Does Coffee Affect Cholesterol?

“Does Coffee Affect Cholesterol?” In a video I did a decade ago— you can tell how ancient it is by the silly graphics— I explained that the cholesterol-raising factor in coffee does not pass through a drip coffee paper filter. Give people French press coffee, which is filtered, but without paper, and their cholesterol swells up over time starting within just two weeks, but switch them to paper-filtered coffee, and their cholesterol comes right back down. Same amount of coffee, but just prepared differently. The cholesterol-raising factor from coffee beans has since been identified— it’s the fatty substances in the oil within coffee beans. One reason it took us so long to figure that out is that it didn’t raise cholesterol in rats or hamsters, or even monkeys, but it did in human beings. But, it apparently gets stuck in the paper filter. This explains why filtered coffee doesn’t affect cholesterol, whereas boiled, French press, or Turkish coffees do. Espresso as well, which has 20 times more of the cholesterol-raising substance cafestol than paper-filtered drip coffee, with Turkish and boiled coffee being the worst, though instant and percolator coffee are pretty low, even without the paper filter. Note, if you make drip coffee with one of those metal mesh filters without the paper, it would presumably be just as bad as like the French press. So, the studies in general appeared to consistently find that it was this fatty component that was then filtered out by paper, but a small number of studies suggested that filtered coffee may also increase cholesterol levels, and began to cast some doubt onto what appeared to be a fairly clear picture. So, yeah, the cholesterol-raising effects brought about
by the consumption of filtered coffee may not be as strong as those of the boiled coffee, but maybe we shouldn’t discard the possibility that filtered coffee may also play a small, but important, role in raising cholesterol. I knew about this study, where three cups a day of filtered coffee raised total cholesterol, but the rise in LDL “bad” cholesterol was not statistically significant. Same with this study, where stopping filtered coffee reduced total cholesterol, suggesting perhaps only partial removal, but no one had ever just measured the levels of the cholesterol-raising compounds in the paper filters… until now. The results showed that most of the cholesterol-raising cafestol was retained by the coffee grounds, rather than actually getting stuck in the filter itself. In other words, the principal function of the paper filter is to not necessarily to block the compound itself, but to block any fine particles that are carrying the compound. Like, when you make French press coffee, there’s that fine mesh screen, but you still notice a little sludge at the bottom of the cup; that’s the tiny particles that pass through and can carry some of the risk. But, a little cafestol does get through the filter. So, yeah, you can cut out more than 90% – switching from French press, or one of the metal mesh filters, by using a paper filter. If you use coffee that starts out with a high level of the cafestol compound, you’re still clearing out about 95% with the paper, but there may be enough left to still bump your LDL, but you don’t know until you… put it to the test. They started out with
a high cafestol coffee. After a month of drinking two cups a day, their LDL cholesterol went up significantly, even though it was paper-filtered. So, if you have high cholesterol despite eating a healthy diet, you may want to try cutting out coffee and getting retested. Or, you can try switching to a lower cafestol coffee. There’s all sorts of variables, such as roasting degree or grind size that may affect cafestol levels. One can imagine a smaller particle size would allow for greater extraction. Roasting appears to destroy some of it; so, a really dark roast should have less. But, there’s not much difference between just light and medium roast. Indeed, in this study, there was no significant difference between the rise in cholesterol after a medium light roast versus a medium roast. They both raised bad cholesterol.

100 Replies to “Does Coffee Affect Cholesterol?

  1. Green coffee vs. Dark roast coffee, if it's super filtered then does anyone know if green has more antioxidants? #PutItToTheTest

  2. Reading these comments makes me realize that so many people watching the vids only has two words in their appraisal vocabulary: Praise or Demonize. This video did absolutely none of that.

  3. I hate coffee anyways, you'd have to sweeten it up in order for you to drink it. It's bitter af, i don't get how people love it. The only good thing about coffee is it's smell. Long live Green Tea :D.

  4. This video is a waste of time unless it's going to be put in context with the research studies. Dr. Gregers too interested right now in writing his next book than to get deep into anything. This isn't the knock the guy but it's the truth. That's what he's told us.

    I drink instant coffee 2-3 times daily, I would like to reduce this or quite coffee but I feel absolutely tired without it, what would you suggest for me to take instead to build up my energy and concentration levels?

  6. And what if you use this textil coffee filter? In my country it is called " coffee sock" as a traditional method…

  7. Since switching to a whole food plant based diet I do not crave for coffee like I used to. I drink espresso sometimes but once every few days and in used tinge crazy for it. So it works out.

  8. I have one beautiful quality bean roasted stove-top hand ground coffee a day. I'm following a whole food plant based diet. I think I'll continue with my one coffee a day. I really love it!

  9. There's no mention in this video of cold-brew coffee, which is what I normally drink. Cold brew passes through a filter, of course, but it's not a paper filter; I use reusable one.

