In a move that could give a much-needed boost to fitness levels, scientists in India have developed a low-fat version of ghee that cuts the cholesterol content by 85%, a senior researcher said.
Ghee, a form of clarified butter, is a staple of Indian cooking and also used in traditional medicines and as an offering during religious festivals.
But with studies showing three-quarters of Indians have high levels of bad cholesterol, or triglycerides, dairy scientists have been working on creating a healthier form of ghee without affecting the taste.
"Using a chemical process we have removed the cholesterol content by up to 85%," says R. K. Malik, a director at the National Dairy Research Institute.
"The taste, color everything remains the same. It's just that the cholesterol comes down," Malik said by phone from Kurukshetra at the institute headquarters in the northern state of Haryana.
Malik said the institute would sell the technology commercially on a non-exclusive basis to interested businesses.
On Wednesday, the NDRI inked a deal with a leading dairy company based in the eastern Indian state of Bihar for the low cholesterol ghee.
"We are happy that this ghee provides a healthy option to fitness conscious consumers," said Malik.