Is ghee healthy as a cooking fat?

Monday June 22 2020

Because ghee contains almost no casein and

Because ghee contains almost no casein and lactose, it is well tolerated by the body and does not have similar effects to milk. 

By Dr Vincent Karuhanga

Is ghee better than other cooking fats? — Joyce
Dear Joyce,
Ghee is a dairy product made by heating butter to remove the milk solids and most of the water. In the process, most of the lactose and casein that are found in milk are also removed.

Most of the health challenges linked to milk and dairy products are due to the casein protein and lactose, which is a type of simple sugar. Casein causes significant amounts of inflammation in our digestive system and bodies and many people are intolerant to and do not easily digest lactose.

Because ghee contains almost no casein and lactose, it is well tolerated by the body and does not have similar effects to milk.

In addition, ghee has two other benefits that make it quite useful. First is that it contains healthy fats. It contains a type of fat called conjugated linoleic acid that is linked to reducing inflammation but also with lowering blood pressure and even reducing body fat.

It is also rich in butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid that plays a keyrole in your gut health. Some studies have even suggested it may help improve insulin levels, the hormone that controls blood sugar.

Ghee also has a high smoke point, the temperature at which oil or fat begins to form smoke and burn when heated. At that point, the fat begins to oxidise and form harmful chemicals. It also loses vital nutrients.

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Fats that have a higher smoke point are, therefore, better for high heat cooking.
Unfortunately, many healthier oils such as olive oil have lower smoke points. Ghee has a higher smoke point than even butter which makes it a much better alternative for high heat cooking, especially because it also has other beneficial effects.

Just because it is made from dairy and is an animal product does not mean it is harmful. However, because it is an animal product, use it in moderation.

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