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This Delicious Butter Boosts Weight Loss, Wards Off Diabetes and Banishes Hunger: Top Docs Explain How to Get the Perks

It has double the fat-burning compounds of traditional butter!

Healthy fats are an essential part of any diet, and that’s especially true for folks who follow low-carb or ketogenic approaches. One of the tastiest ways sneak them in is by adding ghee. The nutritious and filling fat, which can be used in place of butter, can bring on good health. And with our slimdown goals in mind, many of us wonder: Is ghee good for weight loss? According to health experts, it is! Keep reading to discover why ghee comes out on top when it comes to ghee vs. butter and weight loss.

What is ghee? 

Ghee is a type of clarified butter. So what’s clarified butter? It’s a form of butter that’s melted down — a process that removes the milk solids and water, leaving behind only butterfat — also known as clarified butter. “Compared to clarified butter, ghee is simmered even longer to bring out the butter’s inherent nutty flavor as well as create a higher smoke point,” explains natural health expert Josh Axe, DC, DNM, CNS, co-founder of Ancient Nutrition. That means you can cook at high temperatures without getting that rancid, overcooked oil flavor.

Ghee’s traditional roots lie in India and Pakistan as an integral part of Ayurvedic medicine. It’s been used for thousands of years for everything from cooking to a topical rash treatment. Today, ghee still has a variety of uses. “Ghee is rich in beneficial nutrients and contains several fatty acids that are important to health,” says Dr. Axe. And science proves it has a wealth of heathy benefits! (Click through to learn about another Ayurvedic medicine, berberine for weight loss.)

Ghee vs. butter

Ghee is made from butter, but that doesn’t make the two interchangeable. First, ghee’s fat is more concentrated. That means it “contains nearly double the amount of short- and medium-chain fatty acids as butter,” explains Dr. Axe. Research shows that these healthy fats are key for regulating blood sugar, providing energy, enhancing weight loss and more. Ghee also boasts more heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids than butter. (Click through to learn more about the benefits of omega balance for weight loss.)

Without the milk solids, you can keep ghee at room temperature for several weeks. What’s more, ghee may be a better option for those who run into digestive trouble when it comes to dairy. That’s because removing the milk solids to create ghee significantly reduces the amount of casein and lactose in butter. However, ghee still contains dairy protein, so those with a milk protein intolerance should still avoid it, notes Dr. Axe. Start with a small amount to see if you can take advantage of ghee’s benefits.

Related: The Top 9 Butter Substitutes (Including Healthier Options)

Is ghee good for weight loss?

Whether you’re following a keto diet and need to ramp up your fat intake or you’re just looking for a delicious new way to slim down, ghee can help. Ghee is good for weight loss thanks to its rich stores of fatty and amino acids. Not only do they help you burn more fat, but they effortless tame appetite and help you build more fat-burning muscle, as well. Keep reading to learn what makes ghee good for weight loss.

1. Ghee increases fat burning

Ghee contains a variety of slimming fatty acids and amino acids. Notably, “ghee’s medium-chain fatty acids can boost fat burning and help ramp up weight loss,” says Dr. Axe. These fatty acids aid in weight loss, trim inches off the waist and burn belly fat. One explanation: Satiating medium-chain fatty acids effortlessly help people reduce their calorie intake.

Additionally, ghee is rich in short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) called butyric acid or butyrate. These fats are key for improving the composition of gut bacteria and helping regulate the breakdown of existing body fat. Indeed, animal studies show increased intake of SCFAs can notably increase weight-loss outcomes.

Related: Olive Oil Coffee: The Delicious New Trend Nutrition Pros Say Is Actually Good for You

2. Ghee balances blood sugar

Uncontrolled blood sugar and insulin resistance are a major cause for weight gain, especially among women as we age. But ghee can help. First, its lack of carbs means that you won’t experience the dramatic rise and fall in blood sugar you may experience after eating a piece of bread or a bowl of pasta. Not only do these swings drain your energy, they can also lead to the development of type 2 diabetes if left ignored. (Click through for more ways to balance your blood sugar and lose weight.)

