Picks and Pans Review: The Eight-Week Cholesterol Cure

updated 02/06/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/06/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

"I know how important it is to control cholesterol," says this tape's narrator, talk show host Larry King. "I found out the hard way. I had a heart attack." Modeled after science writer Robert E. Kowalski's best-selling cholesterol-busting guidebook, the instructive 60-minute production promises to help reduce cholesterol levels, which Kowalski advises should be no higher than 200 (milligrams per deciliter of blood), by 40 percent in eight weeks without drugs or a diet that makes you want to nibble on your slipper. Medical researchers have still not established the exact relationship between cholesterol and heart disease—a fine point that King does not address. But viewers are likely to be inspired by a sequence showing real-life coronary surgery in which a long strand of cholesterol is removed from a damaged artery. Cardiologist Ronald J. Pion explains, with the aid of simple graphics, how fat and cholesterol build up in arteries (just as muck collects in a drainage pipe), slowing the healthy flow of nutrients and oxygen. He then interviews Kowalski, who suffered a heart attack at 35 and resorted to two multiple-bypass operations before he devised his popular regimen, which combines a low-fat diet, the vitamin niacin and aerobic exercise. A companion booklet lists a varied eight-week meal plan, and Kowalski is so gosh-darn earnest about his mission that he makes oat bran (a high-fiber grain that acts like a liquid drain clearer for the arteries) sound as delectable as a hot fudge sundae. Tips abound on how to shop (buy margarine in tubs, since sticks are more saturated) and eating out (Chinese food is salty but not fatty). If you plan to splurge, budget your diet's fat content in advance. And if you are the type who cheats: Tape a picture of your rotund self on your refrigerator door. (Video Ticket/Twin Tower, $29.95; 800-535-5599)

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