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Coffee and cholesterol: filter or boil?

Coffee and Cholesterol: Filter or Boil?

NORWAY: The way coffee is brewed may alter its effect on the metabolism of cholesterol in the body, according to a study from the University of Tromso in Norway.

Acting on evidence from their previous research, which indicated a correlation between coffee consumption and elevated serum cholesterol levels, the investigators attempted to determine whether different brewing methods might affect the quantity of supposed cholesterol-raising ingredients released from the grounds and consumed by the coffee drinker.

The researchers surveyed the coffee-drinking habits and measured the serum cholesterol of 21,826 residents of the municipality of Tromso, and, after adjusting for the influence of age, body mass (index), cigarette smoking, physical activity in leisure time, and salt and fat intake, they found that, for people who drank mainly boiled coffee (68% of the men and women), the increase in serum cholesterol concentration between those who drank less than one cup and those who drank nine or more cups per day was 11% in men and 8% in women.

Among those who usually drank filtered coffee (23% of the men and 20% of the women), on the other hand, "no statistical trend was observed with increased consumptions." The numbers of persons who drank instant or decaffeinated coffee "were not great enough" to give meaningful estimates of possible effects. There was no correlation between consumption of coffee and serum concentrations of the so-called "good" (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, they said, indicating that the effect of coffee consumption was to cause an increase in the "bad" (low-density and very-low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol fractions.

The critical factor in determining the extent of coffee's effect on cholesterol metabolism, the researchers said, may be the length of time that coffee grounds are in hot water; therefore, filtering may be more healthful than boiling.
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Publication:Nutrition Health Review
Date:Mar 22, 1989
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