A study has found that the type of coffee that’s worst for your heart depends on your gender.
Researchers have found that coffee raises cholesterol — but how much is affected by how it’s brewed and whether you’re a man or a woman.
For men, drinking espresso causes a greater rise than for women.
While the opposite is true for filter coffee, women see higher levels than men who drink the amount.
The study, which included more than 20,000 people in Norway, found that cafeteria coffee was the only type that did not cause “significant gender differences” for cholesterol.
Chemicals naturally found in coffee, called diterpenes, cafestol, and kahweol, are known to raise levels of cholesterol — a fatty substance that can clog arteries and cause heart attacks and strokes.
But experts urged caution about the results, saying those who only drink one or two cups a day should not be concerned.
Other studies have found that drinking coffee can actually reduce the risk of heart disease.
A new study has found that men should choose filter coffee and women espresso to avoid some of coffee’s cholesterol-raising effects.
What is high cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a fatty substance necessary for the normal functioning of the body.
But too much of it can cause it to build up in the arteries, limiting blood flow to the heart, brain, and the rest of the body.
This increases the risk of angina, heart attack, stroke and blood clots.
Cholesterol is made in the liver and transported in the blood by proteins.
The first – high-density lipoprotein (HDL) – transports cholesterol from cells to the liver where it is broken down or passed as waste. This is the “good cholesterol”.
“Bad cholesterol” – low-density lipoprotein (LDL) – transports cholesterol into cells in excess amounts and then builds up in the arterial walls.
High cholesterol can be genetic but is also linked to a diet high in saturated fats, as well as smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure and a family history of stroke or heart disease.
Cholesterol is measured in units called mmols per liter of blood, often shortened to mmol/L.
The total level of a healthy adult should be 5 mmol/L or less, while the LDL level should be no more than 3 mmol/L. The ideal level of HDL is above 1mmol/L.
Cholesterol can be lowered by eating a healthy, low-fat diet; Do not smoke and exercise regularly.
If these medications do not help, then cholesterol-lowering medications such as statins may be prescribed.
The study, published in the journal Open Heart, examined survey answers and blood samples from 21,083 people over the age of 40 who lived in Tromsø, Norway.
It was carried out by a team of researchers led by UiT Artic University in Norway.
They examined four brewing methods, espresso, coffee, filter coffee and instant coffee.
Study participants were surveyed about the number of cups of coffee they drank each day and the type of brewing method used to make them.
Then blood samples were taken for analysis, along with the participants’ height and weight.
The results showed that people who drank three to five espressos a day were significantly more likely to have elevated cholesterol levels, compared to those who didn’t.
But the extent of the increase differed by gender, with men who drank a lot of espresso seeing their cholesterol levels rise by 0.16 mmol/L while women saw an increase of only 0.09 mmol/L.
As a guide, people who score less than five mmol per liter (mmol/L) of blood on a cholesterol test are considered to have a healthy level of fats in their blood.
Espresso is made by forcing hot water under high pressure through finely pressed coffee.
It can be drunk on its own as well as mixed with milk to form drinks like macchiatos, flat eggs and cappuccinos.
Drinking six or more cups of filter coffee did not increase cholesterol levels in men, but it did increase levels in women by 0.11 mmol/L.
Filter coffee is made by hot water slowly dripping through ground coffee before passing through the filter, which removes most of the chemicals that raise cholesterol.
Experts said there was no clear explanation for the gender differences observed in the study.
Participants who drank six or more cups of caviar coffee — also known as boiled/brewed coffee — also had raised cholesterol levels, 0.30 mmol/L for women and 0.23 mmol/L for men, compared to those who did not, but there was no, the researchers said. That there is a big difference between the sexes.
There was no strong relationship between drinking instant coffee and cholesterol levels, which the researchers say “makes sense” given that this type contains only trace amounts of cholesterol-raising ingredients.
“Increasing knowledge about the association of espresso coffee with blood cholesterol will improve recommendations for coffee consumption,” said study lead author Åsne Lirhus Svatun.
Dr Depender Gill, an expert in pharmacology from University College London, urged caution about the results, noting that factors other than coffee preference could influence the results.
“Specifically, men and individuals who prefer a certain type of coffee may also have other lifestyle factors that affect their cholesterol levels,” he said.
Professor Tom Sanders, a nutritionist from King’s College London, also told people not to worry about the type of coffee they’re drinking as long as it’s in moderation.
“It doesn’t really matter what kind of coffee you drink if you only have one or two cups a day, but it is important that you drink more,” he said.
One limitation of the study is that no standard cup size was used in the analysis.
Cholesterol is a fatty substance vital to the normal functioning of the body.
But too much of it can cause it to build up in the arteries, limiting blood flow to the heart, brain, and the rest of the body and increasing the risk of angina, heart attack, stroke, and blood clots.
While a large number of studies have previously linked coffee to many health benefits, including overall longevity, and reduced chances of developing depression or diabetes.
Contrary to the latest research, Australian experts published a study in March of this year that found that people who drink two to three cups of coffee a day have a 10 to 15 percent lower risk of developing heart disease or dying within a decade.