‘Ghee’ whiz, this clarified butter sounds healthy. Is it, though?

Although ghee is recognized for some health benefits, experts say it should be used in moderation

As of late, ghee has been TikTok’s go-to source for cooking and toast. While it’s been around for decades, paleo, keto and other Western diets have helped increase its popularity.

But what is ghee, exactly?

It’s a clarified butter made from buffalo or cow milk and is most commonly used in South Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine.

Although it’s in the butter family, it’s made by heating butter, and letting the liquid and milk parts separate from the fat. The milk is then caramelized, becoming a solid, and the remaining oil is ghee.

Risks and benefits

The golden product that’s created is lactose-free, has a higher smoke point — which means it doesn’t burn as quickly as butter — and produces less acrylamide, a chemical known to increase the risk of cancer.

Some other benefits include:

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Combats obesity
  • Helps heal wounds, strengthen skin and increase collagen
  • Supports digestive health

While ghee has some heart health benefits because of its concentrations of monounsaturated omega-3s, it can also increase the risk of heart disease because of its high concentration of saturated fats.

Ghee and butter profiles

Ghee and butter have many similarities when it comes to nutrition profiles, and both should be used in moderation. Per tablespoon, ghee is higher in calories and fat than butter and is slightly higher in vitamin A. They both have conjugated linoleic acid, a polyunsaturated fat that may help protect against heart disease and certain types of cancer, and support weight loss.

Ghee V Butter - Very Well Health

Credit: Ghee vs Butter - Very Well Health

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Credit: Ghee vs Butter - Very Well Health

Although ghee is recognized for its health benefits, it — much like butter — should be consumed in moderation because of the high fat content.

“Either way, you’ll want to check with your doctor before trying something new, as everybody’s tolerance level and allergic responses are different,” registered dietitian Caroline Thomason told USA Today.