Does Coffee Cause High Cholesterol? (A Detailed Research)

Drinking highly caffeinated coffee in the morning can actually raise your cholesterol levels and cause you some serious problems. Consuming coffee in excess can raise your bad cholesterol levels. The way you prepare the coffee will also affect the level of cholesterol.

Many people who don’t like to get up early for work struggle in the morning. It’s important to stay motivated throughout the rest of the day.

Having a cup of coffee in the morning gives you the energy boost and adrenaline rush that will get your day started. It keeps you awake and removes the feeling of drowsiness. The problem comes when you overdo it throughout the day. If you are like most people, you do not track how many cups of coffee you drink during the day.

Excessive caffeine consumption can have serious consequences for your health. Many health issues are associated with high cholesterol levels caused by coffee, such as diabetes and heart disease.

In this article, we’ll discuss how it affects your cholesterol. 

How Can Drinking Coffee Cause High Cholesterol?

a coffee mug with a french press

Cafestol, a compound found in coffee, is able to increase your cholesterol levels by inhibiting the production of bile and by affecting the body’s ability to digest and metabolize cholesterol. They both affect cholesterol levels directly and raise them.

Throughout our daily routines, we consume coffee on a regular basis. However, excessive consumption can cause you to develop high cholesterol levels. It might be a bit troublesome for you if you drink more than 3 to 4 cups a day or if you’re addicted to the local diner or coffee shop.

Cafestol is a compound found in coffee just like caffeine. This compound is concentrated in a coffee that is highly caffeinated. Therefore, many illnesses may occur due to this, your body may produce less bile due to this damage. The fats you consume cannot be digested if the amount of bile in your body is gradually reduced. By converting fats into fatty acids, bile makes your digestive system’s job easier. Hence, you have a higher cholesterol level.

Cafestol also has the ability to control the intestinal pathway needed for fat metabolism, according to studies, cafestol can boost cholesterol levels by 6%. So, adding plant-based milk alternatives that are less fattening will also help you reduce your bad cholesterol.

Do watch this video to get a better idea.

Is Cold Brew Coffee Bad For Cholesterol?

It doesn’t matter whether the coffee is brewed with hot or cold water, as long as a filter is used to pour it into a cup for drinking purposes, it won’t affect the cholesterol. The filter helps to get rid of cafestol, therefore, making it safe for your cholesterol levels.

People in various parts of the world enjoy drinking coffee, and their loyalty to the drink is high and mighty. People drink coffee for its caffeine benefits. Plus, it contains antioxidants, vitamins, nutrients, and minerals, such as potassium, niacin, etc. The benefits of coffee are numerous. A healthy drink cannot cause harm, so how does it do that?

When coffee is not filtered, some of the harmful compounds of coffee remain with the drink, which in turn, can cause some damage. One of which is raised bad cholesterol levels which are also called LDL.

By drinking unfiltered coffee on a regular basis, you cannot control your cholesterol levels. Therefore, diterpenes such as cafestol are present naturally in the oil that is produced by the beans. Longer contact with water and the absence of any filtration prominently enhance the presence of this compound.

It is common in French presses or in Turkish coffees. The two methods of brewing both reveal more coffee oils and boost the concentration of diterpenes. They can interfere with your body’s natural ability to digest and break down fat, thereby elevating your cholesterol levels.

You see, coffee is healthy when it is consumed in small quantities. The MayoClinic suggests, one should not drink more than three to four 8 oz cups of coffee per day. In the case of excessive coffee consumption, you will suffer caffeine overdose.

 The symptoms of caffeine overdose include:

  • Headaches
  • Jitteriness
  • Severe migraines
  • Elevated anxiety
  • Nausea
  • High Blood Pressure

As well as this, excessive coffee causes your liver to stop producing bile. The function of bile is to digest fatty acids and maintain cholesterol levels. Low levels of bile result in high cholesterol levels. Due to the naturally occurring cafestol in coffee oil, plus less bile production, your cholesterol levels would be high.

two cups of coffees with colourful latter art

What Coffee Is Good For Cholesterol?

You should stick with dark roasts, filtered coffee, instant coffee when it comes to cholesterol-safe coffees. These three coffees don’t reduce cholesterol but instead, help with not spiking up the levels.

