There is so much data on coffee that it can be confusing to figure out what’s what. Some work suggests it can be harmful, while a mountain of other work indicates its benefits.
Generally, it seems like up to 4 cups of coffee per day can produce benefits. More than that, you could be flirting with some risk. What you put in your coffee plays a risk, too. Sugars, sweeteners, syrups, and too much cream can take any benefit and toss it out the window.
But regardless of what you put in your coffee, there is some indication that coffee may have a direct effect on cholesterol levels.
Brewed coffee doesn’t contain any cholesterol. However, it does feature two compounds – cafestol and kahweol – that can boost cholesterol. Some data shows older coffee drinkers may have higher cholesterol.
But is all coffee created equal? Data suggests that it’s not. Research shows that filtered coffee has less of the oils in it than unfiltered options like espresso and French pressed. The filter likely absorbs the oil, so it doesn’t make it all the way into your cup.
A 2018 study looked at people who drank 18-24 coffees per week and compared it to their cholesterol. It found that people who drank more espresso-based drinks, or other forms of unfiltered coffee, had higher cholesterol.
Unfiltered coffees include espresso, French press, Turkish coffee, boiled coffee, and pour-over coffee.
If you’re concerned about cholesterol, you may want to stick to filtered drip coffee.
Mainly, though, you want to be concerned about the things you put in your coffee. Cream, coconut oil, syrups, and sugars will all have a greater impact on your cholesterol than the coffee itself.
Taking your coffee black or with some milk is the healthiest way to drink it. It can easily become a caffeinated milkshake when you start loading it up with creams, sugars, and syrups.