Study questions health effects of coffee, this time decaf

Wednesday, November 16th 2005, 11:27 am
By: News On 6

DALLAS (AP) -- Fresh questions are percolating about the health effects of coffee.

But this time, it's decaf that's on trial.

The federally funded Stanford University study found modestly higher blood levels of cholesterol-precursor fats in those who choose decaf over regular or go java-free.

But the differences are very small -- especially when compared with the effects of the doughnut that might come with the brew.

Doctor Robert Superko -- who's now at Fuqua Heart Center in Atlanta -- reported the findings today at an American Heart Association conference in Dallas.

Superko guesses a factor in the results is that fats give coffee flavor. A more flavorful species of beans called robusta is often used for decaf to make up for the flavonoids and other ingredients lost in decaffeination. Regular coffee uses a different bean called arabica.

However, several experts say they're skeptical of the whole thing. Doctor Donald Lavan -- who's a heart association spokesman -- says the findings wouldn't affect his recommendations to patients.