My friend told me that unfiltered coffee may raise my cholesterol. I am carefully watching my diet to reduce cholesterol by my Doctor's recommendation.

If stopping drinking unfiltered coffee can reduce my cholesterol, I would like to give it a try. First thing to stop is to avoid whip creame and sugar into my Latte.

Any advise?


1 Answer 1


Some of the oils in coffee (terpenes, in particular kahweol and cafestol) are believed to be the source of its effect on cholesterol.[1, 2, 3, 4]

There are two ways to cut down on intake of cholesterol-influencing terpenes:

  1. Switch to filtered coffee. The terpenes are mostly retained in the paper filter instead of going into your drink. At the same time, cut down on the cream and sugar, as you already noted ;)

  2. Quit drinking coffee completely. Even filtered coffee still has some terpenes present, and therefore can still impact cholesterol levels. Filtered coffee is a significant improvement — "serum cholesterol raising effect of unfiltered coffee ... is reduced by about 80% in filtered coffee"[4] — but if you're being very rigorous about watching your dietary cholesterol intake, it may be time to quit.

For further reading, some sources are below. The fourth (Strandhagen and Thelle 2003) has a number of additional studies in its introduction.

  1. Coffee and Cholesterol: Does your daily morning jolt boost the risk of heart disease? (NBC News)

  2. Does Coffee Raise Cholesterol? (Dr. Andrew Weil)

  3. van Dusseldorp et al. Cholesterol-raising factor from boiled coffee does not pass a paper filter. Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology. 1991 May-Jun;11(3):586-93

  4. E Strandhagen and D S Thelle. Filtered coffee raises serum cholesterol: results from a controlled study. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2003) 57, 1164–1168.

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