Inconsequential as a ban on ghee usage might sound, the implications are many, from the areas of authoritarianism and impinging on personal freedom to public health. Regardless of which side of the fence one falls, the Punjab Food Authority (PFA) ban on the sale and manufacture of clarified butter is a potential game changer in the food world and could be pivotal in the overall fitness of Punjab.
On the one hand, the detriments of ghee consumption are widespread; its high fat content is a gateway to many ailments associated with obesity and even just being overweight, including heart disease and diabetes. Even though modern science might have outlined some minimal benefits, the harmful facts about a high ghee diet outweigh the benefits, with other food sources providing the same healthful nutrition without the high fat content.
Therefore, the PFA’s decision could be monumental in forever altering the diet of the people of Punjab and their overall fitness, making for an interesting longitudinal case study for nutritionists in terms of what ailments are alleviated and what new health issues arise with the absence of dietary ghee in coming years.
Conversely, at the other end of the spectrum, is the question of whether the agency can outright ban an item that many people prefer and swear by. Is it just to ban the product, as opposed to requiring health label warnings, much like on cigarette packets? It also cannot be ruled out that there might be a political foul play here.
On that note, why not ban other products that nutritionists consider ‘garbage food’ such as high-sodium chips and high-sugar junk foods and soda? It is reassuring to see the PFA dutifully investigating the healthfulness of foods. It will be intriguing to see how much ghee usage can actually be phased out by 2020.
What Is Ghee? This Superfood Will Take Your Home Cooking Game To The Next Level
Much to the surprise of anybody who came of age in the 1990s, where butter of any kind was seen as antithetical to a healthy diet, ghee — the clarified butter product that’s been a staple of Indian cooking for centuries — is having a moment. Increasingly, science has been demonstrating that various forms of fats, like ghee, seem to have a complex effect on human health, combining challenges with potential advantages. Moreover, professional chefs and home cooks alike are looking for alternative ingredients that both taste great and aren’t totally awful for you — and that’s where ghee comes in.
It’s always important to qualify food trends. Anything that claims to be the next “superfood” should probably learn from the first modern over-hyped health food, spinach. It was thought to be amazingly good for you thanks to high vitamin A and iron content, but while the vitamin A element is true, the iron content was the product of mistaken science in the 1870s. That being said, it’s not like spinach is bad for you. Ghee, similarly to butter, got a bad rep after some findings in the ’80s and ’90s, but as people expand their palates (and science has changed its tune), they are looking for the next big thing. So what is ghee, and should you be cooking everything in it?
What Is Ghee?
Ghee itself is the product of heating cream or butter, skimming off the milk solids that collect on the top, and then storing the result. The result is a clear product with a high smoking point and a delicate, nutty flavor. Debbie Shandel, Chief Growth Officer of the organic natural foods company Carrington Farms, tells Bustle, “We source our organic butter from organic farms, gently heat it, and then skim off the milk proteins, including the lactose and casein. After filtering several times, the process results in an organic, creamy, buttery product that has many uses.”
Anybody who grew up in an Indian household will be familiar with ghee, whether made from buffalo milk or cow milk, but ghee is making waves across the cooking world, too. It’s easy to make on your own and has no milk or water solids, so some people who are lactose-intolerant feel it’s a good alternative for butter for them. It’s been part of the ancient medical system Ayurveda for thousands of years, stretching back to at least 800 BC; Ayurvedic medicine claims that ghee is good for everything from sleep quality to semen health, joint suppleness, intelligence, memory and wrinkles. Even in India, however, it experienced a drop in reputation from the 1980s onwards thanks to its high saturated fat content, and is only now coming back into vogue on the back of the “superfood” trend.
Ghee Is Healthy — Basically
A lactose-free butter alternative seems, on paper, like a really good idea. “There are many benefits of cooking with ghee,” Shandel tells Bustle. “The first is that it is great for people who have dairy sensitivities, as it is casein and lactose-free. In addition, ghee is gluten-free and high in butyric acid, a short-chain fatty acid used in the body as an energy source and anti-inflammatory.” She adds, “Our Milkio ghee is rich in essential fatty acids and Vitamins A, D and E.” Vitamin A is particularly helpful for people with irritable bowel syndrome.
But is a diet involving ghee good for the body in general? Scientists have been looking at the effects of ghee on human diet and nutrition, and the results are intriguing. A 2010 review of ghee science in the International Quarterly Journal of Research In Ayurveda by scientists from Ohio State noted that animal studies of ghee have found a series of possible benefits, including decreases in cholesterol, low density lipoproteins and triglycerides (which are associated with cardiovascular disease), and a potential link between ghee and lower coronary heart disease risk.
One study in 2016 found that ghee was better for cooking than sunflower oil when looking at antioxidants and liver protection, while another in 2013 found that it helped to protect against the development of fatty deposits in arteries. Multiple studies in 2015 found that ghee, particularly low-cholesterol ghee, seemed to improve general cholesterol levels. It’s worth noting that virtually all of these studies were done on rats, not humans. But the qualities of ghee have attracted medical attention for other reasons; it was suggested in early 2017 that ghee might be a good way to administer chemotherapy, as it may help the chemo get into the body more efficiently.
But isn’t ghee a saturated fat with clear issues for heart health? A study published in 2016 in the Journal of Clinical & Diagnostic Research set out to look at this belief. It looked at the heart health of 137 people across India and checked their consumption of ghee and mustard oil, and found that the results “do not support a conclusion of harmful effects of the moderate consumption of ghee in the general population, although it contains high level of saturated fat.” Two studies on Indian volunteers, one in 2002 and another in 2005, suggest that if it makes up less than 10 percent of the diet, it has pretty negligible effects on cholesterol levels. Some people reacted differently, and the subjects were all vegetarians, young, and healthy.
