Introduction: Beloved by Indian and Pakistani cooks and social media influencers, ghee is an ingredient that is gaining popularity as an alternative to butter and cream. Does ghee live up to the hype? To find out, read on!
Reading time: 10 minutes
What is Ghee?
If you use social media and have an interest in healthy, delicious food, you’re likely aware of ghee. Ghee is a staple of Indian and Pakistani cooking that is gaining popularity as a healthier alternative to butter, cream, and other dairy products, whether as a cooking ingredient or as something to add to your coffee.
Ghee is beloved for many reasons. It has a distinctive nutty flavor all its own. It’s versatile and has a long shelf life. And in terms of flavor and health, it has significant advantages over butter and other dairy products, particularly as applied to keto, paleo, and dairy-free diets.
Ghee looks to be more than a fad. And now that it’s being used by leaders in healthy eating such as Kevin’s Natural Foods, ghee has entered the mainstream.
Is Ghee Dairy?
The great irony of ghee is that, despite its reputation as a butter alternative, it starts out its life as butter.
To make ghee, you heat and melt butter until the water evaporates and the fat separates from the milk solids. Then, you skim the solids off the top. This heat-intensive process gives ghee its characteristic “roasted” flavor and helps explain its use as a butter alternative.
While it may not be “dairy-free” in the strictest possible sense, ghee is “lactose-free.” This is why it’s preferred by those with sensitivities to dairy and fits in with the diets these people prefer. It has some other interesting health advantages as well.
Butter vs. Ghee
Compared to butter, cream, and other “rich” dairy products, ghee has a similar but distinct flavor - it has its own personality but can readily serve as a substitute without causing a fuss. But how about from a health perspective?
Ghee has long been used in traditional South Asian medicine, which has enhanced its reputation as a healthy ingredient. In terms of health and diet, the clinical differences between butter and ghee are small but significant.
Like butter, ghee gets nearly 100% of its calories from fat. With a higher concentration of fat than butter has, ghee packs more butyric acid and other short-chain saturated fats. Some animal studies indicate that these fats may help promote gut health and reduce inflammation, two benefits that are of particular interest to health experts of late.
Ghee is also slightly higher in conjugated linoleic acid, a polyunsaturated fat that may help increase fat loss.
While it retains many characteristics of butter, cream, and other popular dairy products, ghee has many interesting advantages. Anyone interested in healthy eating has good reason to give ghee a try.
Ghee: Part of This Complete Diet
The real benefits of ghee are deep in the details. Unlike butter and cream, ghee is completely free of the milk protein casein and the milk sugar lactose. For those with sensitivities to these, ghee is clearly a superior alternative to butter.
For this reason, ghee works as part of a dairy-free or a low-dairy diet, such as keto or paleo. If you were worried you could never enjoy a dab of butter again, ghee may be the ingredient you’ve been waiting for.
The rising popularity of ghee has been largely promoted by those on particular diets or living with particular dietary restrictions, who nonetheless want to get maximum enjoyment from their food. Much of the creativity around making delicious food taste better, and in making healthy food more delicious, is happening in dieting niches such as keto and paleo, which are the places in which ghee initially gained favor.
This also explains why it’s used as an alternative to butter and cream by Kevin’s Natural Foods.
Kevin’s Natural Foods is on a mission to make healthy entrees, sauces, and seasonings that are easy to prepare, are in line with nutritional and dietary guidelines, and - most importantly - are flat-out delicious.
Just because it only takes a few minutes to prepare an entrée from Kevin’s doesn’t mean you shouldn’t spend the whole day craving it. And just because you’re mindful of your health and have certain dietary restrictions doesn’t mean you should enjoy the bliss of delicious food.
Unlike greasy fast food that just slows you down an hour later, Kevin’s will help you feel good about savoring a tasty treat you don’t have to feel guilty about or spend hours in the kitchen to prepare.