According to a recent study, if you drink from three to six cups of decaffeinated coffee a day your bad cholesterol levels can go up by 8-10 per cent. The three to six cups a day increase the production of a harmful fatty acid by 18%, this fatty acid is a key factor in the production of bad cholesterol.

Dr. Robert Superko, Fuqua Heart Centre and Piedmont-Mercer Centre for Health, Atlanta, Georgia, presented his findings to the American Heart Association scientific meetings in Dallas, Texas.

Dr. Superko said “These results are very surprising and have never been reported before for coffee consumption. Contrary to what people have thought for many years, I believe it’s not caffeinated but decaffeinated coffee that might promote heart disease risk factors that are an expanding heart-health hazard.?

The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

In this study 187 coffee drinkers were put into two groups (they were monitored for three months). One group drank caffeinated coffee while the other group drank decaffeinated. They all drank from three to six cups a day. All the drinks were home brewed black coffee (no milk).

The group on decaf had an 18% increase in fatty acid in their blood, which fuels the increase in bad cholesterol. They also had more ApoB in their blood – this is associated with bad cholesterol.

Fat people fared better on decaf

For those on decaf, levels of good cholesterol (HDL2) varied according to their weight. The fat people experienced raised levels of HDL2, while people of normal weight saw their levels drop by 30%.

Dr. Superko said: “This illustrates a concept that is becoming very important in medicine, the individualisation of treatment. It is important for the public to realise that one diet or one drug is not the optimal treatment for every patient.”

Dr. Superko said that people who have just one cup of coffee a day do not consume enough to experience any relevant changes in their cholesterol levels.

He added that overweight people may still be better off on the decaf than the caffeinated because of the benefits for their good cholesterol.

Many factors can have an impact on your cholesterol levels:

1. Your genetic make up.
2. The amount of exercise you do.
3. Your diet.

If you do plenty of exercise, maintain a good body weight for your height and eat wisely, your chances of having good cholesterol levels are much greater.

Written by: Christian Nordqvist
Editor: Medical News Today