Effects of Habitual Coffee Consumption on Cardiometabolic Disease, Cardiovascular Health, and All-Cause Mortality

James H. O'Keefe, MD; Salman K. Bhatti, MD; Harshal R. Patil, MD; James J. DiNicolantonio, PHARMD; Sean C. Lucan, MD, MPH, MS; Carl J. Lavie, MD


J Am Coll Cardiol. 2013;62(12):1043-1051. 

In This Article

Coffee and Serum Lipids

Coffee contains cholesterol-increasing compounds classified as diterpenes, including cafestol and kahweol.[17] Importantly, the concentration of these compounds depends on how coffee is prepared. Boiled coffee has higher concentrations because diterpenes are extracted from the coffee beans by prolonged contact with hot water. By comparison, brewed/filtered coffee, because of the much shorter contact with hot water and retention of diterpenes by filter paper, has a much lower concentration of cafestol and kahweol.

The effect of coffee on serum lipid levels was studied in 107 young adults with normal cholesterol levels followed for 12 weeks. Coffee was brewed by 2 common methods, filtering and boiling, and the participants were assigned to 1 of 3 groups: drinking 4 to 6 cups of boiled coffee per day, 4 to 6 cups of filtered coffee per day, or no coffee, for a period of 9 weeks. A significant increase in total cholesterol and a nonsignificant increase in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol were observed in participants consuming boiled coffee. On the other hand, there was no significant difference in the change in serum total or LDL cholesterol levels between the filtered-coffee group and the group who drank no coffee.[18] These results were replicated in a meta-analysis of 14 RCTs in which the consumption of boiled coffee dose-dependently increased serum total and LDL cholesterol concentrations, whereas the consumption of filtered coffee resulted in very little change in serum cholesterol.[19] A large cohort of 132,000 men and women from Health Professionals Follow-up Study and the Nurses' Health Study without history of CV disease and cancer also found no impact of filtered coffee on total cholesterol, LDL and high-density lipoprotein levels.[20]

Conversely, tea, however, shares many of the health effects of coffee and has a favorable effect on the lipid profiles, especially the LDL/high-density lipoprotein ratio, which is in contrast to the lipid effects of unfiltered coffee consumption.[21]