Across the globe the medical practitioners and dieticians have associated cardiovascular disease with trans fats and unfortunately linked the Desi Ghee with same properties as those of trans fats without research whatsoever.
Ghee consist of 25% monounsaturated fat (also found in olive, mustard oil) and a relatively low 5% polyunsaturated fat (also found in sesame, sunflower, groundnut oil). Monounsaturated fats are generally agreed to be a healthful form of fat consumed in moderation. The Lancet study cited above was carried out over 20 years ago when saturated fats were vilified as unhealthy and polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) as healthy.
There is now increasing evidence linking PUFAs with CVD, cancer, immune system dysfunction, depressed learning ability, impaired growth and obesity. Part of the explanation lies is modern food processing techniques, with oils often being rancid, oxidized or chemically tainted with high levels of free radicals.
Another issue is how fats are used in the cooking process. PUFAs are highly unstable due to the presence of unsaturated double bonds, which create free radicals when heated. In contrast, ghee is an ideal cooking fat as it is predominantly saturated.
All such fats are deemed as superior to polyunsaturated fats for frying as they stand up better to high-heat uses than most oils in bottles. Ghee is a star performer in this respect, with a smoke point of 190 C (due to the removal of water and protein) compared with 120 C for butter.
The smoke point determines when oil burns, generating oxidation and free radicals. Ghee is hence one of the safest fats to fry with. It also has the added benefit of a long shelf-life without refrigeration, due to a low moisture content and inherent anti-oxidative properties.
Most fats found in nature, naturally occur in their ‘cis’ form which matches fat receptors in each cell. Modern processing (heating, hydrogenation, bleaching, deodorising) turns ‘cis’ fats into ‘trans’ fats which no longer fit. Instead they disrupt cellular metabolism. Here the point worth noting is Ghee especially Desi Ghee obtained from the milk of indigenous breeds of Indian cows such as Gir also contains only cis fats and therefore pose no threat to health of individual whatsoever.