Is Ghee Keto

Introduction

With the plethora of fats and oils available to you on Keto there’s one that may have completely slipped your noticed.  Ghee is a Keto-friendly fat that contains only trace amounts of carbohydrates.  The following article will explain what ghee is, how to best fit it into your Keto as well as why you should give this fat a spot in your cooking rotation.

What is ghee?

Ghee is what’s known as clarified butter.  Although it may be new to you, it’s a food that’s been around for quite some time.  It has a rich history in ancient India, even featuring in the Vedic creation myth.  Today, it’s still widely used in Middle Eastern and Asian cuisine as well as in the therapeutic, religious and medical cultures of these areas.

Clarified butter is butter that’s had all of the water removed from it through a process of slow simmering and straining.  What’s left is the uncooked milk solids.  When ghee is made, those milk solids are cooked slightly until they just begin to brown.  This gives ghee its slightly nutty flavor and its golden color.  

Is ghee keto?

Yes, ghee is Keto!  There are very few carbohydrates in ghee since it’s made from butter and butter only has trace amounts of carbs.  On top of that, ghee is 99.8% fat!  One thing to note is that there are more calories in ghee than there are in butter since all of the liquid has been removed.  This means that for every teaspoon of ghee you’ll be ingesting roughly 42 calories.  A teaspoon isn’t much but with ghee, a little goes a long way in terms of its nutrients and its flavor.

Roughly half of the fat in ghee is saturated fat.  Although saturated fat isn’t as much of a taboo as it used to be, it’s still wise to consume it in moderation.  Monounsaturated fat makes up the rest of the fat profile with a little bit of polyunsaturated fat mixed in.  

Roughly 25% of the fat in ghee is in short-chain or medium chain triglycerides (MCT).  If you’ve been following the Keto diet for a while, you’ve probably heard of MCT oil.  These fats are easier to digest than long-chain triglycerides which makes them easier to turn into ketones.  This allows you to access the energy from your fats quickly.  MCT has been shown to have far ranging health benefits from reducing cravings and aiding in weight loss to lowering your risk of heart disease, Alzheimer’s and even Cancer.    

Health benefits of ghee

Ghee is more than just a fat.  It’s loaded with healthy vitamins and nutrients that you might not think of getting from a source of fat.  

For starters, ghee is rich in a substance known as butyric acid.  Butyric acid is a short-chain fatty acid that’s very important in maintaining a healthy digestive system.  It helps to keep the walls of your intestines healthy and intact while also protecting against improper cell growth inside of your colon.   

Butyric acid is also known for its anti-inflammatory properties.  This is why in Ayurvedic medicine it’s used to treat burns.  The practitioners rub ghee on the skin in order to reduce inflammation and promote healing.  There have been no scientific studies done to see the effectiveness of this application but anecdotal evidence suggests that it might work. 

Surprisingly, ghee contains vitamins.  When you think of how the food chain works, it makes a lot of sense.  The cows eat the grass (full of vitamins), they produce milk which is turned into butter and that butter is turned into ghee.  In ghee you can find vitamins A, E, C, D and K.  The vitamin E in ghee is especially beneficial because it’s an antioxidant.  Antioxidants can help your body fight cancer, heart disease, arthritis and cataracts.  

If you’re looking to lose weight while on Keto, ghee can help you there as well.  It’s high in a substance known as CLA (conjugated linoleic acid).  This fatty acid has been shown to help people lower their body fat percentage and prevent excess weight gain.  

The fat in ghee also contains plenty of Omega 3’s.  Omega 3’s help prevent heart disease by lowering your bad (LDL) cholesterol levels while raising your good (HDL) cholesterol levels.  Omega 3’s are also important in helping to battle mental disorders such as depression, anxiety and possibly even Alzheimer’s.  

It’s important to remember that these health benefits are all available to you through consumption of ghee in moderation.  You should aim for 2-3 teaspoons of ghee a day if you choose to add it into your diet.  This will provide you with the health benefits without causing you to consume too many calories or too much saturated fat.  

Why choose ghee over butter?

There are several reasons why you might want to choose ghee over butter for your Keto fat.  

  • Shelf life – Butter needs to be refrigerated due to its liquids and milk content.  Ghee on the other hand is shelf-stable for long periods of time because all of those liquids have been removed and the resulting solids are extremely shelf stable
  • High smoke point –  Butter can burn when exposed to high heat.  You should only cook butter at 350F or below which rules out its use in frying, sautéing and even some higher temperature baking.  Ghee, on the other hand, has a much higher smoke point of 485F.  This allows you to use it in a wider range of cooking environments without worrying about it breaking down and releasing unhealthy chemicals. 
  • Great for people with lactose intolerances – if you find dairy hard to handle or you have a full-blown lactose intolerance, butter is out.  However, ghee might be a good substitute because all of the lactose has been removed during the cooking process.  Ghee is still considered dairy so you still might have problems if lactose isn’t the issue but it’s worth a try
  • Flavor – there is nothing wrong with the flavor of butter; however, there may be times when you’d prefer a slightly nuttier flavor with your foods.  Experiment with ghee in your cooking to find out which recipes work better with ghee.

Can you make ghee at home?

If ghee is just butter that’s been simmered and skimmed until all of the liquid is gone, does that mean it can be made at home?  The short answer is, yes!  Ghee is definitely something that you can make yourself.  One of the golden rules of Keto is if you make the food yourself you’re going to know exactly what nutrients are in it which allows you to avoid processed foods, preservatives and sneaky sugars.

To make ghee at home you need to start with some butter.  Simmer the butter on low in a saucepan until you see the solids sink to the bottom and the liquid rise to the top.  Continue to simmer away the liquid and cook the remaining milk solids on low until they turn a nice golden brown.  Skim off any foam that rises to the top and after about 45 minutes (for one pound of butter) you should be left with a golden liquid.  That’s your ghee!

How do you cook with ghee?

Whether you make your own or buy it in the store, there’s plenty that can be done with this nutty fat.  Its high smoke point allows you to use it in frying, sautéing, pan-frying and oven-based cooking but its unique flavor also works well in cold and raw recipes.  Below are some great ways to cook using ghee.

  • Add it to your coffee or tea-bulletproof coffee has become more and more popular in recent years among the Keto crowd.  Why not take your bulletproof coffee up a notch by adding some ghee to your morning brew?  The ghee will add a sweet, slightly caramel flavor so you get the benefits of the fat but you also get a beverage that tastes amazing!
  • As a veggie topping-if you usually add some butter to your steamed veggies, you should definitely try ghee.  It melts quickly and adds a distinctive nutty flavor to your veggies
  • Roasting-you can also use ghee the way you would any Keto friendly oil by tossing your veggies or meat in it before roasting them in the oven.  The ghee will give your food a boost of healthy fats and help them crisp up nicely.
  • Add it to soups-soups are a healthy and low-calorie food; however, what they usually lack is fat.  If you’re looking to keep your soup healthy but add in some healthy fats you can toss in a dollop or two of ghee.  It will melt into the soup and give it a delicious, creamy flavor.

Conclusion

Ghee is a great fat that people are just starting to discover.  It’s high smoke point and unique flavor makes it extremely versatile and you can even make it in the comfort of your own home.  Adding ghee into your Keto can provide you with a host of health benefits as well as a tasty and nutritious alternative to butter.  

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