Ghee Vs Butter: Which is Healthier

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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There is an ongoing debate over ghee vs butter, and while each has certain good qualities, there are some differences that may sway your decision.

Ghee and butter have a lot in common and are closely related, but one is considered acceptable for health, while the other is seen as a health booster.

Butter

  • Butter is a dairy product that is made by churning fresh or fermented milk or cream, which allows the butterfat to separate.
  • Butter is typically composed of approximately 80% butterfat. The remainder of butter is made of water and milk proteins, and added sodium, in some cases.
  • In 10 grams of butter, you will take in approximately 5 grams of saturated fat and 2 grams of monounsaturated fat, as well as trace amounts of polyunsaturated fats. Butter also possesses moderate amounts of vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamin E.

Uses

Butter is popularly used as the following:

  • Spread on bread and toast
  • Mashed potatoes and other cooked vegetables
  • Cooking, baking, and other culinary dishes
  • Sauces

Side Effects

Due to the high level of saturated fat, butter is known to increase your serum lipid profile and overall cholesterol levels. This can be dangerous for those who are already at risk of cardiovascular problems and can increase your chances of the following:

  • Heart attacks
  • Strokes,
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Obesity

Experts recommend that saturated fats do not make up more than 7% of your daily calorie intake, so moderation in butter consumption is essential.

Ghee

  • Ghee is also known as clarified butter and is directly derived from the butterfat.
  • Commonly produced, found and cooked in India, ghee is prepared by simmering butter and removing impurities as they separate from the pure butterfat.
  • While butter is approximately 80% fat, ghee can be as pure as 99.5% fat.
  • Ghee has a considerably higher smoke point – at nearly 500 degrees Fahrenheit – which means it is more versatile as a cooking base. Those impurities that are removed while simmering the butter include milk proteins, including lactose.
  • In some studies, the use of ghee has led to lower cholesterol levels and improved heart health, but this research needs to be further corroborated, due to the elevated levels of saturated fats in this more pure form of butterfat.
  • When cooking, you should consider the ultimate flavor you want in your meal. Ghee tends to provide more of a burnt and nutty flavor to your foods, whereas butter is much more subtle.

Uses

Ghee is popularly used for the following:

Side Effects

The ratio of saturated fat to monounsaturated fat isn’t too different between butter and ghee, and both should be consumed in moderation for that reason. For people who are severely lactose intolerant, butter can still cause indigestion, but there will be no side effects when using ghee.

The takeaway should be that both butter and ghee are delicious and easy to cook with. However, both should only ever be consumed in acceptable quantities to prevent a dangerous rise in saturated fat concentration within the body.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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