Can You Drink Coffee Before a Cholesterol Test?

What to do Before You Get Tested

People have a lot of questions about getting a lipid panel. Can you drink coffee before a cholesterol test? Do you have to fast first? Can you drink water beforehand?

These kind of examinations are very important. According to the American Heart Association, anyone over the age of 20 should get their lipid panel done at least every five years—and more, if you’re at high risk for cardiovascular disease. But to get the most possible benefit out of your exam, make sure to read this article before you drink coffee before your next cholesterol test!

How Do I Lower Cholesterol Before a Blood Test?

You don’t! Okay, I admit that was something of a trick question. But the truth is, you don’t want to affect your lipid levels before a test. Think about it. You want your score as accurate as possible. If your triglyceride levels are high, you want to know about it!

So now that that’s out of the way, the question becomes: how do you get the most accurate results?

Fasting for Cholesterol Blood Work

What are the foods to avoid before cholesterol tests? All of them!

You should fast for 8-12 hours before a cholesterol test. Preferably 12, for the most accurate results. This means being NPO, which stands for “nothing by mouth.” That means no food or calories of any kind. But what about your morning joe? Does that count?

Can I Drink Coffee Prior to My Cholesterol Test?

Whether or not you can imbibe a little coffee before your next cholesterol test is debatable. Some doctors say it’s probably fine—that if it has any effect, it’s negligible. But some say not to drink coffee before a cholesterol test for as long as three days before your lipid panel. The best course of action is probably to ask your doctor beforehand. Either way, even if you do drink coffee before your cholesterol test, make sure it’s black. That means no cream, sugar, dairy creamer, or other additions. And

What about Cholesterol and Water?

Maybe you shouldn’t down any coffee before getting your cholesterol measured, but a little water is okay. You probably shouldn’t drink gallons and gallons, but don’t dehydrate yourself. You also should continue taking any prescription medications you're on. However, if you can time it so that you can take your medications either before or after your lipid panel, do so.

Does coffee have cholesterol?

So, what’s the big deal with drinking joe before you have a lipid panel? Well, for one thing, most people schedule their lipid panels for the morning so that they can fast overnight—it’s much easier not to eat when you’re asleep. But when we wake up, we like to have our morning coffee. Thus the question that is the title of this article.

But there’s another issue at hand here, which is the coffee cholesterol link. You see, some studies have shown that coffee can raise total cholesterol and LDL (low-density lipoprotein, the “bad cholesterol”) levels. How does this happen?

It seems that coffee contains compounds called terpenes and cafestol, which cause this effect. Cafestol screws up the functioning of a receptor that regulates cholesterol in the body. How much of an effect does it have? Well, if you drink five cups of French Press coffee per day for four weeks, your total cholesterol will increase by about 7%.

For a healthy person, that’s probably nothing to worry about. But if you possess other risk factors for heart disease, you might want to be careful. Some of the risk factors for heart attack and stroke include: high blood pressure, obesity, smoking, alcohol abuse, lack of exercise, and you can probably add poor diet to that list as well.

These risk factors are much more significant than a little joe before a lipid panel!

Unfiltered Coffee Cholesterol

Keep in mind that the a paper coffee filter drastically reduces these terpenes and cafestol. So the negative lipid effects of coffee will be greatest with unfiltered coffee, like that from a French press. One easy way to nearly eliminate the coffee-lipid link is to always drink filtered coffee! Put away that French press, avoid a lot of espresso, and don’t buy paper filters with “aroma holes” that they use in Scandinavia.


Thanks for reading. If you’re interested, I have another article on the coffee cholesterol link. Have a great day.