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Ask Tufts Experts September 2007 Issue

Q: I enjoy Indian food very much and it appears very healthy, with many vegetables that are tasty and interesting. But most Indian recipes are made with clarified butter or “ghee.” I imagine this is not very beneficial from the point of view of fat and atherosclerosis, but I may be wrong. Could you explain and give your opinion?

Answer :  Ghee—“clarified” butter, with the milk solids removed—is made by heating unsalted butter to separate the milk solids from the pure butterfat. Although practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine in India claim that ghee has special health properties, some experts argue that the prevalence of ghee in Indian cuisine is actually a contributor to the high rates of heart disease in that country. In any case, Alice H. Lichtenstein, DSc, director of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory at…

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