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Drinking decaffeinated coffee may be harmful to heart health

Decaffeinated -- not caffeinated -- coffee may cause an increase in harmful LDL cholesterol by increasing a specific type of blood fat linked to the metabolic syndrome, hints a new study presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2005.

The Coffee and Lipoprotein Metabolism (CALM) study included 187 people, randomized to three groups: one that drank three to six cups of caffeinated coffee a day; another that drank three to six cups of decaffeinated coffee a day; and a third, the control group, that drank no coffee.

Some studies have linked coffee drinking to heart disease, but others have suggested that it is not harmful.

"The problem with the results from these previous studies is that many of them were association studies, which looked broadly at free-living populations and drew associations between lifestyle factors, volitional coffee consumption, and disease risk. Our study randomized subjects to a specific type and amount of coffee consumption, brewed in a standardized manner, just like a drug study," said H. Robert Superko, M.D., lead author of the study and chairman of molecular, genetic, and preventive cardiology at the Fuqua Heart Center and the Piedmont-Mercer Center for Health and Learning in Atlanta, Ga.

In this study researchers gave participants a nationally popular home-brewed caffeinated coffee and decaffeinated coffee brand, and coffee makers. Researchers then instructed participants on how to prepare the coffee in a standardized manner and asked them to drink only this coffee. All participants drank only black coffee.

"Whether coffee has caffeine is not the only thing that differentiates caffeinated from decaffeinated types," Superko said. "Caffeinated and decaffeinated coffees are often made from different species of beans. Caffeinated coffee, by and large, comes from a bean species called coffee Arabica, while many decaffeinated coffees are made from coffee Robusta. The decaffei
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Contact: Carole Bullock or Karen Astle
carole.bullock@heart.org
214-706-1396
American Heart Association
16-Nov-2005


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