Since coffee becomes an essential part of our routine it’s very difficult to completely ignore it. The best part is caffeine. The caffeine wakes you up instantly when you don’t feel like getting up but have numerous tasks at hand.

So, in order to keep your cholesterol in check while enjoying coffee, you can drink three types of coffee. But do remember not to go overboard and drink within safe limits.

These are:

  • Dark Roast
  • Instant Coffee
  • Filtered Coffee

Dark Roast

Caféstol is most commonly found in light roasts than in dark roasts. Unlike dark roasts, light roasts are roasted only briefly. Research states that the longer coffee beans are heated, the less cafestol they contain. Therefore, the next time you go to buy coffee beans, get a dark roast instead.

Instant Coffee

Similar to darker roasts, instant coffee also works on the same principle. Cafestol concentration is negligible in instant coffee since it is processed under extreme heat with water at high temperatures, making it completely safe to consume when you’re having cholesterol issues.

Filtered Coffee

Any coffee which is brewed using no matter what method but did not get filtered is harmful. Therefore, you need to drink filtered coffee in order to make it good for your cholesterol. Filters like cloth filters or paper filters help remove cafestol which elevates cholesterol levels.

Can I Have Coffee Before A Cholesterol Test?

You can certainly drink coffee before a cholesterol test because it won’t necessarily affect your LDL results, but follow the doctor’s guide which is usually to fast before a cholesterol test.

Cholesterol and triglycerides are measured in a cholesterol test. All cells in the body contain cholesterol, which is a type of fat. You see, cholesterol is necessary for the body to produce vitamin D, hormones, and digestion-aiding enzymes. And there are bad fats and good fats. In order to assess a person’s cholesterol levels and health conditions, healthcare professionals add good cholesterol HDL to bad cholesterol LDL in order to calculate total cholesterol.

So, can we have coffee before going to the doctor’s office?

Well, you can have coffee because it won’t certainly affect the test results. But doctors don’t recommend eating or drinking at least 8 to 10 before the examination. This way the results can be more accurate. So, it’s best advised not to consume anything before the test.

Are Coffee Creamers High In Cholesterol?

Coffee creamers contain hydrogenated fats which can increase your cholesterol levels if consumed in high volumes.

You might be surprised by how there’s no cream actually present in creamers. Lactose intolerant people can certainly drink creamers as an alternative to dairy due to their health condition of not being able to digest lactose. But if there’s isn’t any actual cream, how are the creamers so thick and creamy? That is because these creamers are typically rich in sugars, oil, and thickeners. Hydrogenated oils are present in creamers so consuming them is extremely unhealthy. A diet high in trans-fat increases your risk of developing heart disease or stroke.

One spoon of creamer contains about 0.5 grams of trans fats, so you can imagine where your cholesterols levels would be if you consume 3 to 4 cups of coffee with one spoon of creamer for a whole month. Yikes!

two creamer bottles of starbucks and silk

Although some manufacturers advertise that their products are sugar-free and fat-free, this may not be a good thing. Apart from oils and thickeners, creamers can also contain synthetic sweeteners. The benefits of ingesting fewer calories may not outweigh the negatives, even though you might save a few calories. So if you use creamers, your best bet is to use plant-based milk instead of trans-fat-filled creamers. They are much healthier and are certainly good for your cholesterol.

If you wanna know more about creamers and whether they’re bad or not, have a look at my other article.

Below is a table of sugar and fat content for some plant-based milk for 1 cup that is used in coffee instead of creamers.

Plant-Based MilkSugarsFats
Oat Milk 1 g1.5 g
Almond Milk0 g2.6 g
Soya Milk10 g4.3 g
Cashew Milk0 g2 g
Coconut Milk8 g4 g

My Final Thoughts

Coffee is a very important part of our daily lives. And it sure has some very good benefits to it. But when it comes to cholesterol, you might need to be a bit mindful. Coffee itself is a fat-free drink by nature –excluding the fats that we put in through dairy and creamers, but due to compounds found in coffee, coffee can actually affect our cholesterol levels.

The cafestol present in the coffee can certainly elevate cholesterol levels. You can avoid it by drinking filtered coffee and not using too many creamers. Plant-based milk can help add richness without any bad fats.

Marty Spargo

Caffeine aficionado and coffee student (if there's such a thing!). I've come to love coffee in recent years and share what I learn along the way on this website.

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