Coffee raises cholesterol?
This was the surprising and disturbing fact I recently learned in an email from my friend Lisa. If true, it means that in addition to changing the way I eat and exercise, and my doctor’s latest advice to reduce my daily wine intake (so not gonna’ happen), I should stop drinking coffee, too.
Cut out wine AND coffee? Both?
Once my toddler tantrum subsided, I took to the web to do some research. The bad news: there is a coffee-cholesterol connection. The good news: it’s French Press and other unfiltered coffee that increases cholesterol. That’s good for me, but bad for Lisa – she needs to cut back her coffee consumption because she drinks French Press coffee. But I’m a regular joe junkie, so am not boosting my already-high cholesterol with my morning fix. Whew.
Why do some kinds of coffee increase cholesterol? And by how much? According to the Berkeley Wellness Alert’s The Coffee-Cholesterol Connection:
“Daily consumption of 10 milligrams of cafestol—the amount in about four 5-ounce cups of French-press coffee—has been shown to raise cholesterol by 8% to 10% in four weeks, mostly due to increased LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. Some people are affected more than others, and the effects may be greater in those who have higher cholesterol to begin with.”
For those with high cholesterol, French Press coffee is not a good plan. But for those like me who drink ‘regular’ coffee, the issue is moot since, “American-style ‘drip’ coffee has virtually none (of the cholesterol-raising compounds) because the paper filters trap the compounds. Percolated and instant coffees also have negligible amounts.”
So my 2-cups-a-day-of-Keurig-brewed-decaf habit is A-OK. I am still supposed to cut down on wine (again, not gonna’ happen), but I am thrilled to report my coffee habit is safe.
Smugly savoring my hazelnut decaf the next morning, it hit me that I wasn’t exactly sure if coffee brewed in a Keurig machine was, in fact, filtered coffee. I mean, you can’t see a filter. And what if it’s just filtered via the plastic K-cup? Would the plastic filter out the bad stuff?
Panic building, I again hopped online but found nothing. Nowhere could I find an answer to whether K-cups have filters that would trap the cholesterol-raising compounds in coffee. So I resorted to taking apart a K-cup. And look what I found – a brown paper filter inside! See? Isn’t that the cutest little baby paper filter you have ever seen?
OK, roll your eyes at my waxing rhapsodic about the internal guts of a K-cup. But come on, you have to admit it’s cool that there’s a tiny brown paper filter in every K-cup.
And it saves my coffee addiction. For which I’m exceedingly grateful.
But if you drink French Press or Turkish (whatever that is) or some other type of unfiltered coffee, it might be time for a new coffee machine.
Just in time for the holidays.