Olive Oil Meets Steak–Time to Compare Fats!

Which Fat is Good For Us?

In continuing my education about understanding fats and which is bad or good–because everything points against all of what dietitians or nutritionists tell us and the USDA recommends–I decided to hit all books and articles. It is not that I want to prove the USDA or the schools that teach nutritionists wrong (well.. yeah.. a little) but I actually want to know what I should eat!

I already know that saturated fat (animal saturated in particular) really helps migraines by my experience (even if nutritionists tell me it is bad for me) but I now wanted to understand the difference between fats in general for my regular health and not for migraines in particular.

We know that we have one fat type that is believed to be super good: monounsaturated fat. The chemistry is complicated so I leave that for another day but monounsaturated fats lower what we call the bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase what we call the good cholesterol (HDL) so that is #1 we need in our fat. This assumes, of course, that lowering LDL and increasing HDL is always a good thing, which is not true, but let’s make that assumption for now. This assumption is necessary because I know that 99.9999999% of the doctors reading this sentence are already lost. Why? Because we have particles in LDL (current blood tests for cholesterol do not test for particles!). The large particles are fluff and good so lowering LDL may mean we remove the good particles and leave all the small dense kind that are really the bad guys… yeah… ask for an NMR lipid test next time when you are at your doctor instead of a lipid panel for cholesterol.

Next we know that polyunsaturated fats are bad for us so we want fats that have as little as possible. Polyunsaturated fats are unstable and are the topic of the article I wrote on how the bonds break, how they become goo from heat, settle in your arteries, etc.

In reading Gary Taubes’ book “Good Calories, Bad Calories; Fats, Carbs, and The Controversial Science of Diet and Health” I found this section in the book very interesting and worthy to investigate:

Fat wars

Fat wars

I looked up in the USDA database the full nutrition information in order to compare the following fats:

Total saturated fat (a.k.a bad fat), Monounsaturated fat (a.k.a. good fat) and polyunsaturated fat (a.k.a. really bad fat) in the following food items: (100 gr = 3.5 oz) 100 gr porterhouse steak cooked, 1/8 inch fat; 100 gr avocado; 100 gr wild caught coho salmon cooked; 1 tablespoon olive oil.


Fat Type                       Amount

Porterhouse Steak

total saturated fat             4.026
Monounsaturated             4.516
Polyunsaturated                0.513

total saturated fat:            2.125
Monounsaturated             9.799
Polyunsaturated                1.816

Coho salmon
total saturated fat:            1.595
Monounsaturated             2.702
Polyunsaturated                2.521

1 tablespoon olive oil
total saturated fat:           1.864
Monounsaturated            9.850
Polyunsaturated               1.421

Note that a tablespoon olive oil has more polyunsaturated fat (the really bad one) than a 100 gr porterhouse steak!

So what do you think I will be eating? Steak of course! Dumping my olive oil! I recommend you reconsider what food you enjoy!

Comments, as always, are welcome.


About Angela A Stanton, Ph.D.

Angela A Stanton, PhD, is a Neuroeconomist focusing on chronic pain--migraine in particular--, electrolyte homeostasis, nutrition, and genetics. She lives in Southern California. Her current research is focused on migraine cause, prevention and treatment without the use of medicines. As a forever migraineur from childhood, her discovery was helped by experimenting on herself. She found the cause of migraine to be at the ionic level, associated with disruption of the electrolyte homeostasis, resulting from genetic variations of all voltage gated channels that modulate electrolytes and voltage in the brain, insulin and glucose transporters, and several other related variants, such as the MTHFR variants of the B vitamin methylation process and many others. Migraineurs are glucose sensitive and should avoid eating carbs as much as possible. She is working on the hypothesis that migraine is a metabolic disease. As a result of the success of the first edition of her book and her research and findings after treating over 4000 migraineurs successfully world wide, all ages and both genders, she published the 2nd (extended) edition of her migraine book "Fighting The Migraine Epidemic: Complete Guide: How To Treat & Prevent Migraines Without Medications". The 2nd edition is the “holy grail” of migraine cause, development, treatment and prevention, incorporating all there is to know. It includes a long section with for medical and research professionals. The book is full of academic citations (over 800) to authenticate the statements she makes to be followed up by those interested and to spark further research interest. It is a "Complete Guide", published on September 29, 2017. Dr. Stanton received her BSc at UCLA in Mathematics, MBA at UCR, MS in Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University, PhD in NeuroEconomics at Claremont Graduate University, and fMRI certification at Harvard University Medical School at the Martinos Center for Neuroimaging for experimenting with neurotransmitters on human volunteers, and is currently studying Functional Medicine. Dr. Stanton is an avid sports fan, currently enamored by resistance training and weight lifting, which she does three times a week with a private trainer. For relaxation (yeah.. about a half minute each day) Dr. Stanton paints and photographs. Follow her on Twitter at: @MigraineBook
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