Ghee Side Effects and Benefits

By Adriane Marie •  Updated: 01/02/23 •  11 min read

What are ghee side effects and benefits? Is ghee vegan? Gluten free? Acidic or alkaline? Low fodmap? Good for you? Healthy? Sustainable? Here are ghee pros and cons: all the info on ghee that every ethical consumer wants to know…

ghee benefits and side effects

Food is something we consume every day and if you’re like me, you do all the research you can to make sure you don’t hurt yourself, the planet, animals or others when shopping. As an ethical consumer myself, I am giving you all the info I’ve found on ghee benefits and side effects.

You are going to learn all about ghee side effects. This will include ghee benefits for your health and potential risks, ghee water footprint and ghee carbon footprint, ghee sustainability, if ghee is vegan or impacts animals in other ways, and much more. 

After learning if ghee is good or bad for you, the environment, animals and human rights, you will be prepared to make the best choices you can the next time you buy food.

This post is all about ghee benefits and side effects that every ethical consumer should know.

Ghee Benefits And Side Effects


Energy: ghee is good for / helps aid digestion | ghee is bad for / increases the risk of allergies, asthma, birth defects and sterility caused by pesticide exposure

Longevity: ghee is good for / helps boost immunity, detoxification, fight and prevent cancer, reduce inflammation | ghee is bad for / increases the risk of antibiotic, dioxin and artificial hormone ingestion, antibiotic-resistant microorganisms, bovine leukemia virus (BLV) contamination linked to cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) linked to cancer, serum cholesterol, unhealthy pH levels in body

Appearance: ghee is bad for / increases the risk of acne, dull completion, obesity, skin issues, weight gain

Ghee is…

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Water footprint: moderate, 5,553 liters of water used to produce 1 kilogram of butter (similar to ghee) / 665 gallons of water used to produce 1 pound of butter

Carbon footprint: low, 1.8 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of butter or ghee, a car driving equivalent of 4.25 miles or 6.75 kilometers

Destruction: high, ghee production is relatively destructive, land usage for pasture, grain and forage, solid waste (excrement/manure) runoff into soil and freshwater, deforestation for feed crops, animal agriculture is the leading cause of: species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution and habitat destruction, responsible for up to 91% of Amazon destruction

Ghee is…


Kills: male calves, in most cases the dairy industry sells “unwanted” male calves to be slaughtered for veal, as pregnancy must occur for female cows to lactate and produce milk

Harms: cows, branded, castrated and horns removed without painkillers, locked in tiny cages, genetically modified to grow so obese that many become lame (unable to walk) shocked with electric prods, shackled with chains and dragged, beaten, prods poked up rectums, live last few months in crowded feedlots with hundreds or thousands of others, without pasture, often without shelter, must stand in mud, ice and their own waste

Indirectly kills or harms: wildlife habitat contamination (water and soil pollution), wildlife habitat destruction (deforestation/land clearing), wolves and coyotes killed to prevent predation on livestock 

Ghee is…


Health and safety: varies, overall, agriculture continues to be one of the most dangerous industries, farmworkers may be subject to dehydration, heat stroke, unprotected exposure to harmful, toxic chemicals and pesticides, unsafe machinery and clean drinking water may not always accessible

Living conditions: varies, laborers are often exploited, they may face tough working conditions including long hours in the sun and heat performing physically exhausting tasks, labor laws and rights may or may not be in place, even if worker protection exists, employer violations may go unreported, refugees and migrant workers are especially vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment, fearing consequences of job loss or deportation

Wages: varies, generally farmworkers earn meager wages, there are many cases of underpaid agricultural workers, wage theft and no overtime payment or benefits

Ghee has…

Where does most ghee come from?

India is the world’s leading country for ghee production.

The world’s top ghee exporting country is Ireland, followed by New Zealand, Germany, Netherlands, Denmark, UK, France, USA, Belgium and Portugal.

Is ghee nutritious?

Ghee is extremely high in fat and cholesterol.

Another name for ghee is clarified butter.

Is ghee alkaline or acidic?

Is ghee alkaline or acidic?

Ghee is acidic.

What is the pH level of ghee?

Ghee has an 6.0 pH level when salted and 7.0 pH level when unsalted, once digested.

When you eat food, it breaks down to an ash residue that can be neutral, acidic or alkaline. Minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, silver, copper and iron produce an alkaline ash; whereas sulfur, phosphorus, chlorine and iodine, which are in meat, coffee, dairy and alcohol, leave an acid ash.

Going alkaline easier than ever with this: Acidic and Alkaline Foods List

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Is ghee gluten free?

Is ghee gluten free?

Yes, ghee is gluten free. Ghee does not contain gluten.

While celiac disease may not be as rampant as many marketing trends lead us to believe, you may have a gluten sensitivity…

Celiac and gluten sensitivity symptoms are similar and may include: recurring abdominal pain, chronic diarrhea, constipation, tingling, numbness in hands and feet, chronic fatigue, joint pain, unexplained infertility and low bone density (osteopenia or osteoporosis).

There are hundreds of potential symptoms, many of which are also symptoms of other conditions.

