Is Coffee Bad For You?

Is Coffee Bad For You?
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The cholesterol-raising compounds of coffee are removed by a plain paper filter.

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What about two cups of filtered coffee every morning with that oatmeal? Coffee has historically been a confusing story—originally linked to bladder and ovarian cancer—but that turned out to be just because coffee drinkers tended to be smokers. Coffee may cause heartburn, and worsen osteoporosis, but it may protect against diabetes, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s.

To sip or not to sip? What do you think, based on the latest research? Do you think it’s harmful? Harmless? Helpful?

Based on the latest science, helpful. Note this is for filtered coffee, though. There are some substances in coffee that can raise our cholesterol, but they’re filtered out in the paper. So, brewed coffee may be okay, but coffee from a French press or espresso may not be.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Dianne Moore.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

What about two cups of filtered coffee every morning with that oatmeal? Coffee has historically been a confusing story—originally linked to bladder and ovarian cancer—but that turned out to be just because coffee drinkers tended to be smokers. Coffee may cause heartburn, and worsen osteoporosis, but it may protect against diabetes, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s.

To sip or not to sip? What do you think, based on the latest research? Do you think it’s harmful? Harmless? Helpful?

Based on the latest science, helpful. Note this is for filtered coffee, though. There are some substances in coffee that can raise our cholesterol, but they’re filtered out in the paper. So, brewed coffee may be okay, but coffee from a French press or espresso may not be.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Dianne Moore.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Doctor's Note

More on coffee:

And check out my other “HHH” videos – Harmful, Harmless, or Helpful? – listed below the post. 

For more context, see my blog posts: Stool Size and Breast Cancer Risk and Soy milk: shake it up!.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

27 responses to “Is Coffee Bad For You?

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  1. Hi Dr. Greger,
    I am glad to hear that coffee is helpful! Does the literature indicate any differences between hot brewed coffee and cold brewed coffee? I have read that hot brewed coffee is more acidic than cold brewed coffee.
    Thank you!
    Priscilla

  2. Hello Dr. Greger,  My 41 year old daughter has leukemia (both AML and ALL) and is about to receive pre-transplant chemo and radio- therapy, the transplant to be provided September 11th..  We are now eating a plant based diet.  Do you have specific recommendtions for this type of leukemia?

    Thank you very much,

    Bernard Levin (email: Bobandpari19@yahoo.com)

  3. Have you seen the new ‘weight loss holy grail’ or Garcinia Cambogia? I am skeptical on this substance that has been promoted as a breakthrough in the world of dieting.

  4. As someone who has had intermittent cold sores my whole life, I am wondering what research might show about prevention and treatment. I took lysine daily years ago, until I read that it can increase cholesterol. Now, I use it topically and take it as a supplement only when I feel a fever blister coming on. Curiously, my dad and I got them; my mom, brother and son have never had them.

  5. so for someone with high blood pressure, osteoporosis and high cholesterol (my mother) would you say harmful or good if 2 cups a day paper-filtered for cancer and Alzheimer’s prevention? Thank you!

  6. Is instant coffee better or worse than regular types? I’ve decided that good brands don’t taste so bad after all and… it’s a lot less work than my only method, the best one, that is, the stove top moka machine method. :)

  7. Hi Dr. Greger ! I have bladder leakage and am really hoping you could tell me if it is possible to have
    this stop. I heard of Kegels, ..is there any other remedy ? I sure hope so !

  8. Hi Dr. Greger,
    I have type 2 Diabetes (A1C9.2) This is my 2nd month becoming Vegan and I definitely love it. However, I’m confused about coffee consumption and how it affect sugar spikes. I have searched online for the answer but have come up short. I substituted coffee for hot ginger tea for breakfast. Should I go back to coffee to help with diabetes? If I would go back to coffee, it would be made black with Truvia or Brown Coconut sugar. please help.
    Thank you,
    Joseph S.

    1. The paper filters is the only barrier that removed the oils that are on the beans. The mesh filters only remove the ground and leave the oils in the coffee.

  9. Hi Dr Gregor,
    Can you clarify the unfiltered coffee. Would that be instant coffees like Starbucks packets of coffee granules that you just mix with hot water? My cholesterol went up for no explainable reason-except maybe this.

    1. As he mentions in the video the definition of filtered coffee is that which is filtered through a paper filter after it is percolated. A french press style of coffee does not remove the oils that would be trapped by the paper filter. It depends upon the method of the instant coffee granules you are drinking. Most of them are brewed coffee – possibly not filtered, that is then freeze dried so that it dissolved immediately upon adding water. If these crystals were not made with filtered coffee then the oil will there after adding the water.

  10. So how bad is it to drink French press; because I’ve been drinking it for at least 4 years! And what are your thoughts on kerigs? I guess technically those are paper filtered yes? I don’t use one but my mom does and she’s a coffee addict…

    1. I’d be curious as well, mainly abou tthe french press as I use that, but also to see if my thoughts about keurigs being horrible for you are accurate..

  11. Geez, I adore French-press,expresso & Turkish coffees & drink alot of them. No wonder my LDL is high even tho I am a vegan! What if i filter the above coffees AFTER I brew them? Will the paper filter remove the LDL-raising components from the brewed coffee? Please advise. Much thx!!

    1. Hi Suzanne, thanks for your question. The compound acrylamide is formed when a sugar and an amino acid (known as asparagine) form when foods are cooked at high, lengthy temperatures. In the case of coffee, during roasting the Maillard reaction creates acrylamide early on.
      I understand Dr Greger points out the filtered coffee is better than french press or espresso because of filtration reduces the acrylamide in the roasted coffee.
      I hope this explanation is useful to you.

  12. I use a reusable mesh filter and my cholesterol is really high.
    Guess I’ll get paper filters. I can sorta make a filter from a paper
    towel or napkin, too.

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