Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from Nutrition Journal and BioMed Central.

Open Access Research

Cholesterol-raising diterpenes in types of coffee commonly consumed in Singapore, Indonesia and India and associations with blood lipids: A survey and cross sectional study

Nasheen Naidoo1*, Cynthia Chen1, Salome A Rebello2, Karl Speer3, E Shyong Tai4, Jeanette Lee5, Sandra Buchmann3, Isabelle Koelling-Speer3 and Rob M van Dam456

Author affiliations

1 Centre for Molecular Epidemiology, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, #05-02, 28 Medical Drive, 117456, Singapore

2 Life Sciences Institute, Centre for Life Sciences, National University of Singapore, #05-02, 28 Medical Drive, 17456, Singapore

3 Technische Universität Dresden, Department of Food Chemistry, Bergstr. 66, D-01062 Dresden, Germany

4 Department of Medicine, National University of Singapore, 1E, Kent Ridge Road, NUHS Tower Block Level 10, 119228, Singapore

5 Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore; Block MD3 #03-17, 16 Medical Drive, 117597, Singapore

6 Departments of Nutrition and Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, 02115, USA

For all author emails, please log on.

Citation and License

Nutrition Journal 2011, 10:48  doi:10.1186/1475-2891-10-48

Published: 15 May 2011

Abstract

Background

To measure the content of cholesterol-raising diterpenes in coffee sold at the retailer level in Singapore, Indonesia and India and to determine the relationship of coffee consumption with lipid levels in a population-based study in Singapore.

Methods

Survey and cross-sectional study in local coffee shops in Singapore, Indonesia and India to measure the diterpene content in coffee, and a population-based study in Singapore to examine the relationship of coffee consumption and blood lipid levels. Interviews and coffee samples (n = 27) were collected from coffee shops in Singapore, Indonesia and India. In addition, 3000 men and women who were Chinese, Malay, and Indian residents of Singapore participated in a cross-sectional study.

Results and Discussion

The traditional 'sock' method of coffee preparation used in Singapore resulted in cafestol concentrations comparable to European paper drip filtered coffee (mean 0.09 ± SD 0.064 mg/cup). This amount would result in negligible predicted increases in serum cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations. Similarly low amounts of cafestol were found in Indian 'filter' coffee that used a metal mesh filter (0.05 ± 0.05 mg/cup). Coffee samples from Indonesia using the 'sock' method (0.85 ± 0.41 mg/cup) or a metal mesh filter (0.98 mg/cup) contained higher amounts of cafestol comparable to espresso coffee. Unfiltered coffee from Indonesia contained an amount of cafestol (4.43 mg/cup) similar to Scandinavian boiled, Turkish and French press coffee with substantial predicted increases in serum cholesterol (0.33 mmol/l) and triglycerides (0.20 mmol/l) concentrations for consumption of 5 cups per day. In the Singaporean population, higher coffee consumption was not substantially associated with serum lipid concentrations after adjustment for potential confounders [LDL-cholesterol: 3.07 (95% confidence interval 2.97-3.18) for <1 cup/week versus 3.12 (2.99-3.26) for ≥ 3 cups/day; p trend 0.12].

Conclusions

Based on the low levels of diterpenes found in traditionally prepared coffee consumed in Singapore and India, coffee consumption in these countries does not appear to be a risk factor for elevation of serum cholesterol, whereas samples tested from Indonesia showed mixed results depending on the type of preparation method used.