Coffee’s cholesterol-raising affects men more than women, study suggests

A University of Norway team points to coffee diterpenes, cafestol and kahweol levels in raising cholesterol serum levels with its effect very much dependent on brewing method.

“The most important finding was that espresso coffee consumption was significantly associated with increased S-TC (serum total cholesterol),”​ the authors explain in their study.

“Coffee is the most frequently consumed central stimulant worldwide. Because of the high consumption of coffee, even small health effects can have considerable health consequences.

“Increased knowledge on espresso coffee’s association with serum cholesterol will improve the recommendations regarding coffee consumption.”

Responding to the study June Davison, Senior Cardiac Nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: “It’s important to remember that this type of study can only show an association and can’t prove cause and effect.

“We also need to be cautious in drawing firm conclusions, as the researchers didn’t use a standard definition of what an espresso is. 

“They also didn’t account for factors such as adding milk or sugar to coffee, which could have an impact on people’s health.  More research is needed to look into this further.”

Moderate amount fine

Davison adds that the findings shouldn’t cause concern with a moderate amount of coffee considered fine. 

“But be careful if you like to add flavoured syrups or whipped cream, as these can increase your sugar and saturated fat intake,” ​she adds.

“If you are sensitive to caffeine or you experience heart palpitations (flutters or pounding), it’s best to cut down on the amount you drink.”