In the age of “eating clean” and “staying fit,” the debate around fats has gotten heated. Science draws a line between healthy and unhealthy fats. But, ghee and butter (saturated fats), which fall between healthy and unhealthy fats, are still caught up in a series of contradictory expert opinions.
When had in moderation, saturated fats make for a safe addition to your diet.1 But, in order to choose between ghee and butter, it’s important to first understand how the two are made.
Ghee And Butter- What’s The Difference?
The nutritional and physical differences between ghee and butter come from how they’re made. Butter is made from fresh and fermented cream or milk.2
Meanwhile, ghee (clarified butter) is made by heating butter. In this process, milk solids are allowed to bubble to the top of the pan. These bubbles are then skimmed until the milk caramelizes and solidifies in the bottom, resulting in ghee. This ghee is then strained through a mesh strainer
Butter is made of 80% fat and 20% residues of milk and water. These residues burn when heated. On the other hand, the heating process rids ghee of any residues, making it perfect for cooking. It also has a nutty flavor that gives food a “buttery” flavor in very little quantities.4
Ghee is also free from casein and lactose, making it a good option for lactose intolerant people.5 However, it’s the nutritional differences that really set ghee and butter apart.
Benefits Of Butter
Butter has a bad reputation, due to its potential to raise cholesterol and fasting glucose levels. But, there are a
- It’s rich in vitamin D and calcium, which reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
- It is a source of the most easily absorbable form of vitamin A, which is important for bone growth, immunity, and reproduction.
- It might lower liver fat.
Although there isn’t enough research to fully support the benefits of butter, eating it in moderation might not be bad for health.6 7 But, if you do suffer from heart disorders, cholesterol, or diabetes, you should consult a medical practitioner before consuming butter.
Benefits Of Ghee
1. Lowers The Risk Of Heart Disease
The antioxidant and antiatherogenic properties of ghee positively influence serum lipids (serum cholesterol, triglycerides, and phospholipids). Abnormal levels of lipids cause heart disease.8
Studies indicate that communities in India that consume ghee show lower rates of both cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease. So, if you’re at risk of heart disease, you could consume ghee after consulting a medical practitioner.9 10
2. Promotes Intestinal Health
Ghee, particularly grass-fed ghee, is rich in vitamin D, A, omega 3 fats, CLA, and butyrate which promote intestinal health.11 Ayurveda states that ghee lubricates the digestive system, balances the stomach acids, and repairs the mucus lining of the stomach to promote good bowel movements.12 So, if you’ve been having trouble with digestion of late, ghee might help.
3. Promotes Weight Loss
Ghee might be a good addition to your diet if you’re looking to lose weight. Studies indicate that ghee lowers body weight, while butter increases it. However, while you can choose
4. Builds Immunity
Ghee might protect you against the dreaded cold that often gets passed on from one person to another. Ayurveda states that a body massage (abhyanga) with ghee creates endorphins or peptides, which enhance the body’s immune system.
In order to do this, you would need to rub cow ghee on your chest, limbs, joints, orifices, and head. Alternatively, you could look for a registered practitioner who might help you understand the right way to go about the massage.14
5. Improves Cognition
Ghee might improve your brain functioning. According to Ayurveda, ghee promotes learning, memory, and recall.15
Ghee is also said to be beneficial for mental alertness, memory, intelligence, vision, and voice.16 So, if you’ve got an exam coming up, ghee might be a good option to add to your diet.
Ghee might also have anti carcinogenic and anti ageing properties.17 Since the benefits of ghee outmatch that of butter, it might be a better addition to your meal plans. However, if you suffer from any heart disorders, please do consult a medical practitioner before you include either of these options in your diet.
|↑1||Fats and Cholesterol. Harvard TH Chan.|
|↑2||Hill, Louella. Kitchen Creamery: Making Yogurt, Butter & Cheese at Home. Chronicle Books, 2015.|
|↑3||Asprey, Dave. The bulletproof diet: Lose up to a pound a day, reclaim energy and focus, upgrade your life. Rodale, 2014.|
|↑4||McGinnis, Samuel. Field Guide to Freshwater Fishes of California. University of California Press, 2006.|
|↑5||Halstead, Pauli. Primal Cuisine: Cooking for the Paleo Diet. Simon and Schuster, 2012.|
|↑6||Pimpin, Laura, Jason HY Wu, Hila Haskelberg, Liana Del Gobbo, and Dariush Mozaffarian. “Is butter back? A systematic review and meta-analysis of butter consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and total mortality.” PLoS One 11, no. 6 (2016): e0158118.|
|↑7||Morton, Richard Alan, and Isidor Morris Heilbron. “Vitamin A of butter.” Biochemical Journal 24, no. 4 (1930): 870.|
|↑8||Mohammadifard, Noushin, Mohsen Hosseini, Firoozeh Sajjadi, Maryam Maghroun, Maryam Boshtam, and Fatemeh Nouri. “Comparison of effects of soft margarine, blended, ghee, and unhydrogenated oil with hydrogenated oil on serum lipids: A randomized clinical trail.” ARYA atherosclerosis 9, no. 6 (2013): 363.|
|↑9||Chinnadurai, Kathirvelan, Harpreet Kaur Kanwal, Amrish Kumar Tyagi, Catherine Stanton, and Paul Ross. “High conjugated linoleic acid enriched ghee (clarified butter) increases the antioxidant and antiatherogenic potency in female Wistar rats.” Lipids in health and disease 12, no. 1 (2013): 121.|
|↑10||Sharma, Hari, Xiaoying Zhang, and Chandradhar Dwivedi. “The effect of ghee (clarified butter) on serum lipid levels and microsomal lipid peroxidation.” Ayu 31, no. 2 (2010): 134.|
|↑11||Saeed, Madiha M. The Holistic Rx: Your Guide to Healing Chronic Inflammation and Disease. Rowman & Littlefield, 2017.|
|↑12, ↑14, ↑16||Mahakalkar, Ankita, Pranita Kashyap, Ram Bawankar, and Bhushan Hatwar. “The Versatility of Cow Ghee-An Ayurveda Perspective.” (2014).|
|↑13||Karandikar, Yogita Surendra, Akshata Sanjay Bansude, and Eesha Ajit Angadi. “Comparison between the Effect of Cow Ghee and Butter on Memory and Lipid Profile of Wistar Rats.” Journal of clinical and diagnostic research: JCDR 10, no. 9 (2016): FF11.|
|↑15, ↑17||Tamang, Jyoti Prakash, ed. Health benefits of fermented foods and beverages. CRC Press, 2015.|