Which is healthier — butter or ghee? | health and fitness | Hindustan Times
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Which is healthier — butter or ghee?

health and fitness Updated: Dec 05, 2010 16:30 IST
Dr Anjali Mukherjee
Dr Anjali Mukherjee
Hindustan Times
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Most of us know that fat makes us obese and clogs our arteries. However, fats can be healthy as well. The infamous saturated fats blamed since long are not as bad as they are made out to be.

A diet depleted of fat can speed up the aging of skin and brain. Ingesting fat in the right amount and of the right type helps in the renewal of cells. Fats are required for absorption of vitamins such as A, D, E, and K, and help to build cell membrane, certain hormones and bile.

Pure and digestible

According to Ayurveda, cow ghee is considered the purest of all foods. It is rejuvenating, easy to digest and converted to energy easily. It has a high smoking point and a strong, appetising aroma, and is free of harmful trans-fatty acids. It also does not spoil easily, and is good for nerves and the brain.

ButterThe use of ghee is often debated due to the presence of saturated fatty acids. This is mainly due to misunderstanding between ghee made from animal fats and vegetable ghee. Pure ghee is clarified butter. Vegetable-based ghee is used in restaurants. These cheaper oils are usually hydrogenated and have a high amount of trans-fats. Pure ghee has a rich flavour and doesn’t contain oxidised cholesterol or transfatty acids.

Though ghee has multiple benefits, you need to consume it in moderation. One teaspoon of melted ghee twice a day is adequate. People with high cholesterol levels are advised not to consume ghee in excess of 10 per cent of their total caloric intake.

Butter worries
Butter containts both trans-fats and saturated fats. It can increase the risk of cardio vascular diseases when consumed in excessive amounts. When comparing butter to ghee, the latter has 25 per cent more medium- and short-chained fats than butter, and that is better as they do not cause Cardiovascular problems. Ghee has a higher smoking point (200-2600 degrees Celsius) than butter (160-1900 degrees Celsius). This is an advantage when cooking since smoke point is that moment when fats degenerate into harmful compounds which can be toxic for our health. It is fine to eat ghee and butter but in moderation.

Dr Anjali Mukerjee is a nutritionist and founder of Health Total, a nutrition counselling centre.