LifeFoodFood For Thought: Ghee Vs Oil

Food For Thought: Ghee Vs Oil

Ghee is made up out of butter by separating the milk solids from milk and has been used as a flavour enhancer, for weight gain therapies and immunity boosters in our diet. On the other hand, oil is used for flavour, cooking and in some cases for maintaining our health too. Have you ever wondered which one among these two might be beneficial for incorporation in our daily diets or cooking? You can look through the article to know more about different types of oils and ghee.

Nutritional Facts: Per 1 Tbsp Of Oil

OilsCalories (kcals)Saturated Fats (SFA) (gms)Mono- unsaturated Fat (MUFA)(gms)Poly- unsaturated Fats (PUFA) (gms)Omega-3 fatty acids (mgs)Omega- 6 fatty acids (mgs)
Sunflower oil1152761284770
Safflower oil115121110080
Groundnut oil1152754330
Palm oil115762251222
Coconut oil1161210.4248
Soya oil1182389386928
Rice-Bran oil1183562194512
OilsCalories (kcals)Saturated Fats (SFA) (gms)Mono- unsaturated Fat (MUFA)(gms)Poly- unsaturated Fats (PUFA) (gms)Omega-3 fatty acids (mgs)Omega- 6 fatty acids (mgs)
Canola oil1281958173220
Sesame oil118266425579
Mustard oil1282948292148
Olive oil11821021051320

The above mentioned oils are commonly used in India. From the above table you can see that safflower oil is rich in polyunsaturated fats and omega 6 fatty acids whereas Coconut and palm oil contain good amounts of saturated fats. On the other hand, Olive oil followed by mustard and canola oil respectively are good sources of monounsaturated fats. Soya oil followed by mustard oil is a good source of omega 3. Want to know why Mom kept insisting on ghee benefits for hair? We’ve put together a list for you.

What Can You Conclude From This?

Oils that are rich in SFA tend to increase HDL levels but are not a healthier option as oils rich in SFA increase LDL levels significantly too. On the other hand though PUFA can reduce your LDL levels, they can also reduce HDL levels (good cholesterol) levels too. Oils rich in omega 3 can help reduce inflammation associated with inflammatory disorders like Diabetes, Blood pressure and Obesity.

So you have to choose oil that has low to moderate levels of SFA and PUFA but high levels of MUFA. The oil should also have moderate levels of Omega 3 as well.

So Which Oils Can You Opt For?

Olive oil, mustard oil and canola oil are good sources of MUFA as well as omega 3 fatty acids. By the way if your oil is rich in SFA or PUFA, you don’t need to necessarily eliminate them. Just remember to use them in moderation.

Nutritional Facts: Per 1 Tbsp Of Ghee

 Calories (kcals)Saturated Fats (SFA) (gms)Monounsaturated Fat (MUFA)(gms)Polyunsaturated Fats (PUFA) (gms)Omega 3 fatty acids (mgs)Omega 6 fatty acids (mgs)

Now that you know the nutritional values of different oils and ghee, you can compare the nutritional values of ghee and oil. From the above table, you can see that ghee has good amounts of saturated fats and less amount of polyunsaturated fats compared to oils. This doesn’t mean that ghee is not beneficial and it should be eliminated from your diet. It simply means that you should never substitute oils with ghee in your diet. Ghee has definitely some benefits that the above oils cannot provide us with and vice versa. 

Benefits Of Ghee

There are various health benefits of ghee. Read on to know more.

1. Eases Digestion And Helps In Growth Of Good Microbiota

Ghee contains medium chain triglycerides (MCT) which is easier to digest as our body is able to break it down quickly. Some of the oils mentioned above are good sources of Long Chain Triglycerides (LCT) and it’s difficult to digest LCTs as they take longer time to break down completely. MCTs also do not require bile for transport to the liver in contrast to LCTs. MCTs can be beneficial for people suffering from gastric issues and even for patients suffering from epilepsy or autism. Ghee is also a good source of butyric acid which helps in the growth of beneficial microbiota in your stomach. This Indian superfood is known to have plenty of skin benefits. Some key ghee benefits for skin include extreme hydration, moisturization, healing chapped lips and scaly skin, and more.

2. Contains Conjugated Linoleic Acids (CLA)

Conjugated Linoleic Acids is naturally found in animal/dairy products. It is useful for weight loss, muscle generation and maintenance of a healthy heart. CLA also has anti-diabetic and anti-carcinogenic properties. CLA enriched ghee can also have antioxidant properties and thus help in warding off free radicals.

3. Beneficial For Pregnant Women

Ghee contains healthy fats that can be beneficial for both the mother and the baby. Omega-3 and Omega-6 content in ghee is good for the nervous system and cognition of the baby. It also helps in providing extra calories for the mother, required during pregnancy.

4. Good For Immune System

Butyric acid and antioxidants in ghee helps in strengthening the immune system and warding off opportunistic infections. Ghee is also beneficial against Cancer, thyroid dysfunction and menstrual disorders like Premenstrual syndrome.

5. Stays Fresh For A Longer Time

Ghee has a higher smoke point of about 252 degree Celsius even higher than butter. This means it can stay fresh for a longer time and doesn’t get burnt easily while cooking.

Now that you know the benefits of ghee, you should look into the benefits of some oils too.

Benefits Of Oils

Different oils have different benefits. Hence you should keep changing your oils for getting wide-spread benefits. Read on to know some benefits of different oils.

1. Sesame Oils Contains Good Amounts Of MUFA

Monounsaturated fats help in raising HDL levels and hence sesame oil is a good option. Sesame oil also has a high smoke point, so you don’t need to worry about it getting burnt during cooking.