    Sounds like I gotta throw out my old filters and change the filter more frequently.

  10. All these folks in the comment section arguing about why this study is b.s. so they can continue to feel good about their bad habit. HysTERical 😂.

    Your body doesn’t need any liquid but water and whatever liquid comes from the whole plants you eat. If your diet is on point you’ll have plenty of energy. Y’all need to stop it.

  11. coffee is total junk food
    its literal ash, cook foodism crazyness at its maximum
    if u drink it for health reasons u r out of ur mind, regardless what any science says
    its just for performance/libido/fun/short high/taste

    but dont think that these come without a backlash…

  12. if u "need" coffee ur diet sux
    its probably too high in starch (aka >1g)
    ur body screams for a new energy high but ur caloric stores r actually full and so it chooses coffee which also "helps" with the digestion of the starchy junk u ate
    no wonder ppl who eat these foods crave coffee aint it…fixes multiple issues

    one of the lowest frequency foods on the planet…opposite of raw

  13. Please comment on the various pod configuration used in Keurig machines. Some pods have a paper filter while others just have a tea bag type of mesh.

  14. what would be the reason for instant coffee causing lower spikes? There may be no residue but the whole crystals are being consumed.

  15. That's good and all, but if higher LDL doesn't lead to higher mortality rate due to heart disease, or even the other way around, as shown here (, lowering LDL is useless or even can be harmful.

  16. What was their LDL to begin with? Everyone is different and they're levels can be affected in different ways. Also, he didn't talk about the anti-cancer effects of the cafestol or the benefits of caffeic acid.

  17. One hand ground,pour over cup of light roast beans is all I require…and forget that dark roast nonsense; I want to TASTE my coffee, thank you

  18. Very strange study which I believe is superficial. Does the fats in coffee raise the cholesterol or does that the caffeine? As caffeine pushes kind of hormonal reaction which might as a result cause accumulating cholesterol as ‘protective’ action from the body?

  19. Vegan more or less whole foods based AND a non coffee drinker – forever alone in Swedish society. Thank you Dr. Greger, I have so much time now..

  20. So this is a plant food which raises cholesterol. This strikes me as being very unusual. How many other plant foods raise cholesterol?

  21. I might as well just stay off for good and stick to Matcha Green Tea. I swear Im in a library in west London, sipping on an Americano from Costa and this one popped up as recomended while I was havi ng a little break. Time to give up on coffee for a while.

  22. Drinker coffee for 27 years , stopped 7 week ago ! If you stop coffee, summer only ! And be ready for first 6 week you ll feel awfull! It start feeling better at the 7 week , don’t train ! It will take all just to function! After 65 days? You can begin training again! This has to happen before you start filling your semen bank ( male or female semen) only after should you start keeping your male or female seed in! This? In 65 days will hyperboost you system! Duration? Likely 9 month! Yep everything in life has drawback! Only use semen to make babies! Your body need it’s own semen to thrive! It’s has important if not more then blood!

  23. Are the scientists measuring the in cup sludge from French press coffee, as if to assume if it's in the cup it's going to be consumed? FP coffee drinkers perform some of their own filtration by not drinking the sludge. Time for another study.

  24. Dr. Esselstyn has the position that we shouldn't drink caffeinated coffee because the cafestol get's 'activated' by the caffeine and has been shown to impair endothelial function, whereas this is not the case with either decaf coffee or with caffeinated tea. So, the big question for me would be, if it doesn't harm endothelial function, how much does it raise LDL and total cholesterol for someone who is on a 100% whole foods plant based diet without oil, nuts, or any added sugar, sugar substitures (including natural ones like dates), salt (or anything that contributes a significant amount of sodium like miso or aminos)? I'm guessing these studies followed people mostly on a SAD, so what significance is there for those who aren't? A year ago I went on this WFPBNOSOS plan and within 6 weeks my total cholesterol was about 100 and LDL was about 50. That was consuming zero coffee. For the past 3-6 months though I've been consuming between 2 and 6 decaf oatmilk or almond milk cappucinos. Since espresso has more of these cafestols, that's made me a bit more concerned, but I'm going to stick with this pattern and see what happens when I finally get tested again in the next few months to see if it's been effected at all (no other variables have changed that should be relevant).

  25. Hey Dr. Greger! Been a subscriber for a long time and love all the content you put out!
    I just got to a new country and the tap water both smells and tastes weird, a little like pool water. The government says its safe to drink it but my instinct says its not.
    I try to think about not using plastic and drinking water from plastic bottles all the time is not doing good for my conscience.
    Ive been trying to find out about distilled water to see if its good or not, but there is a lot of both-sided information about it, some says its dangerous and some say its the fountain of youth.
    Should I buy a water distiller and drink distilled water ?
    I would really appreciate your thoughts on this.
    Best regards!

