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What is a CSI?


"The New American Diet System" (Simon & Schuster, $22.95) by Sonja L. Connor, a registered dietitian, and William E. Conner, her physician husband, claims that you can help reduce your risk of heart disease if you use the Cholesterol-Saturated Fat Index or CSI.

The CSI is a number that instantly ranks foods by their ability to raise the cholesterol level in your blood -- a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. The higher the CSI, the more cholesterol, saturated fat or combination of the two the food contains. The lower the number, the more healthful your food choice.

Women typically consume foods equal to a CSI of 50, according to the Connors, their goal should be 16. Men typically have a CSI of 70; they should aim for 23. You can exceed your CSI limit for a day with just one fast-food meal -- a quarter pounder with cheese (18), vanilla milk shake (5) and French fries (5) -- a total CSI of 28.

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