Warning to coffee drinkers of heart attack risk

YOUR morning cup of joe could put you at risk of a heart attack, scientists have warned.

The controversial results serve as a warning to those who enjoy drinking more than one coffee a day.

How you drink your coffee could set you up for higher cholesterol, according to research


How you drink your coffee could set you up for higher cholesterol, according to researchPhoto credit: Getty

Naturally occurring chemicals in coffee have previously been linked to higher blood cholesterol levels — a risk factor for heart problems, including stroke.

However, there is also a wealth of scientific evidence to suggest that coffee consumption is good for heart health and longevity.

In the new study, a team of scientists from Norway examined information from more than 21,000 people over 40 living in Tromso, Norway.

Consuming espresso coffee was “significantly” associated with higher blood cholesterol levels, the researchers said.

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Three to five espressos a day was the point at which cholesterol levels rose, compared to zero espressos a day.

According to the results published in the journal Open Heart, the effect was stronger in men than in women.

However, only women who sipped six or more cups of filter coffee had higher blood cholesterol levels.

Men and women who drank six or more cups of coffee from the coffee maker — also known as brewed/plunger coffee — also had elevated scores compared to those who didn’t.

There did not appear to be any risks associated with instant coffee.

The researchers said: “Coffee is the most commonly consumed central stimulant worldwide.

“Due to high coffee consumption, even small health effects can have significant health consequences.

“More knowledge of espresso coffee’s association with serum cholesterol will improve coffee consumption recommendations.”

Experts not involved in the study were cautious about the results.

They said it may not be the coffee that threatens people’s heart health, but the sugar and milk they add to it.

And it’s impossible to know if potential harm is being caused by the coffee or other habits more common among drinkers.

A moderate amount of coffee is fine for most people. However, be careful if you like to add flavored syrup or whipped cream, as these can increase your sugar and saturated fat intake.

June Davison Senior Cardiac Nurse at the British Heart Foundation

Cholesterol is the fatty substance carried by proteins in the blood, and high levels can build up in artery walls and reduce blood flow to the heart.

It can reach dangerous levels in response to obesity, poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking, and alcohol consumption.

June Davison, Senior Cardiac Nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: “It is important to remember that this type of study can only show association and cannot prove cause and effect.

“[The researchers] Factors such as adding milk or sugar to coffee that could affect people’s health were not considered.

“These findings shouldn’t worry you if you enjoy a cup of coffee – most people are fine with a moderate amount of coffee.”

“But be careful if you like to add flavored syrup or whipped cream, as these can increase your sugar and saturated fat intake.

“If you’re sensitive to caffeine or suffer from heart palpitations (fluttering or pounding), it’s best to reduce the amount you drink.”

Prof Tom Sanders, Professor Emeritus of Nutrition and Dietetics at King’s College London, said: ‘It doesn’t matter what type of coffee you drink if you only drink a cup or two a day, but it matters if you do more drink.”

Previous research has generally found the opposite.

For example, a 2021 study found that 0.5 to three cups of coffee per day was associated with a 21 percent lower risk of stroke and a 17 percent lower risk of death from heart disease.

It supported the results of a 2017 analysis that showed people who drank three cups a day had a 17 percent reduced risk of dying early.

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Sarah Y. Kim

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