When You Eat Coffee Grounds, This Is What Happens

People are obsessed with coffee, that's no secret. Coffee drinks, coffee desserts, coffee ice cream, chocolate-covered coffee beans, the list of ways to consume this bean goes on and on, and we're here for all of it.

The delicious roasted flavors that come from the different preparations of coffee beans give each different consumption method its own unique taste. The creamy and smooth taste of cold brew differs entirely from the sharp bitterness of chocolate-covered espresso beans, but both are delicious in their own rite.

But where do coffee grounds fall into the list of ways to consume this plant? After all, it's no secret that coffee is full of healthy substances that are known to offer a variety of benefits, via Berkeley Wellness. There's a lot of differing opinions out there on whether or not you should eat coffee grounds, and what happens when you do. There's also a significant difference in the effects between used and new coffee grounds.

Eating coffee grounds may raise your blood cholesterol

According to Berkeley Wellness, coffee beans contain "diterpene compounds, called cafestol and kahweol, which raise blood cholesterol." These compounds are removed when coffee is brewed with a paper filter, so those drinking brewed coffee don't need to worry about consumption and their blood cholesterol.

However, people eating whole beans (and grounds) and drinking unfiltered coffee (such as French press, Turkish, or espresso) are at risk of consuming a lot of these compounds and therefore potentially increasing their blood cholesterol. A study published by American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 1995 "looked specifically at the effects of consuming used coffee grounds (about 1/4 ounce a day). After three weeks, blood cholesterol increased by an average of 26 points" (via Berkeley Wellness).

Consuming the grounds once they've been steeped also decreases their caffeine content, while also providing "higher levels of dietary phenolic compounds than brewed coffee" (via Eat Your Coffee). You can consume these grounds in a variety of ways, but be aware of potential risks of blood cholesterol if you consume the whole beans often.