Learning About Ghee Fat and What Fat is Good Fat
Health and nutrition facts aren’t always so straight forward. We were once told that all fat was bad for us, but now some are good. We hear terms like “good fats” and “bad fats” thrown around all the time. How many kinds of fats even are there? And what makes one fat bad and one good? And yet some food labels advertise being fat-free. What about cooking oils, butter, or ghee fats? There is a lot of confusing information and misinformation out there, so let’s break it all down to understand what fat is good fat.
How Fats Work and the Forms of Fat
Nutritionists and nutrition labels identify four different kinds of fats. These are saturated fats, monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, and trans fats. The primary association with these fats is how they increase either low-density lipoproteins (LDL) or high-density lipoproteins (HDL). These lipoproteins carry cholesterol through the bloodstream. HDL is often coined as the “good cholesterol,” while LDL is labeled “bad protein.” Truly, they are both important.
LDL is the primary carrier of cholesterol in the bloodstream. If their levels are too high, they will collect on the walls of blood vessels. HDL brings cholesterol back to the liver and has become associated with better health.
Saturated fats increase LDL levels and are linked to heart disease because of the relationship. More recently, professionals are finding reasons to question this link, and the relationship between saturated fats and heart disease is less clear.
What does seem clear is the health links of the other three fats. Trans fats, a fat artificially introduced to foods, raise LDL levels and are associated with cardiovascular health risks. Many countries are now banning the introduction of trans fats to foods. Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats lower LDL levels while maintaining or increasing HDL levels. Thus, they are each considered beneficial for your health.
The Essential Ghee Fat Information
Since ghee is naturally occurring through the clarification of butter, there are no harmful trans fats found in ghee fat. A tablespoon of ghee as compared to a tablespoon of butter actually has a slight increase in both saturated fat and monounsaturated fat because of the removal of milk solids and liquids.
It is important to note that not all ghee is the same. Some homes and restaurants use a partially hydrogenated vegetable oil or what is known as a ‘vegetable ghee.’ Vegetable ghee fat content is very different from ghee made with grass-fed cow butter. Vegetable ghee can have a high volume of trans fats that are known to be harmful to heart health.
If your goal is to cook with healthy ghee, be sure to identify where that ghee comes from. The naturally occurring ghee fat is the best form of ghee fat you can consume.