Drop that decaf!

The first thing coffee addicts are told when they go on blood pressure medicine is to switch to decaf, and maybe that's the wrong advice.

Before the Heart Attacks book cover from Amazon.ComI personally think de-caffeinated coffee tastes nasty.

So it was with some joy, on my second cup of regular, that I read of an NIH-funded study showing that decaf may be worse for your heart than the high-octane stuff.

The study, done at the Fuqua Heart Center in Atlanta had 187 subjects, one-third of whom got decaf, one-third regular, and one-third nothing at all. (I know, how did they survive?)

When the study was over the decaf drinkers had an 18% rise in the fatty acids in their blood. That's a precursor to LDL cholesterol. Levels of apolipoprotein B, a protein linked to LDL cholesterol, were also up 8%.

Now this was a small study, and we're talking about fairly heavy coffee drinking. But the first thing coffee addicts are told when they go on blood pressure medicine is to switch to decaf, and maybe that's the wrong advice.

The lead author on the study is Dr. Robert Superko, author of Before the Heart Attacks, a 2003 book from Rodale Press which urged a careful evaluation of risk factors and customized treatment to prevent heart attacks.

UPDATE: Dr. Superko recently moved to St. Joseph's Hospital on the north side of Atlanta, where his title is Executive Director of Genomics and Human Health. Thanks to his executive assistant, Libby Hughes, for the update.

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