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.