cholesterol in coffee, sherbet versus sorbet & avoiding diabetes through diet

cholesterol in coffee, sherbet versus sorbet & avoiding diabetes through diet

Q: I heard that unfiltered coffee can raise blood cholesterol. Does that include espresso and drinks like cappuccino and latte?
Q: What's the difference between sherbet and sorbet?
Q: Can diet change someone's risk of getting diabetes or is it just important for treating it?


Karen Collins, MS, RD, CDN
American Institute for Cancer Research

Q: I heard that unfiltered coffee can raise blood cholesterol. Does that include espresso and drinks like cappuccino and latte?
A: Espresso is an example of unfiltered coffee, but other kinds of unfiltered coffee seem to pose much more problems for blood cholesterol. Research suggests the cholesterol-raising culprits in coffee are two of its natural compounds: kahweol and cafestol. Scandinavian-style “boiled coffee” and Turkish-style coffee both heat ground coffee with water in a pot, let the grounds settle and then pour off the liquid to drink. In contrast, espresso is made by forcing hot water under pressure through finely ground coffee; the water remains in contact with the coffee grounds only briefly. Cappuccino and latte are espresso drinks with milk added. One study shows that boiled-style coffees contain five to seven times as much kahweol and cafestol as espresso. That would explain why research is not nearly as consistent in linking blood cholesterol elevations with espresso as it is with boiled coffee. Coffee brewed in a coffee press (often called a "French press") also keeps the grounds and water in contact while brewing and thus, has high levels of the two compounds and may also raise cholesterol. Paper coffee filters remove virtually all kahweol and cafestol from drip-brewed coffee drinks.

Q: What's the difference between sherbet and sorbet?
A: Both sherbet and sorbet are frozen desserts based on fruit puree or juice, sugar and flavorings. Sherbet also contains a small amount of milk, and possibly egg white or gelatin. Both are low in fat; sherbet's fat content is only about two or three grams per cup, which is far below ice cream. Calorie content does not necessarily vary between sorbet and sherbet: a half cup serving ranges from 90 to 120 calories. The bigger variation is found between different brands of sherbet and sorbet. Each half-cup serving may contain from 4.5 to 9 teaspoons of sugar (18 to 36 grams), which includes both the natural sugar in fruit and added sugar and high fructose corn syrup.

Q: Can diet change someone's risk of getting diabetes or is it just important for treating it?

A: A healthy lifestyle, including good eating habits, plays an important role in avoiding diabetes. If you are overweight, especially if your weight has settled around your waist, work toward a healthier weight by reducing calorie consumption and increasing activity level. Even if you're not overweight, the United States Department of Agriculture recommends at least 30 minutes (preferably 60 minutes) of daily physically activity, which is linked with lower risk of diabetes as well as other health benefits. Limit saturated fat intake from high-fat meats and dairy products. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains and dried beans contain antioxidants that fight inflammation linked to diabetes and provide nutrients like magnesium that may be protective. These foods also provide fiber; a type of fiber in whole grains seems to improve insulin function. Aim for at least five servings (preferably seven to ten) of fruits and vegetables daily. Also try to eat at least three to four servings of whole grains. Finally, limit sugar-sweetened drinks since preliminary evidence suggests drinking these beverages daily may increase risk of diabetes. Drinking sugar-sweetened drinks regularly certainly makes weight control more difficult, anyway. The great news is that these steps can also lower your risk of cancer.