Serum lipid response to introducing ghee as a partial replacement for mustard oil in the diet of healthy young Indians

Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 2005 Jan;49(1):49-56.


Ghee (clarified butter) has generally been assumed to be hypercholesterolaemic on the basis of its composition but there is hardly any study to support or refute the assumption. The present study was conducted on sixty-three healthy, young, physically active adult volunteers (52 male, 11 female). The study design was that of a randomized controlled trial with a parallel design. After a lead-in period of 2 wk, the subjects were randomly divided into two groups, Group A (n = 30; 25 male, 5 female) and Group B (n = 33; 27 male, 6 female). Group A (experimental) consumed for 8 wk a diet in which ghee provided 10% of the energy intake. The only other visible fat in the diet was mustard oil, and total energy from fats was 25% of the energy intake. Group B (control) consumed for 8 wk a similar diet except that all visible fat came from mustard oil. The serum total cholesterol level showed a significant rise in the experimental group at 4 wk; the rise persisted at 8 wk. A similar rise was also seen in HDL cholesterol. Hence the total cholesterol/HDL cholesterol ratio did not show any significant change. In the control group, there was a trend towards a fall in LDL cholesterol but the change was not significant. The study does not indicate any adverse effect of ghee on lipoprotein profile. However, more studies are needed on older subjects, hyperlipidaemic subjects, and on subjects following less healthy lifestyles before the results of this study can be extrapolated to the general population.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cholesterol / blood*
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mustard Plant
  • Plant Extracts / administration & dosage*
  • Plant Oils
  • Triglycerides / blood*


  • Dietary Fats
  • Plant Extracts
  • Plant Oils
  • Triglycerides
  • Cholesterol
  • mustard oil