  26. excuse me sir, a basic front line question for any human with a head on who wants to go vegan is wondering in the back of there head, can you get enough b12 living in nature without taking supplements as a clean individual, cause just cause theres trees around doesnt mean your eating your feces n stuff, some people probably do that, but i dont

  27. I view this as another aspect of coffee, but for me the health benefits far outweigh this one detriment and I wish you would have at least mentioned some of those benefits to be more balanced, just like you listed the possible bad effects towards the end of this video where you discussed the benefits of unsweetened coffee.

  28. I am getting sick of thinking about all of this. I struggled for years to get to plant based and have done it. Now we have to avoid nuts and coffee and avocados etc. I am not saying doctor Greger recommends avoiding nuts and avocado but we are bombarded with conflicting information. Doctor Greger is the best and filtering(pardon the pun) out the noise. I avoid doctors for the most part but watch all of his latest findings. It is just hard to accept that a coffee bean can lead to a heart attack. meanwhile it is apparently very good for the liver. Makes no sense. I am in a bad mood…lol

  29. This is nonsense. 6mg of cholesterol per cup of the worst boiled coffee, and we should worry why exactly? When 1 egg has 187mg… that obviously should instantly kill anyone who even looks at an egg.

  30. Very good to know. I am a tea drinker who gets into phases of drinking decaf coffee. I have been in the coffee phase lately.

  31. I had high cholesterol it was 11 I have been on stains for 20 years ,Ive been on Keto for 2 months ,I've dropped 37lbs and my cholesterol has now dropped to 4.4 and now off the meds , I drink gallons of coffee

  32. is this just an issue for people with high dietary cholesterol??? Vegans with zero dietary cholesterol won't be affected by french press coffeee right??!??? Please tell me I'm right???..

  33. I drink 3-4 italian strong coffees daily and my cholesterol is 90mg/dl. I do this thanks to a whole plant based diet extremelly low in fat and absolutely without added oils. When I go to eat in restaurants I order white rice and steam vegetables and mostly I cook at home my own meals because outside food is mostly a poison for the human body. Coffee is the fly inside the room… let’s take care of the dinosaur first.

  34. That said, I drink a cup of coffee, probably every day, that I brewed in my French Press. I had my blood tested and my LDL was 66. So would it be lower if I didn't drink coffee? I dunno… But 66 is a pretty darn good number, methinks.. Which makes me wonder if they took 'diet' into account here. Mind you I am a WFPB Vegan, so maybe that helps?

  35. Ooh boy, take this with a grain of salt and check out the other research (and other Greger vids on subject). Meat eaters should absolutely drink coffee (or at least tea or even decaf coffee) if given the option. While the reasons aren't exactly the same, it's the "mustard on a hot dog" effect that Dr. Greger has mentioned elsewhere.

  36. I've often wondered about the reports of french press coffee leading to higher cholesterol levels. However being plant-based for a year with total cholesterol of 110 and a LDL of 50, I think I am safe to continue my daily french press for now. 🙂

  37. I wonder how this rise in cholesterol after drinking coffee compares with the rise in cholesterol someone has after eating any serving a food with fat in it, since I think I would expect blood cholesterol to rise after eating any food. I also wonder if these fats in the coffee beans are saturated or unsaturated.

  38. Would you mind doing a video exploring the effects of kombucha on our gut flora and whether drinking it has any affect on our gut?

  39. What about decaff? I remember you saying it was better in some way ages back, but can’t remember what you said specifically

  40. I would worry more about drinking enough water every day, the body increases cholesterol distribution to protect cells from dehydration and to repair damaged blood vessels from dehydration. 1/2 to 1 ounce of water per pound, only water counts and caffeine acts like dieretic increasing the need for water.

  41. Very interesting stuff. I do know someone who is eating a mostly plant based diet at this point but still has high cholesterol. I will suggest they try cutting out their coffee and see if things improve. Thank you Dr. Greger!

  42. I am addicted to Coffee, as much as I am addicted to “until…..NOW!” & “…Put it to the test!!!” HELP!!! Lol

  43. Lol! Dr. Greger is just giving us the science! I also love….coffee, but since vegan, the cravings for it are way less than before., the same goes with chocolate. I still have a little bit of coffee in the morning, but mostly water and coconut milk. We have already removed the worse “foods” from our diets by going vegan, but still there are something’s that aren’t necessary healthy, we enjoy them, true, but I guess we just need to be aware of them. Coffee increases the dopamine in our brain that is why we love it so much. Good information,
    thank you Dr. Greger 🌱🌱🌱❤️

  44. Oh poop! Now what? Do you know the details of what, where and how of beans that would be least cholesterol raising. Sigh. I love esspresso drinks.

  45. Dr Greger, Please what is your take on this, using the Oil from Coffee! Is this not the stuff that contain the Cholesterol raising compound?

  46. My mom won't stop drinking coffee she has very high levels of cholesterol she doesn't even wanna get on diet what should I do 😭😢

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