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Ghee for a Ketogenic Diet

Ghee is a natural wonder. It can be used in place of oil and butter both. It is 99% fat and can be used to maintain your diet. Wait, what? How can a food be made of such high amounts of fat and still be used while following a diet?

The fat that Ghee is mostly made up of, is Saturated Fat. It also contains other fats like Trans and Unsaturated Fats. Out of these two, unsaturated fats are the best of three types of fats. Unsaturated fats are further branched out into MUFA and PUFA (Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated Fats). Although Saturated fats can slightly raise your cholesterol levels, they are not as bad as Trans fats. Trans fats are present in ghee in extremely low levels and do not contribute to any side-effects.

What is a Keto or Ketogenic diet?

It is a diet form that involves consumption of more high-fat foods with a very minimal presence of carbohydrate based foods – in short, a low-carb, high-fat diet. This type of diet has been proven to improve health through lowering of weight.

Critical and life-long conditions like Diabetes, Epilepsy, Cancer and Alzheimer’s disease are also attacked while maintaining a Ketogenic diet.

How does it work?

Since it is a low-carb diet, the reduction of carbohydrate levels in one’s body makes the body pass into a state of ketosis.

‘Explained crudely, Ketosis is a metabolic state in which some of the body’s energy supply comes from fatty acids, in contrast to the same energy being provided through the glucose of carbohydrates.’

Once this state is reached, the body becomes efficient and focused at extracting energy by burning fat for energy. Ketones (water soluble molecules produced by the liver through fatty acids) are formed, which greatly reduce insulin and blood sugar levels.

What is the role of Ghee in all this?

At first, let’s look at Ghee’s general composition – 100 grams of grass-fed cow ghee contains around 64 grams of Saturated fats, 29 grams of Monounsaturated Fatty Acids (MUFA) and 3 grams of Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFA).

Saturated Fats and MUFAs are related to MCTs or Medium Chain Triglycerides. Short to Medium Chain Triglycerides are easily digestible. This makes them an easier source of ketones for the body, thus taking you into a state of ketosis much faster than other sources like butter.

MCTs empower cells at the mitochondrial level, thus enabling them to be more strengthened against diseases like Alzheimer’s, atherosclerosis, epilepsy, and auto-immune diseases. Although yet to be proven, there is potential that Cancer too can be warded off upon maintenance of a Ketogenic diet. This is explained by the lack of glucose in the body for cancerous cells to feed upon. Thus, theoretically, if one simply replaces sugars and carbs with healthy fats, cancer could get starved.

Specific Keto friendly features of Ghee

Being Lactose Friendly

A Keto diet should be friendly to your digestive system. It should not exaggerate or trigger any existing issues. For example, if at all you are sourcing fats for your Keto Diet, you could rather do it the safest and least complex way possible. Desi cow Ghee, during its preparation, loses the milk solids. This deems Ghee to be lactose friendly. In turn, this makes it easy for you to consume fats without worrying about your digestion getting sabotaged – in case you are lactose intolerant.

Contains Butyrate, Vitamins and CLA

Butyrate is considered to be one of the most ketogenic of fatty acids and contributes to a healthy metabolism and ciliated (Cilia- hair-like structures) gut-linings.

Apart from this, Ghee will load you with Vitamins A, E, K2 and poly-unsaturated fatty acid called CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid).

Higher Levels of HDL

HDLs or High Density Lipoproteins combat cholesterol levels by simply extracting them out of the blood stream and preventing them from building up in arteries. Saturated Fats that are present in Ghee raise levels of such HDLs. Thus, while following a keto diet, one should focus on sourcing the right kind of fat that has benefits coming from all directions.

Cooking for your Keto Diet using Ghee

Ghee has a high smoke point, which makes it a better and healthier option as compared to oils or butter. High Smoke Point refers to the point at which heat causes the oil to burn and damage its inherent healthy properties. Hence, with ghee, you have the freedom to bake or stir-fry your favourite keto meals without any worry.

Lower levels of Acrylamides

During the preparation of starchy foods in oils, a toxic element called Acrylamide is formed due to the high temperature treatment. Ghee has shown to produce 10 times less of this substance as compared to food prepared using oils like soybean.

Types of Ketogenic Diets

If you decide to go for a Ketogenic diet, it would be wise to know about a few types of Keto diets. There are 4 different types of widely known Keto diets-

  • Standard Keto Diet (SKD)
    A Keto diet with a moderate amount of protein added along with the general system of high fat and low carbs. The break-up among the three here is 15:4:1 (Fat:Protein:Carbs).
  • Cyclical Keto Diet (CKD)
    As the term cyclical means, this type of Keto diet dictates days of normal Keto patterns followed by comparatively lesser days of higher carb feeds.

  • Targeted Keto Diet (TKD)
    This is a customised setting which is based on how you plan your workouts.

  • High-Protein Keto Diet
    Similar to an SKD, this one has a focus on Protein intake with the break-up changing to 12:7:1 (Fat:Protein:Carbs).

While SKDs and High-protein Keto Diets are followed extensively across the health conscious, the other two methods, CKD and TKD, are used in an experimental manner by health enthusiasts like athletes or bodybuilders.

A Keto diet is a scientific and systematic action taken towards your health. Hence, go for it only if you really need it. A Keto diet is not for everyone. Diabetic or overweight people would be the appropriate group for it. However, if you are looking to gain mass or are simply an athlete, then a Keto diet could work against your favour.
At the end of the day, be it a diet or not, Ghee will always work in your favour because of its numerous inherent benefits. So start including it in your daily meals and try using it in place of oil or butter in general. However, know that every good habit shows returns over a period of time and so consuming Ghee will not simply exhibit benefits overnight. Go on and start living the superfood life!

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