While ghee has recently gained popularity as a sort of “superfood,” it has been used as a therapeutic agent for thousands of years. Despite the popularization of many new ghee-based companies and uses for ghee, many of us do not understand what it is or why it might be beneficial to us. After all, what’s the difference between ghee vs butter?
What is Ghee?
When butter is melted at medium heat until it boils, milk solids and water rise to the top. After these milk solids and water are removed, a more nutritionally dense substance than regular butter is left behind. This substance, a clarified butter, is called ghee.
Nutritional Profile of Ghee vs Butter
Ghee is a more concentrated source of fat than regular butter since milk solids and moisture have been removed. A tablespoon of ghee has approximately 13g of fat, while a tablespoon of butter has approximately 11g of fat. Ghee is, therefore, more calorie and nutrient-dense than regular butter.
Ghee also has slightly increased levels of micronutrients, like vitamins A, D, E, K, and choline.
Lactose Content of Ghee vs Butter
As a result of the clarification process, ghee does not contain lactose or casein. Although trace amounts of each may be present, ghee is a better option than regular butter for those who are lactose intolerant. Additionally, if you are following a dietary approach like Whole30® or otherwise staying away from dairy, ghee will be a better choice than regular butter for you.
Ghee is also higher in short-chain and medium-chain fatty acids than regular butter, which makes it more easily and quickly digestible.
Tip: Many restaurants use vegetable-based ghee, which can be high in trans fatty acids. Be sure to use pure animal-based ghee to get the full range of benefits.
Taste of Ghee vs Butter
The removal of milk solids gives ghee a rich, pure flavor. The nutty taste of ghee is like that of butter but less creamy and more intensified.
Cooking & Storage
Ghee has a high smoke point, meaning that you can cook with it without worrying about it breaking down.
Ghee also does not require refrigeration as butter does; it does not easily spoil and is resistant to oxidation. Removal of lactose, a sugar, and casein, a protein, means that there is little left behind in ghee for bacteria to feed on.
Ghee is an oil at room temperature and solid when refrigerated.
Conclusions about Ghee vs Butter
Butter and ghee can be used for similar purposes. Generally speaking, if a recipe calls for butter, you can get away with using ghee.
The main differences between ghee and butter concern their nutritional profiles, flavor, and storage procedures, which all stem from the fact that ghee is butter that has undergone a clarification process to remove milk solids and moisture.
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