Ghee gaining recognition now

Ghee with glee

Neha Bhayana | TNN | May 1, 2016, 12.00 AM IST

Not only have sales of Indian ghee brands like Patanjali, Amul and Gowardhan gone up, American supermarkets have started stocking it too. Trader Joe’s offers ghee made by a New Jersey family and promotes it as ‘liquid gold’. (Photo credit: Corbis)

Not only have sales of Indian ghee brands like Patanjali, Amul and Gowardhan gone up, American supermarkets ha... Read More

For decades, the jar of ghee on our kitchen shelves came with a huge dollop of guilt. Now, it's making a comeback as a superfood

At her baby shower next week, south Mumbai resident Sadhna Desai will be handing out trendy gift hampers. But instead of the usual cake-and-cookies combo or a wine and cheese selection, her guests will get glass jars filled with desi cow ghee and a bottle of ghee-based chyawanprash. A little note tucked inside will explain the wholesome goodness of this traditional superfood.

Clarified butter remained India's culinary star for centuries till it was sidelined in the 1980s by vegetable oils because of its high saturated fat. The new oils were aggressively marketed as superior and heart-healthy. Of late, research has shown that saturated fats have no link to obesity, heart disease or early death. In January 2015, the US dietary guidelines declared for the first time that total dietary fat and cholesterol intake are not a concern for healthy people. Now, on the back of some recent studies which maintain that it reduces fat and lower cholesterol, ghee too is making a big comeback in India. It is also making a splash abroad in alternative health circuits.

Stout jars and tin cans of ghee now stand tall alongside the sleek bottles of olive oil at Indian specialty food stores like Modern Bazaar and Nature's Basket. American supermarkets like Sprouts, Whole Foods and Trader Joe's have also started stocking multiple types of 'Indian ghee'. The latter offers ghee made by a family in New Jersey and promotes it as "liquid gold".

The sales of top Indian ghee brands like Amul and Gowardhan have risen by nearly 30% over the last year. Baba Ramdev's Patanjali Ayurved has reported a Rs 1,000-crore turnover from its cow ghee which sells at Rs 450 per kg. Industry experts say the ghee has never been so much in demand. "Our bodies need some fats to function and ghee is the best of the lot," says macrobiotic nutritionist Shonali Sabherwal, who suggests one or two teaspoons of ghee on dal or rice for maximum benefits (instead of using it traditionally as a cooking medium).

Ahimsak, anyone?

The emphasis now is on ghee made from cow's milk. Niche brands are selling organic ghee (from milk of cows that are fed organic fodder) and 'desi cow ghee' made from the milk of hunch-backed Indian cow breeds. Commercial ghee makers, on the other hand, use milk from buffaloes or hybrid/foreign breed cows.

Lucknow-based Organic India, which makes ghee from the milk of "stress-free" cows, sells around 9,000 to 10,000 bottles a month. "When we launched the ghee four years back we were barely selling 1,000 jars a month," says chief marketing officer Saurabh Tiwari. The Holy Cow Foundation, a Delhi-based non-profit organization, sells more than 100 jars a month at pop-up kiosks in popular malls like Select Citywalk.

Though these niche ghee brands sell at Rs 1,200 to Rs 2,000 per kg — some are even priced at Rs 6,000 per kg — there is no dearth of takers. "I like the fact that no cow has been tortured or a calf starved for the ghee I use," says Manisha Gupta who uses different varieties for different foods — Holy Cow to pour raw and the less expensive Pathmeda cream ghee for tadkas.

The owner of Modern Bazaar, Kunal Kumar, points out that people are now buying ghee for gifting too. "Last Diwali, many people asked us to include organic ghee in gift hampers along with exotic health foods like green olives and soy milk," he says. He sells around 6,300 bottles of ghee at his seven Delhi stores every month. Modern Bazaar recently added a new 'artisan ghee'. This ghee is made from unpasteurised milk — so nutrients are not lost — of cows at a Hisar farm.

