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Am J Clin Nutr. 1995 Jan;61(1):149-54.

Effects of cafestol and kahweol from coffee grounds on serum lipids and serum liver enzymes in humans.

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Agricultural University, Department of Human Nutrition, Wageningen, Netherlands.


The diterpenes cafestol and kahweol are present in unfiltered coffee in oil droplets and floating fines. They elevate serum cholesterol and alanine aminotransferase (ALT). We measured fines in coffee brews, and examined diterpene availability from spent grounds in healthy volunteers. Turkish or Scandinavian boiled coffee contained 2-5 g fines/L and French press coffee contained 1.5 g fines/L. An intake of 8 g fine grounds/d for 3 wk increased cholesterol by 0.65 mmol/L (95% CI 0.41-0.89 mmol/L) and ALT by 18 U/L (95% CI 4-32 U/L) relative to control subjects (n = 7/group). In a crossover study (n = 15), mean serum cholesterol was 4.9 mmol/L after consumption of both fine and coarse grounds for 10 d (P = 0.43). Serum ALT activities were 29 U/L on fine and 21 U/L on coarse grounds (P = 0.02). Floating fines could contribute substantially to the hyperlipidemic and ALT-elevating effect of unfiltered coffee. Diterpene measurements in coffee brews should include the contribution of fines.

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