2. Coconut Oil Is A Good Source Of MCTs And Is Good For Your Hair Too

Coconut oil aids in digestion as it is a good source of MCTs. It also nurtures your scalp and lessens hair breakage providing you with luscious hair. It also has antimicrobial properties and is beneficial against skin infections. It has a high smoke point and can be used for frying too.

3. Mustard And Olive Oil Is Heart Friendly And Has Anti-inflammatory Properties

Olive oil and mustard oil can help in reducing the risk of heart disease. It also is a great source of antioxidants and contains good amounts of MUFA. Mustard oil is also beneficial for hair and skin.

4. Rice-bran Oil Has Anti-diabetic, Anti-inflammatory And Anti-cancer Properties

Along with the above listed benefits, rice bran oil also helps in reducing the risk of heart diseases. It also has a balanced proportion of fats and can also reduce cholesterol levels. Owing to its high smoke point, it can be used for high temperature cooking.

5 Nutritious Recipes

Here are some nutritious recipes to incorporate healthy oil/ghee  in your diet.

1. Besan Ki Barfi

These besan barfis can leave you licking your fingertips and wanting more!

Cooking time: 20-25 mins

Nutritional values (1 serving approx)

Energy: 280 kcals

Carbohydrates: 30 gms

Protein: 6 gms

Fat: 18 gms


  • 1 ½ cup besan 
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 5 tbsps rava
  • Sugar to taste
  • 2 tbsps almonds


  1. Take a pan and heat ghee in it. Now add besan and rava to it. Stir constantly for 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add sugar to the mixture and mix well for 5 minutes. Also add almonds to it.
  3. Meanwhile grease a baking tray with oil and pour the mixture into the tray. Keep it away for cooling.
  4. Cut evenly using a knife after the mixture cools.

2. Veggie Salad

This salad is easy to prepare; to top it off it’s also healthy. It can be included in the diet as a part of weight management.

Cooking time: 10-15 minutes

Nutritional values (1 serving approx)

Energy: 65 kcals

Carbohydrates: 13 gms

Protein: 2 gms

Fat: 3 gms


  • ¼ cup of chopped cucumber
  • ¼ cup of chopped onions
  • ¼ cup of chopped tomatoes
  • ¼ cup of chopped carrots
  • Salt as required
  • 2 tsps of olive oil
  • 2 tsps sesame seeds
  • 1-2 tsps lemon juice


  1. Wash all the vegetables thoroughly. After washing, chop them properly.
  2. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Serve with biryani or have it as a mid-morning meal.

3. Gajar Ka Halwa

This is a healthy as well as a delightful recipe which you can serve to your kids who might absolutely hate consuming vegetables.

Cooking time: 20-30 minutes

Nutritional values (2 servings approx)

Energy: 55 kcals

Carbohydrates: 12 gms

Protein: 3 gms

Fat: 3 gms


  • 2 ½ cup of carrots (grated)
  • 2 tsps ghee
  • 1 ½ cup of milk
  • 1 tsp cardamom powder
  • Sugar as per taste


  1. Grate the carrots properly. Meanwhile heat ghee in a cooker.
  2. Add the grated carrots and saute well for a few minutes.
  3. Add milk to the cooker along with cardamom powder, sugar and mix well. Pressure cook for 2-3 whistles.
  4. Serve hot.

4. Spinach Corn Sabzi

This tasty sabzi can be consumed with hot chapati or steamed rice.

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Nutritional values (1 serving approx)

Energy: 155 kcals

Carbohydrates: 10 gms

Protein: 3 gms

Fat: 14 gms


  • ½ cup chopped spinach
  • ½ cup boiled sweet corn kernels
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 1 tsp jeera
  • 1-2 tsps ginger garlic paste
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp cream
  • ¼ cup water
  • Salt to taste


  1. In a pan, heat ghee. Add jeera to it and let it crackle.
  2. Add ginger garlic paste, chilli powder along with spinach, corn kernels, cream and ¼ cup water. Now cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Serve hot with roti/ rice.

5. Red Rice Poha

Flavour is packed with nutrition in this delicious recipe.

Cooking time: 20-25 minutes

Nutritional values (1 serving approx)

Energy: 136 kcals

Carbohydrates: 10 gms

Protein: 2 gms

Fat: 8 gms


  • 1 cup red rice poha
  • 1 ½ tbsp peanuts
  • 1 small onion (chopped finely)
  • 1 small tomato (chopped finely)
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Rice bran oil for cooking

For Garnishing:

  • 1 tbsp coriander (chopped finely)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice


  1. Wash the poha thoroughly and keep it aside.
  2. Roast peanuts and keep it aside.
  3. Heat oil in a pan. Add onions and tomatoes to it. Saute for a few minutes.
  4. Now add salt, turmeric powder, peanuts and poha. Saute well. 
  5. Cook for a few minutes and switch off the flame.
  6. Garnish with coriander leaves and lemon juice.

Key Takeaways

  1. Do not replace ghee with oils. Use both of them in your diet.
  2. Consume both ghee and oils in moderation.
  3. Processed oils lack nutrients and can even quickly become rancid. Hence try and use virgin oils for cooking though they have a lower smoke point compared to processed oils.
  4. In case of deep frying, for foods that require batter (bhajias coated with besan or bread crumbs, do not use oil more than 3-4times.
  5. If you want to reuse oil, skim off any debris left in it (pieces of bhajias, papad) before using it. You can also use a mesh strainer to filter the oil.
  6. Excess reusage of oils leads to development of trans fats that are carcinogenic.

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