Videshis go for desi:

Non-resident Indians and foreign nationals too are ordering pure cow ghee from India these days. "We ship at least two international orders every week," says Nishant Khadria who set up the Mumbai-based Vedic Cow Products two years ago. While most of Khadria's clients are NRIs from the US, Australia and the Middle East, some are foreigners with no India connection.

Sangeeta Rege, a San Francisco-based singer who orders 3.5 kg of ghee from Khadria every month, claims that ghee has helped her slim down. "I lost 35 pounds in six months and brought my blood sugar level in control by simply adding ghee to my diet and going for walks," says the 51-year-old who is using it to bake cakes. The Bay Area resident says some of her NRI and Americans friends spread ghee on their toast, pour it on grilled chicken and make their pasta sauce with it. Given the high shipping charges, Rege has to shell out Rs 9,050, roughly $140, for her monthly stock of Indian ghee.

In celeb kitchens:

- Kourtney Kardashian starts her day with a heaped spoonful of ghee, according to a recent post on her website. She's also substituted it for butter in dishes like French toast and quesadillas.

- In a recent interview, actor Kareena Kapoor (pic) said she likes ghee in her rice, dal and on rotis. It's also her grandmom's beauty secret.

- Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis and singer Adnan Sami too have made the fat a part of their weight-loss diet.

17 Replies

  • As I've said in the past, eat like your grandparents, who would be bewildered when told that Ghee would kill them! Thankfully the tide is turning!

  • Milk and Milk Products to be totally avoided so are bakery products and packaged food and refined food of any kind of course meat of any sort. eat veggies and  and live a happy diabetes free life. I was a diabetic for 30 year and a free bird no shots nor pills. please watch this video you will only Bless him 

  • Vegan diet makes no sense in Indian context. 

    It's more of a PETA propaganda. Even I am pills free (not just diabetes but hypertension, lipids, diabetes etc) eating everything dairy and non veg and low carb high fat diet. So proves nothing. As for the talks on IGF-1 thing, they come down with intermittent  fasting and this is clinically proven :)

  • Vit B12 deficiency will be an issue 

    There is something called as essential fatty acids we studied in school. We need these 

    Above technique may provide some relief in short term. 

    But in long term deficiency of certain vitamins  and functioning of brain will be Affected 

    A very senior physician still practicing at the age of 82 told me that humans need animat fats like ghee, butter for proper functioning of brain. Else there is a risk of dementia 

    Ayurveda speaks high about milk and milk products 

    Even jainism allows milk 

    Above concept is that of veganism which will lead to some issues in long term 

    Dementia and bone and joint issues will develop  

    Vit D is a fat soluble vitamin and needs fats for synthesis. 

    So also A, E and K vitamins . 

  • Above is a money making hype I believe 

  • Yes, this guy was seen trying/seen to be a part of Ramdev Baba. So definitely all money spinning movement. Surprisingly, this will be supported on this forum, because it comes as an "alternative" to the already popular LCHF diet as a means of managing diabetes. Wonder why Dr Dean Ornish failed with Steve Jobs? The other day I saw some post which was promoting some commercial site related to Ayurveda by linking to it. 

    Only thing that I read often against dairy from proponents of VEGAN diet is IGF-1. Proven thru clinical trials that with intermittent fasting IGF-1 falls drastically and even can stay 20% lower than base level. So, eat everything including dairy and skip a meal like we on LCHF diet do without calorie counting and without starving  :)

    Visa Power -- Go get it :)

  • Pathetic

  • Dear sir 

    I put my views as above 

    Also this is a prog where u get enrolled And pay money 

    This effect is short term and will bounce back once you get back to normal diet 

    I have already done the newcastle diet and lost lot of muscles and also kept feeling hungry through out the day 

    The levels bounced back once on regular diet 

    So I found LCHF better for me bringing down HBA1C from 7.2 to 5.2 with eat as much ad u can with fats 

