Medically reviewed by Krupa, Senior Nutrition Coach
If you are vying for weight loss then you might have shunned fats from your diet and the first to go off the window would have been ghee or clarified butter. The word ‘ghee nutrition’ is not something we consider.
But what if we say there are different nutrition benefits of ghee that are helpful for health and even great for weight loss?
Yes, you read it right. But before we jump to that, let me give a heads-up about ghee nutrition.
Table of Contents
Ghee Nutrition Facts
A tbsp of ghee is usually found to contain 120 calories. The serving size here is 1tbsp = 14g.
Ghee or clarified butter is sometimes used as an alternative to regular cooking oil. Commonly used in Indian and Middle Eastern dishes.
Ghee is 99.9% fat and 1% moisture along with some fat-soluble vitamins, charred milk protein fractions among others.
Although the fatty acid profile of ghee is complicated, most of it consists of saturated fat and cholesterol.
Because it is made with saturated fat, it doesn’t spoil at room temperature and has high smoking point.
It is naturally rich in antioxidative properties too. Do we still recommend it for weight loss? Yes, we do and read on to know why!
Confused about whether you should consume ghee during weight loss! You can consult a Truweight nutritionist for FREE.
Preparation of Ghee or Clarified Butter
The title says it all, ghee is rendered when churned butter is clarified!
Ghee can be made from cow, buffalo, goat, or sheep milk. Though, generally, the cow’ milk is employed for the same.
Ghee is mostly prepared by traditional methods in Indian households by clarification of milk fats.
This kind of ghee is called desi ghee.
At the industry level, ghee is prepared by the direct cream method.
The ghee made at home stays good longer because of the presence of phospholipids, a factor missing when ghee is made commercially.
The Traditional method of ghee preparation: Milk is fermented to curd, it is churned to separate the fat that floats. This fat is further churned to yield butter which is clarified to make ghee.
Commercial method or direct cream method: Milk is boiled and cooled to separate the fat layer. This fat is churned to butter which is clarified to yield ghee.
Ghee Nutrition: Know more about Ghee
Ghee is revered in Ayurveda, which is an ancient Indian science.
A study which was conducted to understand the fatty acid composition in ghee prepared by the 2 methods found ghee or clarified butter to be a good source of DHA or docosahexaenoic acid .
Did you know, ghee or clarified butter is a good source of memory boosting omega-3 fats and specifically, rich in DHA
To give you some background, DHA is the most popular omega-3 fatty acid. Omega-3 fats coms under essential fats category which need to be derived from the diet because our body can’t produce it. So the world turned to fish oils, flaxseeds, and walnuts.
Alas! All weight loss enthusiasts prefer to only see the fat in ghee and not its composition (Omega-3 fatty acids).
There are studies abound which find that DHA helps to reduce the risk of certain conditions such as heart attack, cancer, insulin resistance, arthritis and even attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
– Moreover, Ayurveda believes that ghee contributes to longevity, protects the body from various diseases.
-In addition, ghee is believed to improve absorption of fat-soluble nutrients, nourishes and lubricates the joints, improves memory (the DHA connection) among other benefits.
-As mentioned in the International Dairy Journal, it was shown that ghee is a rich source of conjugated linoleic acid, which is now an established anticarcinogen .
Ghee contributes to all this because of antioxidants and essential fatty acids.
7 Desi Ghee Health Benefits
1. Rich in fat-soluble vitamins
Ghee is rich in fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin A, D, K and vitamin E. Notice how desi ghee is deep yellow in color. The benefits of fat-soluble vitamins are:
- Vitamin A helps in cellular growth, healthy teeth as well as improving bone health.
- Vitamin D improves calcium absorption and helps to prevent body inflammation.
- Vitamin E enhances wound healing processes and also helps the immune system.
- Vitamin K helps in regulating blood-clotting activities.
2. Good for the eyes
As reviewed in the Journal of Biological and Scientific Opinion, ghee possesses rasayana property which imparts its utility in preventive ophthalmology. In Ayurveda, it is used in the form of anjana and mixed with other drugs to treat eye ailments and specifically, vata related eye disorders.
Even when ghee is heated with different herbs, concoctions, and liquids, it is known as medicated ghee. This ghee acts as a medium for better absorption of drugs in the cornea region (because of both hydrophobic and hydrophilic areas in the cornea) and hence, effective treatment of the eye disorders .
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3. Ghee contains linoleic acid
One of the many ghee nutrition health benefits is that it is rich in omega-6 fatty acid conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which is also a precursor of essential omega-3 fatty acid DHA.
CLA is found to be helpful in modifying the body composition and different heart-related risks. Moreover, CLA has shown results in reducing body fat levels and having good impacts on the glycemic profile.
Also, studies have suggested that DHA plays an important role in the behavior and cognition aspect. DHA being the building block of brain and the eye tissues, aids in healthy vision along with improved concentration and learning as well .
4. Source of short chain fatty acids
Our stomach is inhabited by tiny microorganisms which ferment fiber to release many short-chain fatty acids. Butyric acid is one among them.
Preliminary research articles find the great benefit of butyric acid and even attribute anti-cancer property to it. Studies of ghee nutrition show that is naturally rich in butyric acid which makes it an immune building agent.
