- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 16, 2005

DALLAS (AP) — Fresh questions are percolating about the health effects of coffee, this time the decaffeinated variety.

One of the first substantial studies to test the beverage like a drug instead of just asking people how much they consumed found higher blood levels of cholesterol-precursor fats in those drinking decaffeinated versus regular coffee or none at all.

The differences were small. Decaf drinkers had higher levels — by 8 percent to 18 percent — of fatty acids and precursors of LDL, or bad cholesterol, than the others.

“I don’t think there’s a health threat,” regardless of which type of coffee is consumed, said Dr. H. Robert Superko of Fuqua Heart Center in Atlanta, who conducted the study while he was at Stanford University. He reported on it yesterday at an American Heart Association conference.

Several specialists were skeptical of the whole study.

“That’s interesting, but it would not affect my recommendations to patients,” said Dr. Donald Lavan, a cardiologist at the University of Pennsylvania and a heart association spokesman.

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