    I am putting my opinion after undergoing similar diet 

    I am not criticizing you but the person in the video 

    All are only concerned with numbers 

    He will prove that your hba1c has come down 

    But will not take any responsibility for any illhealth later on developed. Even if u corner him he will just say that since u are diabetic you are prone to it 


    Every day I spend at least 2 hrs researching on diabetes 

    Read lots of medical references, blogs and books 

    I also work for pharma industry 

    So I realise many sales techniques 

  • Sorry wrong again it's not money no one paid any money to anybody. it's only greens vegetables dal rice and all fruits. vegetables and fruits don't harm anybody. Doctors and American Diabetes  association + pharma"s rule over Diabetics 


  • Unfortunately all rice and fruits theory sends our numbers soaring and fructose (fruit sugar) isn't good for us. So, we love cheese butter, hung curd, eggs, nuts in place of that.

    Let's meet after a decade with our respective success stories. I am confident of being Drug Free even after 15 years -- 5 already gone. I know of a vegan diabetic who finally switched to high fat diet in order to hit non diabetic A1C (< 5.7)

    Just for your info, we consider A1C < 5.7 as good. Rest all is diabetic. So, we aim for A1C < 5.7 and not what ADA says.

    Can you upload your Dx reports when you were detected diabetic and how this diet helped you get off drugs or cut it down drastically and what are the numbers right now?

    Shashikantiyengar dropped his A1C from 7+ to 5.2

    Except for once, I have been at 5.6 or less all these years without DRUGS. I can quote many such cases.

  • Agreed 

    So propagating a diet suitable for diabetics 

    I am only against the concept of not taking fats at all 

    Vegan concept is an alien concept not bound to be successful 

  • No need to be abusive

    I only expressed my views

    In this forum we have long wheat diet, Ada diet, lchf and vegan diet discussed 

    But of all these I am against any diet which says stop fats totally

    Rest upto the readers what to accept 

  • Im sorry if that hurt your feelings. I'm not a vegan i use honey or panni velam as a sweetner use leather and so on. Sir as you are from chennai you must have heard of KOLLU, which gives you the highest amount of protien and calcium. for oil you use non refined oil or virgin olive oil as your body needs fat. You can have arrsi upma rasam sadam as i too am a iyengar i feast on rice we need to understand our body's needs. our body does not digest dairy products. Rest i leave it to you

  • It's OK. 

    No bad feelings

    I am born and brought up in Mumbai 

    Rice is my favorite 

    But now had to leave it

    I am able to digest ghee, butter, vco, cheese etc easily 

    I had to start taking eggs as I am also suffering from osteoarthritis along with diabetes 

    Eggs benefits both 

    Let's understand that down south we are used to ghee and also til oil with dosa and is listed

    My grandmother had diabetes but survived beyond 80. 

    She used to have dosa with podi and lots of til oil. Lots of coconut in vegetables. Ample ghee in rice. 

    I used to shout at her that time 

    But that's what kept her going 

    I now recall my father also doing same thing and I used to be upset with him. 

    He is now 83 still on with diabetes 

    but these fats with rice enabled them to survive well 

    I am an avid good follower of LCHF 

  • It's sad to read your response no money required spend time seeing the video you understand what your body needs and what not

  • I would rather watch the original -- Dr Neil Barnard, and have watched few of his Videos. Some guys in India are trying to make a living out of that by rehashing it. Even Dr Pramod Tripathi in Pune makes lot of money by rehashing Barnard. He also publishes video as part of marketing campaign. In fact, he has written some book on it too.

    Isn't this doctor trying to associate himself with Ramdev? All know, Ramdev is not into Charity. He runs successful commercial setups.

    Sir, Over the last 5+ years as a diabetic om zero drugs, I have understood what body needs. Check my profile if u want to know more about me by clicking on my username. 

    Two or three links are posted on this site every week on VEGAN and Vegetarian ... so almost everything on the two topics is understood.

  • Desi cow ghee is really beneficial for a healthy body. You can buy pure desi cow ghee from gaukranti(dot)org.

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