Evidence appears to suggest that if you want some form of saturated fat in your diet, ghee is the best option for you. High levels will still hurt your heart, though, so keep it to a minimum, and you’ll hopefully enjoy its deliciousness without encountering health difficulties.
5 reasons you should definitely have ghee this winter
This Indian superfood has stood the test of time, and is actually quite healthy.
Sounds unbelievable, doesn’t it? Our mothers and grandmothers have been pushing us to have thoda ghee since we were kids. We didn’t, because we were told that all fats are high in cholesterol, and can lead to a bunch of health issues. But actually, ghee can do us bucket loads of good!
If you’ve come across conversations with Kareena Kapoor Khan, and her renowned nutritionist friend, Rujuta Diwekar, you’ll already know that it’s true–ghee is actually really good for us. When we first came across Diwekar’s arguments, we were as surprised as you are. Over the last decade or so, nutritionists and dieticians have been telling us to cut off the fat from our lives, whether it’s oil, ghee, or lard.
So how the hell can ghee actually be good for us?
Because granny said so
Ghee is one of the dairy products that have been made and consumed in India since time immemorial. Let’s just say that generations of people in this subcontinent have grown up on ghee. We have it raw, with rice, on our dal or rotis, and even in our curries–and we’ve been doing this for centuries. So our physique is used to and built with ghee, from birth to death. And if our systems are naturally used to ghee, how can it be bad for us? Simple logic dictates that daadi ke nuskhe rarely go wrong. So how can it be wrong where ghee is concerned?
Nectar of life
According to ayurveda, the panchamrit as or five nectars of life are honey, sugar, milk, yogurt, and (guess what?) ghee! These ingredients aren’t just used because they’re ritually associated with the divine or the sacred. They actually have individual connotations, according to their specific characteristics. Ghee, for example, represents knowledge and victory. It’s obvious then, isn’t it? Having ghee actually makes you smarter, because it almost works like a brain tonic!
The superfood that burns fat
Contrary to popular believe, ghee is not an ordinary fat. It’s actually a part of the small group of top-performing fats in the world, and has short chain fatty acids. As Rujuta Diwekar explains, these fats actually help break down body fat, and increase the count of healthy bacteria in the gut and stomach. So instead of making you obese, ghee actually helps shed fat and lose weight naturally! Don’t believe us? Just check out this Instagram post by actress Huma Qureshi:
If you’ve been wondering how to fight off diseases related to your blood sugar levels, like diabetes, PCOD and obesity, here’s how. You need to have food with low glycemic index, and the best way to do that is to add ghee. Adding ghee to food reduces its glycemic index, which in turn helps regulate your blood sugar levels. So instead of leading to these diseases, ghee is a fat that helps our bodies build up the immunity to fight it.
It’s simply yummy
Finally, let’s just come down to the very basic reason to have ghee–it’s superbly delicious. Adding ghee to your food enhances its flavour like nothing else can. And it doesn’t even matter if the thing you’re cooking up is sweet, savoury or spicy. Ghee goes with everything. The heat generated from having food with ghee on top, in it, or even fried in it, will help you stay warm this winter, and every winter to come.
So let go of the guilt associated with ghee. It’s not a villain you need to avoid, but actually a blessing you must include in your daily life. Trust us, your body and palate will both thank you for having a little bit of ghee.
KABUL (Pajhwok): Prices of ghee and sugar have dipped while rates of other items remain unchanged during the outgoing week in the capital Kabul, market sources said Saturday.
Food Traders Union head, Fazal Rahman told Pajhwok Afghan News the price of 49 kilograms of Pakistani sugar was decreased from 1,900 Afghanis to 1,820 Afghanis and 16 liters of Khurshid ghee from 1,120afs to 1,100afs.
However, he said that 24kg of Pakistani rice cost 1,850afs and 50kg of Kazakhstani flour 1,160afs, the same rates of last week’s.
Noor Ahmad Khairkhwa, a tea seller in Kabul Mandavi, said a kilogram of Indonesian green tea cost 280afs and the same amount of African black tea 300afs — same as last week’s.
Ahmad Wali Panjsheri, who owns a grocery shop in Dahn-i-Bagh area, sold a 50-kg bag of Kazakhstani flour for 1,220afs and a 49-kg sack of Pakistani sugar for 1,980afs.
He sold a 16-litre tin of Khurshid ghee for 1,200afs, a 24-kg sack of Pakistani rice for 2,100afs, a kilogram of Indonesian green tea for 300afs and the same quantity of African black tea for 350afs, higher than wholesale rates.
Abdul Hadi, a worker at the Wazirabad Fuel Station, told Pajhwok Afghan News that each liter of diesel and petrol cost price of one liter of diesel cost 46afs, the same rate of last week’s.
The price of liquefied gas also remains stable as one kilogram of the commodity cost 60afs according to Sharif Ahmad, a gas seller in Kolola Pushta area of Kabul.
Haji Fawad Ahmad Salehzada, a jeweler in Timr Shahi area of Kabul, said the one gram of Arabian gold cost 2,350afs and the same quantity of Russian gold 1,850afs.
According to Sara-I-Shahzada money changers, one US dollar accounted for 68.30 Afghanis and 1,000 Pakistani rupees 640 Afghanis this week against last week’s rates of 68.45afs and 640 afs respectively.