“Will ghee make me fat?”
Some circles in Western cultures consider fats and oils “fattening” since they contain nearly twice as many calories per gram as proteins and carbohydrates. Although science does not support this theory, many still believe that saturated fats like butter, ghee and other animal fats cause or increase the risk of heart disease. This NIH article points out that the role saturated fats play in causing heart disease has been greatly exaggerated.
To properly answer the question, “will ghee make me fat?”, let’s look to Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of healing for the answer.
According to Ayurveda, food is medicine and ghee is at the top of the list of healing foods. Ayurveda considers ghee as sacred, traditionally prepared according to specific Vedic guidelines based on the cycles of the moon. Ghee is sweet, cooling, light and nourishing. It carries the healing properties of herbs and medicines deep into the body’s tissues. It is Sattvic in nature, meaning it promotes peace, contentment and purity of body and mind, and it kindles the digestive fire called Agni, supporting better absorption, assimilation and elimination.
Ayurveda identifies three primary constitution types known as doshas. They are Vata which governs movement, Pitta which governs heat and temperature, and Kapha which governs structure. Good health is a result of balance between the three doshas. Ghee, when taken in proper amounts, balances all three doshas, in particular Vata and Pitta.
Medicinally, many use ghee to calm excess Vata which is often dry and contracted. It is also used to soothe and cool the excess heat of Pitta. However, if your dosha or constitution is purely or primarily Kapha, ghee should be taken in strict moderation. By nature, Kapha tends to be heavy, so according to Ayurveda ghee can increase weight if Kapha is imbalanced. Small amounts, such as ½ teaspoon should be okay. However, it’s a good idea to consult with an Ayurvedic practitioner. They will be able to guide you in knowing how much ghee might be right for you.
Whether or not ghee increases weight could depend on the type of weight loss diet you might be following. Ghee is a favorite among low carbohydrate and ketogenic dieters who strive for a much higher fat content than diets that include starchy vegetables and grains. If on the other hand your weight loss diet is plant-based, vegetarian, vegan or low-fat and includes starchy vegetables and whole grains, ghee may need to be limited in order to achieve your weight loss goals.