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Organic Truths

August 16, 1987

Without offering any assessment of the culinary merits of offal meats ("The Offal Truth," by Bill Stern, July 26), an awful truth must also be told about their use as food.

Organ meats such as brains, liver and sweetbreads are murderously high in cholesterol. As most Calendar readers probably know, excessive cholesterol in the diet is associated with heart disease. It contributes to the plaques that develop in coronary arteries. These plaques can significantly reduce the blood flow that keeps the heart muscle--and its attendant human--alive.

American Heart Assn. dietary guidelines call for no more than 300 milligrams of cholesterol per day, and less for many individuals.

A 3-ounce serving of beef brains brings just over 1,800 mg of cholesterol to the table. A similar serving of chicken livers weighs in at about 480 mg of cholesterol; beef liver, 370 mg; sweetbreads, 465 mg; kidneys, 375, and 3 ounces of pork brains deliver nearly 2,200 mg of cholesterol to your gourmet delight.

For comparison, 3 ounces of broiled lean beef contains only about 75 or 80 mg of cholesterol.

Lest the Heart Assn. be accused of being culinary blue noses, I point with considerable pride to our Dine to Your Heart's Content program, which identifies about 350 Los Angeles-area restaurants, all of which offer dishes that are heart healthy, many of which are gustatory delights.



American Heart Assn.

Greater Los Angeles Affiliate

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