Those with digestive tract issues may not produce enough butyric acid. Hence they will benefit from consuming ghee.
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5. Helps in healthy digestion
Studies have found that ghee’s characteristics enhance gastric juices which in turn means better digestion.
According to a review given in the American Journal of Drug Delivery and Therapeutics, ghee assists in digestion by lubricating the gastric lining and maintaining the stomach acid balance .
Gastric juice contains enzymes that help in breaking down foods. So a teaspoon of ghee over chapati does more than just moisturize it.
6. Revered as a medicinal fat by Ayurveda
Ayurveda attributes medicinal properties to ghee. Hence it might be a good idea to saute your spices in a teaspoon of ghee.
The aroma will not only whet your family’s appetite but it will also result in better absorption of the pro-health compounds in spices as ghee is considered as an efficient nutrient vehicle or transporter.
No wonder why ghee nutrition appeals the Ayurvedic industry that uses ghee or clarified butter as a base for preparations of many medicines.
7. Nature provided moisturizer
Ghee acts as a natural moisturizer. And we don’t mean it only by superficial application. Our skin, membranes have fats or phospholipids in them.
By consuming essential fats found in ghee, you can ensure good skin health not just from the outside, but from the inside too.
Desi ghee is one of the best home remedies to cure dry lips. It will help to get beautiful and soft lips. Apply little desi ghee on your lips and message it very gently.
Ghee Nutrition Benefits in Weight Loss
Since ghee is rich in not only omega-3 fats (DHA) but also in omega-6 (CLA), it can be useful for weight loss.
Omega-6 fats have shown to help increase lean body mass while reducing fat mass. In addition, nutritionists also find that ghee helps in mobilizing fat cells to be burnt for energy.
All that helps in weight loss and weight management. Want to know how much ghee is fine for weight loss? Watch the video given below
Is Ghee better than Butter for Weight Loss?
‘Betty bought some butter, but the butter was bitter! So Betty bought some clarified Butter, to make her health better’! – How the tongue twister Betty bettered her health!’
The other name for ghee is clarified butter. So by that logic, shouldn’t butter be better for weight loss?
We let the research speak for themselves. Studies find that people who consumed butter reported a 5% increase in LDL or bad cholesterol levels.
Ditto for women who consumed 40 grams (we agree that’s too much butter) of butter instead of cheese, also showed an increase in the LDL levels.
On the other hand, studies found that including a bit of ghee in the everyday diet of both humans and animals resulted in lowering of the bad LDL cholesterol. Mind you, the amount of ghee fed to the subjects was also huge, close to 2.5% of their weight.
Scientists postulated ghee to control cholesterol metabolism and hence a lower LDL reading . Now, we hope you are getting the entire story of how ghee could be better!
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The recommended amount of ghee for weight loss
“The word ‘ghee’ comes from the sanskrit word ‘ghrita’ meaning sprinkled. That is just how ghee or clarified butter should be used. Just sprinkled over foods!”
Remember, an excess of anything is bad! So why push the limits with ghee, even if you love it? We are, after all, talking about saturated fats.
So nutritionists suggest restricting it to 2 teaspoons a day. It would be better if ghee features in tempering as then it gets distributed among the family. 
But hey, 2 teaspoons providing your diet isn’t loaded with cheese or fried foods earlier on. We suggest you chart out a detailed fat intake plan with a nutritionist who will then put a cap on the teaspoons of ghee that is allowed.
You could start by opting for a free nutritionist counseling with one of Truweight’s dieticians!
Quick tip to Include Ghee or Clarified Butter in the Diet
You can include ghee in rotis, for parathas (within the limit that is), as temper for dals or subjis or even on soft steamed rice.
Avoid pure ghee Indian Sweets as they overshoot the ghee(fat) and sugar allowance by leaps and bounds.
Vegetable ghee or vanaspati or dalda or any other ghee substitute = FAKE GHEE
Vegetable ghee or dalda or vanaspati ghee begins as your regular liquid refined cooking oil. It is then chemically processed such that it becomes solid and resembles ghee.
Then comes the barrage of artificial antioxidants to increase its shelf life (because it is fake ghee, it needs artificial help in staying fine for long) and then some manufacturers even add ghee-like artificial flavors.
We haven’t even begun to talk about how it is loaded with the bad kind of fat, the ones your cardiologist warns against. Feel like having ghee, eat the real deal in moderation and stay healthy!
Recommended Ghee Brands in the Market
For the busy professional in every one of us, there are some reputed brands of ghee that are available.
Among the top ghee, brands are Pune-based Gowardhan ghee, Gujarat-based Amul ghee, Britannia ghee, Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali ghee, one of the oldest ghee brands namely Anik ghee among many. You could opt for any one of them as they are enriched with fat-soluble vitamins.
However, a study found that ghee prepared by traditional methods from curd has the highest amount of omega-3 DHA and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).
Since most of the commercial brands produce ghee from the direct cream method, it may rank lower in the omega-3 content. Hence, it is advisable to prepare and relish the ghee prepared at home.
So there you go, we have demystified ghee and whether it can be used in weight loss regimes!
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