There’s a health ladder when it comes to oil/fat spreads. Butter is better than margarine, and organic grass-fed butter is better than normal kitchen butter, but what about ghee? Where does this clarified butter fall on the health scale? Are there ghee benefits you don’t get from traditional butter?
Ghee has been used in India, Pakistan, and other parts of the world for thousands of years, but in recent years it has become more popular worldwide. Ghee is condensed butter with the water and milk solids removed, resulting in a higher fat concentration. It can be used in all of the same ways as butter, but there are some differences.
Clarified butter (ghee) is almost completely fat, the bulk of which is saturated.
Ghee, for the most part, has the same nutritional value as butter, just in higher concentrations. I t is a good source of vitamin A, vitamin E, and vitamin K. It’s also high in fats what will help promote satiety, reducing cravings and keep you from overindulging.
Ghee should be made from top quality butter. Look for organic, grass-fed ghee for the highest levels of vitamins and nutritional benefits.
One of the big benefits of ghee is convenience. Ghee doesn’t spoil or go rancid as quickly as butter. It can sit outside the fridge as long as a month with no problems, and can last indefinitely when refrigerated. It made storing butter in warm temperatures possible long before refrigerators, and cut out the necessity to use preservatives. While this may not be a massive benefit for many people in the 21st century, there are still times this can be very handy.
Butter has a smoking point of 350°F, but ghee has a substantially higher heat tolerance at 485°F. That means ghee is great if you’re cooking at higher temperatures. Ghee is more stable at these high temperatures, and definitely the healthier option if you’re going to be cooking at this range.
The process of turning butter into ghee removes the lactose and casein from butter. These are the dairy components that most people who have dairy intolerances or allergies react to. That means people with lactose intolerance can typically enjoy ghee without side effects.
A recent study on rats found ghee to be better for lipid profiles compared to butter. It also found that the rats that ate ghee lost weight while the rats that were fed butter gained weight. These are interesting findings, which highlight real benefits to switching from butter to ghee. This could be because of the higher fat ratio, causing a higher satiety factor, but the reason isn’t clear from this particular study.
There are benefits to ghee. It’s great if you’re cooking at high temperature or if you’re sensitive to dairy, but for the most part, a good grass-fed butter is still a good choice.