Drinker’s gender and brewing method may be key to coffee’s rise in cholesterol

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The gender of the drinker, as well as the method of brewing, may be the key to the link between coffee and high cholesterol, a known risk factor for heart disease, a study published in the Open Journal suggests. open heart.

Espresso drinking is associated with the largest gender difference in cholesterol levels; The findings show that the plunger (cafetière) is narrowly associated with coffee.

The natural chemicals in coffee — diethylpenes, cafestol, and kahveol — raise blood cholesterol levels. The method of brewing is effective, but it is unknown what effect espresso coffee has and in what amount.

Therefore, the researchers wanted to compare espresso coffee with other brewing methods for people aged 40 and older (mean age 56).

They relied on data from 21,083 participants (11,074 women; 1,0009 men) who responded to the seventh Tromso survey of the 2015-16 long-term population survey, which began in 1974 and included residents of Tromso, Norway.

Participants were asked how many cups of coffee they drank per day – no one, 1-2 cups; 3–5; and 6 or more — and what type of infusion they drank – filtered; plunger (cafe); espresso, powder, mocha pot, etc. from coffee machines. and instantly.

Blood samples were taken and height and weight were measured. Information was also sought on potential influencing factors: diet and lifestyle, including smoking, alcohol and physical activity; educational entertainment; and was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

On average, women drink less than 4 cups of coffee a day, while men drink an average of about 5 cups.

Analysis of the data showed that the relationship between total cholesterol in coffee and serum varies depending on the brewing method, which differs by sex differences for all types of available plunger coffee.

Drinking 3-5 cups of espresso per day was significantly associated with an increase in total blood cholesterol, especially in men.

Compared to non-drinkers, this consumption pattern is associated with a 0.09 mmol / l higher plasma cholesterol in women. vs. higher than 0.16 mmol / l in men.

Daily 6 or more cups of piston coffee was also associated with an increase in cholesterol and was equally high in both sexes: 0.30 mmol / l in women. vs. higher than 0.23 mmol / l in men.

Daily consumption of 6 or more cups of filtered coffee is associated with higher cholesterol levels of 0.11 mmol / l in women, but not in men compared to those who do not drink filtered coffee.

Although instant coffee is associated with an increase in cholesterol in both sexes, it did not rise in tandem with the number of drunken cups compared to those who did not choose coffee powder / granules.

The researchers note that there are no standardized cup sizes used in their study; Norwegians, for example, drink larger espresso cups than Italians.

Different types of espresso – coffee machines, capsules or moccasins – can also contain different levels of naturally occurring basic chemicals.

But there are no clear explanations for the gender differences in the reaction of cholesterol to coffee, they add.

“Interestingly, coffee contains more than a thousand different phytochemicals. The intake of each compound depends on the type of coffee, the degree of roasting, the type of brewing method and the size of the portion,” they explain.

Experimental studies have shown that caffeine and kahveol also increase total cholesterol, have anti-inflammatory effects, protect the liver and reduce the risk of cancer and diabetes.

“This suggests that coffee contains compounds that can trigger multiple mechanisms at the same time,” the researchers said.

And they point out: “Coffee is the most consumed central stimulant in the world. Excessive coffee consumption can have a small negative impact on health.”


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More information:
The association between espresso coffee and serum total cholesterol: Tromsø Study 2015–2016, open heart (2022). DOI: 10.1136 / openhrt-2021-00194

Submitted by the British Medical Journal

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