Good to the last drop–what’s the scoop?

Coffee, coffee everywhere and not a drop to drink (at least not for me)! Gosh people love their coffee…don’t get in the way of someone and their morning coffee! I never got into coffee, not even during the great Starbuck’s rush of the mid-aughts. There have been at least a few studies making headlines recently about the benefits (or not) of coffee, so I thought I’d better tackle this one head on. To get the facts straight on whether or not coffee is risky when it comes to pregnant women, high blood pressure, LDL (bad) cholesterol, or even increased blood sugar, I headed on over to Harvard School of Public Health to review the facts.

The folks at Harvard found that people who regularly drink coffee, even up to 6 cups per day, are not at an increased risk of death from any cause as a result of their coffee consumption. They found that for the “general population,” drinking coffee doesn’t have any serious risks. These risks would include death from cancer, or death from cardiovascular disease. One of the important points of these findings is to inform people that they should focus on other aspects of lifestyle modifications in order to improve overall health. Basically, if you’re a tobacco smoker (for example) then don’t worry about the coffee you’re drinking, worry about the cigarettes you’re smoking!

Now if you’re a diabetic or have high cholesterol, let’s not forget that two “bad guys” are almost always found in any coffee that isn’t straight up “black,” (not to mention the extreme amount of calories that can be found in a flavored or fancy “designer” coffee beverage)! Cream can increase your cholesterol levels, while sugar (or sugary flavorings) can increase your serum glucose (sugar). Both of these are “no-no’s” when we’re dealing with diabetes or hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol).

When it comes to the high cholesterol, here’s something you may not have known: coffee contains something called cafestol. Cafestol is a molecule, which increases LDL cholesterol levels. When coffee is boiled (like French Press, or Turkish coffee) the cafestol is much higher than when coffee is brewed the good old-fashioned American way through a paper filter. The paper filter traps some of these cafestols; therefore it has much lower levels of the molecule than the boiled variations. So for people who have high cholesterol, or who want to prevent having high cholesterol, it is better to choose paper-filtered coffee. I found that Espresso is the middleman; it has less cafestol than boiled or pressed coffee, but more than paper filtered coffee.

As for pregnant women, one cup of caffeinated coffee (8oz) is the highest recommended amount. Caffeine reaches the fetus via the placenta, and that the fetus is very sensitive to caffeine. Pregnant women should at most have that single cup a day, if necessary.


As far as hypertension (high blood pressure), well caffeine isn’t always the end all. According to Harvard studies, the incidence of hypertension from drinking caffeinated coffee is not substantial. If you have hypertension, then modifying lifestyle choices should be a first line defense to lowering your blood pressure. Therefore, it would probably be a good idea to cut out the caffeine from any source, being that caffeine does have some association with elevated blood pressure, especially when someone does not regularly consume caffeine.


As always here at LWFY, I urge you to make the best choices for you as an individual. Knowledge is power, and I hope you have more knowledge and more power by stopping by today! Keep up the good work…


Thanks @ Harvard School of Public Health for the information.