By Lisa Sigell

( — A study has found that coffee, one of the nation’s favorite caffeinated beverages, can be unhealthy.

“I’ve always liked the taste of coffee. I like the taste of coffee ice cream and everything else,” Ellia Thompson, a mother in the Miracle Mile.

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Pregnancy hasn’t stopped Thompson from getting her daily dose of caffeine.

“I really like coffee. But, now that I’m expecting my first child, I stick to 1-2 cups a day,” Thompson said. “I like the ritual, the taste.”

A recent study may give coffee drinkers like Thompson pause before they consume cup after cup.

Researchers found two chemicals in coffee that raised cholesterol levels, according to Dr. Karol Watson, a cardiologist at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.

Watson said that if drinkers don’t filter those chemicals out they may end up seeing a 10 percent increase in their cholesterol, for those averaging about a cup daily.

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“It’s something you should be aware of, especially if you have a cholesterol problem,” Watson said.

Coffee beans contain two naturally-occurring chemicals, cafestol and kahweol. These plant chemicals can actually boost cholesterol, especially the notorious LDL or “bad cholesterol.”

Using an espresso maker, French press or drinking boiled coffee keeps more of the chemicals in the brew, compared to preparing it with a coffee filter.

Doctors say using a drip filter or single-serving coffee pod removes the coffee chemicals or, at the least, reduces the amount you drink.

“Moderation in anything is really the key…but if I had a cholesterol problem and I had to pick percolated versus filtered coffee I would choose filtered coffee,” Watson said.

“I’ve given up everything for being pregnant and that’s the one thing that I can have,” said Thompson, who isn’t ready to give up her morning cup of Joe.

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“But, yeah, I’m certainly interested if there’s a way to make coffee more healthy…I would certainly try it,” Thompson said.
Doctors say people can drink as many as six cups of coffee before seeing a significant increase in cholesterol. Many agree that what’s most important is for people to monitor their overall diet.