What’s more, ghee’s butyrate may get your blood sugar in check. Animal research in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition revealed that butyrate works similarly to the diabetes drug metformin in enhancing insulin sensitivity. That’s because butyrate protects insulin-secreting beta cells in the pancreas so they’re better able to sense how much insulin to release.

3. Ghee reduces hunger

Fatty acids aren’t just important for burning fat. They’re also incredibly satiating, which can help you effortlessly eat fewer calories. Indeed, medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), SCFAs and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) all found in ghee can reduce hunger. “Fats also take some time to digest, leaving you feeling full longer,” explains Dr. Axe. In fact, the effect is so powerful, one study found that putting ghee in a cup of coffee increased feelings of fullness three hours after drinking.

Ghee also contains cysteine, an amino acid that Dr. Axe notes may help reduce appetite. According to research in the International Journal of Obesity, the amino acid works by cutting levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin in half. Study subjects reported feeling less hungry for two hours after a dose of the amino acid.

4. Ghee enhances muscle building

One more win for fatty acids: Ghee is rich in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which is proven to increase fat burning and improve muscle strength. One 2004 study revealed that supplementing with CLA for one year decreased BMI notably more than in subjects who supplemented their diet with olive oil.

And while slimming down is great, as we age, our risk of losing muscle instead of fat rises. The good news: CLA is proven to improving muscles uptake and use of nutrients key for synthesizing muscle. That’s key because “more muscle will increase your metabolic rate, so you burn calories at a faster rate,” explains Dr. Axe. (Click through to learn how a high-protein breakfast boosts muscle.)

How much ghee to eat for weight loss

Ghee is incredibly calorie dense, with about 130 calories per tablespoon. To that end, Dr. Axe recommends limiting it to 2 to 5 teaspoons daily to avoid adding extra calories to your diet.

There are a variety of ways you can incorporate ghee into your diet. “It’s a great fat for Indian dishes and for roasting and sauteing meats, fish and veggies because of its high smoke point,” says Dr. Axe. You can also try adding a bit to your morning cup of coffee to create a version of Bulletproof Coffee. (Click through to learn more about Bulletproof Coffee and MCT oil for weight loss.) Wherever you use butter, you can replace it with ghee! Yes, even in baked goods – though it may create a crispier texture.

How to make ghee at home

With its popularly growing, it’s much easier to find ready-made ghee at supermarkets. Consider Bulletproof Grass-Fed Ghee (Buy on Amazon, $20.66 for 13.5 oz) or Ancient Organics Ghee (Buy on Amazon, $24.46 for 16 oz.). But while it may be simple to get your hands on a jar of ghee, you can also make it at home for a fraction of the price.

It’s best to use grass-fed butter, as it contains higher levels of the healthful fatty acids that will help you lose weight. All you need is a cheesecloth or liquid strainer and a pot. You can use salted or unsalted butter to your preference, and follow these instructions:

  1. Cut solid butter into chunks and place in a large saucepan.
  2. Heat pan over medium-low. 
  3. The butter will start to melt and you will see it separating in the pan, with milk solids falling to the bottom and milk proteins floating to the top.
  4. Using a spoon, skim milk proteins from the top and discard.
  5. Simmer the butter a bit longer, until you notice the solids at the bottom turning slightly brown. This will give your ghee a slightly nutty flavor. However, make sure it’s only slightly browned, not burned!
  6. Once your ghee is done, strain it using the cheesecloth over a heatproof container and store. You can store ghee in the refrigerator and use for up to a year, or store at room temperature for up to three months.

For more on how butter can help you lose weight:

Nutritionist: Adding *This* Butter Back Into Your Diet Can Break Through a Weight Loss Plateau So You Lose Faster Than Ever

For more on cooking with clarified butter:

What Is Clarified Butter Used For? It’s Better Than Butter or Oil For Roasting or Searing

This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.

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