The effect of espresso drinking on cholesterol

Want to talk espresso but not sure which forum? If so, this is the right one.
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drdna

Postby drdna » Aug 08, 2009, 12:53 am

Should I give up espresso?

The concentrated aromatic oil fraction in French Press coffee and the corresponding crema in espresso may contribute to elevations in "bad" LDL cholesterol and depressed "good" HDL cholesterol, as described in various studies.

Well, I recently got my cholesterol checked and it was a whopping 238. Not good at all. I already exercise about four or five times a week and eat a vegetarian diet. The only dairy product I consume is the milk I use to make my cappuccino.

I love espresso, but I am seriously thinking I should quit if it is going to affect my health.
Adrian

Vad

Postby Vad » Aug 08, 2009, 4:41 am

You could still drink coffee made with Chemex though.

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howard seth

Postby howard seth » Aug 08, 2009, 5:02 am

Perhaps, You may want to see a Doctor about your cholesterol level. There are various medications (Statins) to lower your LDL level, and raise your HDL - as you most likely know. I checked your "study" link - seems you have to drink a lot (5 cups) of French Press coffee each day to raise your cholesterol level 6-8%... but you would still be over 200, however if you cut out coffee ...

I also think you might look into other research about the coffee/cholesterol connection further; I would be interested in what you might find. Some claim health benefits to coffee consumption.

Howard
Howard Seth Miller

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drdna

Postby drdna » Aug 08, 2009, 5:38 am

howard seth wrote:Perhaps, You may want to see a Doctor about your cholesterol level.

I also think you might look into other research about the coffee/cholesterol connection further; I would be interested in what you might find. Some claim health benefits to coffee consumption.

Yes, I got the information when I saw the doctor actually. He suggested a statin, but I would prefer to find a natural way to lower my cholesterol. It seems to me that the human body is a finely tuned mechanism. If it is not functioning properly (given no infection or genetic defect)then you are not doing something right in terms of diet and exercise. It is true that drinking coffee can be healthy and that drip coffee using a paper filter eliminates the cholesterol effect.

But that would mean trading in my La Spaziale for a Technivorm and I am not sure I am up to that.
Adrian

jherm77

Postby jherm77 » Aug 08, 2009, 6:24 am

I happen to be a nutritionist/educator and cholesterol is one of my specialties. Your main concern in raised LDL levels and triglycerides is saturated fats, more specifically long chain fatty acids (LCFA). You won't get this from coffee oils, as most LCFA come from animal and man made fats. An additional consideration is total cholesterol numbers are not the most important number to pay attention to; LDL, triglycerides, and your cholesterol ratio are much more important. In short, your other lifestyle habits are more likely attributing to your cholesterol woes than your espresso. This is of course without having a full assessment of your eating/fitness/tobacco usage habits. Maybe you can use a lower fat milk in your caps?

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JohnB.

Postby JohnB. » Aug 08, 2009, 9:08 am

Depends on your system I guess, I saw my LDL levels drop 20 points between 2/08 & 2/09. During that period I drank only unfiltered coffee & Espresso on a daily basis. Is this the first time you've had your levels tested?
LMWDP 267

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drdna

Postby drdna » Aug 08, 2009, 10:00 am

jherm77 wrote:This is of course without having a full assessment of your eating/fitness/tobacco usage habits. Maybe you can use a lower fat milk in your caps?

As I mentioned, I eat a strict vegetarian diet (actually vegan except for the milk in my cappuccino) and exercise 4-5 times a week. Just tried to make SOY milk cappuccino this morning. Yuck. But maybe I will get used to it. It tasted like my cappuccino was made of cardboard. :-p

John B. wrote:Is this the first time you've had your levels tested?

No, that is the concerning issue, which is why I brought it here. I always ran around 180-190 before I got my La Spaziale and started drinking espresso and cappuccino at home on a regular basis. Now, it has jumped up by 40+ points. Could it be a coincidence?
Adrian

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JohnB.

Postby JohnB. » replying to drdna » Aug 08, 2009, 10:43 am

You might want to get it rechecked in a couple months as my doctor tells me levels can change regularly depending on what your body is up to. Was the increase all LDL?
LMWDP 267

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RapidCoffee
Team HB

Postby RapidCoffee » Aug 08, 2009, 12:26 pm

drdna wrote:The concentrated aromatic oil fraction in French Press coffee and the corresponding crema in espresso may contribute to elevations in "bad" LDL cholesterol and depressed "good" HDL cholesterol, as described in various studies.

Alan Adler (inventor of the Aeropress) has been harping on this topic on CG for some time now. Paper apparently filters out the cafestol and other potentially harmful diterpenes. For that reason (and taste tests), he refuses to market metal filters for his ingenious device.

Like most dietary research, these conclusions are open to dispute. But I do believe this is of concern to espresso drinkers, and we should monitor new studies closely. Whether you believe there is sufficient evidence to give up unfiltered coffee is of course up to you.

My cholesterol increased significantly since I started drinking espresso regularly a few years ago. But there are a number of other factors that might have caused this, notably age and genetic programming (both my parents had high cholesterol). Diet and exercise had little impact, so I went on statins last year, and the lipid counts dropped back down.

jherm77 wrote:I happen to be a nutritionist/educator and cholesterol is one of my specialties. Your main concern in raised LDL levels and triglycerides is saturated fats, more specifically long chain fatty acids (LCFA). You won't get this from coffee oils, as most LCFA come from animal and man made fats.

Nutritionist or not, this comment misses the point. There is no cholesterol in coffee per se, but there are diterpenes (such as cafestrol) which may elevate cholesterol levels, presumably by increasing the amount of cholesterol produced by the body.
John

ChristianB

Postby ChristianB » Aug 08, 2009, 1:03 pm

I will just add that anyone concerned about cholesterol and considering statins might consider doing a little research, as the problems with cholesterol and the effects of statins is not a simple topic with clear conclusions (not that I will dispute that high cholesterol is not a serious symptom or that statins might be the solution).
Christian B.