What is ghee and is it actually healthy?

Um… ghee with 24K gold flakes? Talk about the BEST gift for the person who has it all! I don’t cook or bake with butter so I never payed much attention to butter or ghee (often considered a better alternative) until I found out about Gourmet Ghee Co., besides gold they also have silver leaf butter (they sell them as a duo) along with flavors like toasted almond, black truffle, and roasted garlic. I’m seriously obsessed I always cook with avocado oil because it has a high smoke point. Did you know high heat cooking with olive oil – which SO many people recommend – is actually very, very dangerous? At high heat, olive oil releases cancer-causing free radicals. Read here to learn more about the safest cooking oils.

Ghee, which has a natural hazelnut aroma and after taste, has a high smoke point – 280-450 degrees – meaning it’s safe for cooking and with brands like Gourmet Ghee can actually add a ton of flavor to your foods. “It’s also great because it’s 100% shelf stable so it requires no refrigeration and has a shelf life of a year or more,” says Nazia Aibani, CEO/founder of Gourmet Ghee Co. “Ghee is called ‘Liquid Gold’ because all of the milk solids are taken out and you’re left with a rich golden liquid with endless health and beauty benefits. Not all ghee has great texture, our ghee butter is spreadable like butter and can be used to replace all butter and oils.”

To find out more about this so called liquid gold – and if it’s actually good for us – I spoke with health expert and founder/CEO of Slendid Spoon, Nicole Centeno.
What exactly is ghee?
Butter contains multiple compounds: water, butterfat and milk protins. Ghee is pure butterfat, meaning the milk protein and water have been removed. You can do this really simply by melting butter and then skimming off the solid white matter from the clear yellow liquid. What you’re left with is pure butterfat, or ghee, which has a higher smoking point, making it a great fat to cook with.

Are there health benefits?

Like most unprocessed whole food ingredients, there are some great benefits to ghee. Ghee has MCT (medium chain triglycerides), which are digested more easily than long chain triglycerides. When you opt for grass-fed ghee you’re also getting a great source of conjugated linoleic acid which may be linked to greater cardiovascular health and have anti-inflammatory effects.

Is it a healthy swap for something (like butter or oil?)

Ghee, and especially the grass-fed variety, is definitely a healthier choice than your run of the mill butter, but it is still a saturated fat which you should only eat in moderation.

Can it contribute to weight gain/weight loss?

Ghee is a fat, so it’s dense in calories, but you’re only going to gain weight with ghee if you’re eating lots and lots of it! And no, ghee is not a silver bullet for weight loss (no single ingredient is, for that matter). Adding ghee (or any heart-healthy fat like avocado or nut and seed oils) to your food helps with satiety, so when combined with complex carbs and protein, you are creating a more satisfying meal that can help combat future cravings. The research around CLA and metabolism and weight loss is mixed, so I would enjoy ghee for it’s benefits–and fantastic flavor!

Anyone who should not consume it?

Anyone with a milk allergy or on a low fat diet should ask their physician before getting in deep with ghee.

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