, including 28 ground roasted coffee, 11 instant coffee and three coffee substitutes (grain coffee).

“The highest mean acrylamide concentrations were found in coffee substitutes (818 pg/kg), followed by instant coffee (358 micrograms/kg) and then roasted coffee (179 micrograms/kg),” the study states.

It added: “A single cup of coffee (160ml) provided an average of 0.45 micrograms of acrylamide in roast coffee to 3.21 micrograms in artificial coffee.

The study found that the coffee roasting process has the greatest impact on acrylamide levels in natural coffee


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“A significant negative correlation was observed between acrylamide levels and color intensity in roasted coffee; However, this was not the case with instant coffee.”

The study concluded that the roasting process had the greatest impact on acrylamide levels in natural coffee, but no relationships to coffee types were found.

“Due to the proven high levels of acrylamide in coffee substitutes, recommended levels should be defined and manufacturers should be required to reduce these levels in these products,” she added.

Healthier morning drinks that may have a positive effect on cholesterol levels include:

  • Green tea
  • Soy milk
  • pomegranate juice
  • tomato juice
  • oat drinks
  • berry smoothies

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