Is Ghee Healthy? Here`s What the Science Says
News Desk || shiningbd
“There was concern that consuming saturated fatty acids was not good for you and that it could increase the risk of coronary artery disease,” Dwivedi says. “So people were very concerned and [were avoiding] saturated fat, including ghee.”
In an effort to understand the heart-health risks of ghee, Dwivedi conducted several studies on rats. (While animal research doesn’t necessarily translate to people, Dwivedi’s work is some of the only published research looking specifically at ghee.) Among healthy animals, he found that packing their diets with up to 10% ghee did not lead to elevated levels of harmful cholesterol or other markers of heart disease. On the other hand, when examining a species of inbred rat with a genetic predisposition for the various diseases, eating a ghee-heavy diet increased their blood levels of unhealthy cholesterol and triglycerides.
“In nutritional research, rats tend to be a good experimental model for humans,” he says. “Our findings suggest that consuming ghee up to 10% of the diet will not increase the risk of heart diseases, but for those predisposed because of family or genetic factors, 10% may be harmful.”
There’s not much hard evidence to suggest that ghee is healthier than other forms of butter. “Claims of special health-giving properties of ghee are unsubstantiated,” says Dr. Rosalind Coleman, a professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health.
Coleman says that ghee, which does not include milk solids, may be easier to digest for adults who are lactose intolerant. Ghee also has a higher smoke point than plain butter, which may make it healthier for cooking, she says. But the same is true of clarified butter. “The actual kinds of fats are the same in butter and ghee, so moderate use of both would be recommended,” she adds.
All this suggests that if you’re healthy and looking to add more fat to your diet, ghee may be a fine option. But there’s no strong evidence to suggest that ghee is a “superfood” that should replace other cooking fats in your diet.