Going gluten-free easier than ever with this: Gluten and Gluten Free Foods List

Is ghee a common food allergen?

Is ghee a common food allergen?

Yes, ghee contains a common food allergen: milk. Many people experience allergic reactions to ghee.

A group of the eight major allergenic foods is often referred to as the Big-8 and includes milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soybeans. 

These foods account for about 90% of all food allergies in the United States.

Severe food allergies can be life threatening. Following ingestion of a food allergen, a person with food allergies can experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. 

Persons may still be allergic to and have serious reactions to foods other than the eight foods identified by the law.

Be aware of common dietary restrictions and food allergens with this: The Big 8 Most Common Food Allergens List

Water footprint of ghee?

Water footprint of ghee?

Ghee has a relatively modern water footprint compared to other foods.

What is the water footprint of ghee?

It takes 5,553 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of butter / 665 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of butter.

Did you know that water is a finite, non-renewable resource?

How much water does it take to produce an apple? A serving of rice? A steak dinner?

We need to be aware of something referred to as a “water footprint”. That is, the amount of fresh water utilized in the production or supply of goods we consume. As it turns out it takes significantly more water to yield foods that come from animals than foods that come from plants. Imagine how much water a cow needs to consume to generate a piece of beef. Not only how much water a single cow drinks, rather all the water that went into producing the crops that the cow ate.

Find out how much water your food consumes with this: Water Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

Carbon footprint of ghee?

Carbon footprint of ghee?

Ghee has a relatively low carbon footprint compared to other foods.

What is the carbon footprint of ghee?

It takes around 1.8 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of butter or ghee, a car driving equivalent of 4.25 miles or 6.75 kilometers.

When calculating product emissions, some factors that may be included are… farm equipment, animal feed production, hothouses (greenhouses), food processing, packaging, transport, refrigeration, freezing, package waste, and more.

There are a number of steps that can be taken to reduce energy output. According to Oxford Martin School researchers, if the world went vegan, eliminating animal-derived products, it could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by two thirds and avoid climate damages of $1.5 trillion.

But that’s not all!

It’s best to keep the following in mind when grocery shopping:

Find out how much carbon your food emits with this: Carbon Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

Is ghee sustainable?

Is ghee sustainable?

Ghee production is relatively unsustainable.

A 2018 Oxford University study – which is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet – found that ‘avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth’ as animal farming provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of our farmland.

Consuming animal products and byproducts is not environmentally friendly and is one of the worst things for the Earth. Not only is meat production wasteful, it causes enormous amounts of pollution. The industry is one of the biggest causes of climate change.

A 2010 United Nations report said that a global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world the worst impacts of climate change.

Is ghee vegan?

Is ghee vegan?

No, ghee is not vegan. Ghee is dairy, the byproduct of a cow, therefore making it an animal-derived food. A mother cow’s milk must be used in order to produce ghee. 

Animals of factory farms and the livestock industry are suffering. They live in horrific conditions that often include confinement, physical abuse and unnatural environments…so much so that they need to receive antibiotics to keep from getting ill or spreading disease. They’re also injected with growth hormones to become fatter faster and live short lives, being slaughtered as soon as they finish growing and are killed prematurely, well before their natural lifespan.

Because we cannot see for ourselves how these animals live and what they endure does not mean it isn’t happening. The meat, poultry and dairy industries do everything they can to distance us from knowing how our food comes to be in order to keep us in the dark about what we support each time we buy animal derived products and byproducts.

Go vegan for animals!

It’s the best way to help animals and it’s not as difficult as you may think. Speak for animals with your actions, for they cannot speak at all.

Going vegan is easier than ever, at a glance with this: Vegan and Non-Vegan Foods List

Does ghee have human rights issues?  

benefits of buying fair trade, labor rights, human rights and workers rights issues

Yes. At this time there are concerns associated with dairy farming.

It’s important to stay aware of human rights concerns and worker exploitation that may be associated with specific brands.

Did you know the single largest employer in the world is agriculture? The labor involved behind each and every product cannot go unrecognized. 

Some known problems include workplace health and safety, child labor, gender inequality, inadequate pay, wage theft and exploitation. Workers can even be subjected to harassment, humiliation and violence and unfair employers often fail to provide laborers with access to shade, drinking water, restrooms and breaks. Consequently, laborers can face nausea, dizziness, heat exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke -the leading cause of farmworker death! 

Such mistreatment has been likened to modern day slavery. Workers are often afraid to report issues because they fear it will result in losing their jobs or deportation. 

Fair trade organizations fight to ensure better social, environmental and economic standards. 

We can improve people’s lives with foods we eat every day simply by buying products that are certified fair trade. 

This post was all about ghee side effects and benefits, pros and cons.


Butter, Clarified butter (ghee) – FoodData Central – USDA

TIME: is ghee healthy? Here’s what the science says

Adriane Marie

Hi, I'm Adriane, creator of HEALabel! I organize info for you to comprehensively see how purchases impact health, environment, animals and laborers. Stay aware because you care! Subscribe below to get my weekly newsletter with tips, new info and other ethical consumer insight.

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