LETTER

Hippokratia 2015, 19(4):383-383

Mirkopoulou D1, Tziakas D2, Maltezos E3
1
Department of Internal Medicine, AHEPA Hospital, Thessaloniki, 2Cardiology Department, Medical School, DemocritusUniversityof Thrace, Alexandroupolis, 3Internal Medicine Department, Medical School, Democritus University of Thrace, Alexandroupolis, Greece

 

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Key words: Cholesterol, dyslipidemia, nutrition, frappe coffee

Corresponding author: Mirkopoulou Daphne, BSc, MD, MPH,40 Natsina str., 54249, Thessaloniki, Greece, tel: +306972897929, e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Dear Editor,

Coffee includes various biologically active substances, such as caffeine and the diterpenes cafestol and kahweol. Coffee has been related to blood lipid composition changes, increased blood pressure, arrhythmias and other cardiovascular conditions1.  The instant coffee is now preferred by a large part of the population, thus raising questions about its health effects, since these have not been thoroughly investigated. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of (instant) coffee, on the blood lipid level of a population of healthy young adults.

The study sample consisted of 875 conscript healthy soldiers of a military camp in the town of Alexandroupolis, Greece. The soldiers were informed regarding the purpose of this research and volunteered after their verbal consent and written permission of the camp administrator. Exclusion criteria were the existence of any health problem or receiving medication for any reason. Blood samples were taken two days after 8-hour overnight fast and were analyzed at the laboratories of the University Hospital of Alexandroupolis.  Total cholesterol and HDL were determined by chromatography while LDL was calculated by Friedwald method.

The mean age of the participants ranged to 24.79 ± 6.37 years. The largest group was that consumed Frappe coffee (546 individuals), followed by that of NES coffee (127 individuals) and ‘Greek’ (boiled) coffee (57 individuals) groups. Coffee drinkers had higher levels of total cholesterol, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) compared with no coffee drinkers. Those who did not drink coffee at all had a more favorable profile, comparing with coffee drinkers,  while, regarding total cholesterol, HDL, and LDL, Frappe drinkers had a more favorable profile comparing with NES or ‘Greek’ coffee drinkers (p <0.001) (Table 1).

The results of this study show that consumption of coffee, regardless of its kind, was associated with elevated total cholesterol and LDL levels in the blood serum of young adults and with reduced levels of HDL. However, among coffee drinkers, Frappe drinkers had the most favorable lipid profile. This study confirms and strengthens the findings of Burr et al2, who found only a mild effect of instant coffee on total cholesterol. However, our study was a cross-sectional observational one, based on participants’ self-report, while fasting duration was eight instead of the usual 12 hours, mainly due to soldiers’ duty restrictions. Also, the groups were not balanced since the majority of subjects belonged to the “frappe” group. Further research, referring to representative samples of the general population with a more detailed quantitative assessment of the instant coffee consumed is necessary for definite conclusions to draw.

Conflict of interest

None.

References

1. Riksen NP, Rongen GA, Smits P. Acute and long-term cardiovascular effects of coffee: implications for coronary heart disease, Pharmacol Ther. 2009; 121: 185-191.
2. Burr ML, Limb ES, Sweetnam PM, Fehily AM, Amarah L, Hutchings A. Instant coffee and cholesterol: a randomised controlled trial. Eur J Clin Nutr. 1995; 49:779-784.