Buttermilk To Reduce Weight & Cholesterol

Mehak Shah

May 12, 2023

Obesity and cholesterol can lead to serious health problems like diabetes, heart ailments, and other lifestyle diseases. Unfortunately, obesity is a global pandemic. The reasons are the availability of ready-to-eat packaged foods, cross-cultural exchanges influencing our palette, and forgetting traditional food wisdom. For example, in Ayurveda, food is equated with medicines. Therefore, the right food keeps you fit, agile and nourished. Obesity is an abnormality associated with inflammation or disbalance of the internal system. However, as per this ancient science, a few common household ingredients can help people start their weight loss journey with significant results. And one primary food that induces weight loss and helps reduce cholesterol is buttermilk or chaas.

Buttermilk is a natural coolant for the body. Moreover, it is a rich source of vitamins, protein and calcium. Buttermilk is the derivative of the butter-making process. It is helpful in reducing weight and high levels of cholesterol in people. Furthermore, tweaking its recipe can make it more effective in combating obesity and hypercholesterolemia. 

You can add cumin powder, ginger, green chilli, pink salt, mint, coriander powder, black pepper etc. Adding spices makes it more effective in reducing weight and cholesterol. Moreover, buttermilk boosts energy and reduces acidity and blood pressure. 

What Causes Obesity?

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, USA a BMI over 30 indicates Obesity. Excess fat storage in the body causes obesity. However, all fats in the body are not bad. White fatty tissues in the body contain fat that stores energy. And brown adipose tissues store fat that triggers the expenditure of energy. Brown adipose tissue expends energy through thermogenesis, which generates heat. This process helps break down fat.

Some of the health risks associated with obesity are:

  • Hypertension
  • Hypercholesterolemia
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Osteoarthritis

Buttermilk’s Weight Reducing Properties

Buttermilk regulates brown adipogenesis:

Stored energy in the body in the form of fat makes people gain weight. Since brown adipose tissue spends energy, its presence is crucial in weight loss activity. Research has shown that buttermilk regulates brown adipogenesis. Furthermore, it suggests that buttermilk can be the ruling food for anti-obesity.

You can use buttermilk in a calorie deficit diet.

Calorie deficit diets are the easiest ways of speeding up weight loss. This method has been stressed heavily by research papers on weight loss. A calorie is a unit of energy. Since fat stores energy and this storage leads to obesity, the goal of weight loss is to burn calories. Therefore, the calorie deficit diet ensures that you burn more calories than you consume.

Buttermilk has very few calories. In addition, it is perfect for the weight watchers as it can easily replace any other beverage. USDA states that buttermilk has 40 calories per 100 grams. Hence, buttermilk can replace different drinks that are high in calories like soft drinks, fruit juices, smoothies, tea etc.

Buttermilk for Processed Snack Replacement

Research states that substituting carbohydrates for fat and protein is positively related to weight loss. In addition, research also shows that consuming dairy is associated with significant weight loss. 

USDA records 100 grams of buttermilk to have only 4.79 g of carbohydrates. However, it has 3.31 g of protein and 1.07 g of total fat. Hence, buttermilk can have a positive effect on weight loss.

Therefore, buttermilk can replace foods with high carbohydrates. For instance, in parts of the world such as India, Sri Lanka, Korea, and Japan, where rice is a staple food, buttermilk can be an evening or morning snack in a day. While having a high carbohydrate-rich food may contain a high amount of calories, 100g of buttermilk only contains 40 kcals.

Obesity and hypercholesterolemia are correlated. Reducing obesity can also lead to a reduction in the level of cholesterol. A study states that consuming saturated fats can elevate LDL cholesterol. Saturated fats are generally solid at room temperature.

Some of the saturated fats are:

  • Stearic Acid
  • Palmitic Acid
  • Myristic Acid
  • Lauric Acid

Few food items that contain a high amount of saturated fats are:

  • Cheese
  • Butter
  • Ice Cream
  • Meat among others

The same study states that consuming polyunsaturated fats can reduce cholesterol levels in a person. 

What Causes High Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy lipid that moves via blood throughout the body. In addition, cholesterol travels in the blood quickly without mixing with water because lipids or fatty acids are insoluble in water.

A study says that genetic and acquired causes can lead to high cholesterol. In addition, genetic predisposition to high cholesterol is one reason for having hypercholesterolemia. High cholesterol appears in the form of a genetic disorder called familial hypercholesterolemia. According to this study, the most common cause of hypercholesterolemia is an inactive lifestyle and increased consumption of saturated fats and trans fats. 

The study also states the following secondary causes for high cholesterol levels:

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Nephrotic Syndrome
  • Cholestasis
  • Pregnancy
  • Certain drugs such as cyclosporine, thiazide, and diuretics. 

Buttermilk’s Cholesterol Reducing Properties

Buttermilk is low in Saturated Fats.

One hundred grams of buttermilk only has 0.5 grams of saturated fat. Due to buttermilk’s shallow content of saturated fats, you can safely consume it even when you have hypercholesterolemia. Its weight loss properties can further help lower cholesterol levels. 

Buttermilk Reduces Cholesterol Absorption:

Research states that drinking buttermilk may be linked to reduced cholesterol levels in men and women. It happens because buttermilk minimises the absorption of cholesterol through the intestines. 

Milk Fat Globule Membrane (MFGM) reduces Cholesterol:

A study mentions that MFGM lipids reduce cholesterol and inflammation. It is also chemotherapeutic and anti-neurodegenerative. MFGM lipids are also known as milk phospholipids. It notes that buttermilk, the byproduct of butter-making, is high in MFGM lipids. Hence, buttermilk can reduce cholesterol levels.

Traditional Buttermilk Recipe

  • Serves: 2
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes


  • Curd: 500 ml
  • Cold Water: 500 ml
  • Ice cubes: 10 cubes
  • Black Salt to taste


  • Beat the curd with a hand blender for a few minutes.
  • Add cold water to the whisked curd.
  • Beat the water and curd mixture with the hand blender until the fat separates. 
  • When butter appears on top of the liquid, add ice cubes. It will firm up the butter. 
  • Remove the butter from the liquid with a spoon. 
  • Strain the liquid and add salt to taste.
  • Serve fresh.

How to Make Buttermilk More Effective for Treating Obesity and High Cholesterol

Ingredients That Help Reduce Obesity:

  • Cayenne Pepper: As per a study, 1 gram of cayenne pepper can increase body temperature. This way, the body burns more calories than usual. In addition, Cayenne pepper is an excellent source of capsaicin, providing various health benefits like pain relief, lowered blood sugar levels, and more.
  • Cardamom: Cardamom helps the body burn fat more effectively and reduces inflammation. Mixing cardamom powder with buttermilk can act as an effective digestive stimulant. In addition, cardamom helps manage conditions like constipation, indigestion, and water retention.

Ingredients that Help Reduce Cholesterol:

  • Turmeric: Curcumin available in turmeric reduces serum cholesterol. In addition, a study suggests that turmeric has a lipid-modifying action that helps control the risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Ginger: Ginger extract reduces LDL cholesterol and total serum cholesterol. Freshly ground ginger or ginger juice in buttermilk improves digestion for weight loss. In addition, it will lower the risk of cholesterol-related health issues.
  • Black Pepper: Consumption of black pepper reduces the levels of cholesterol. Moreover, adding freshly ground black pepper to the buttermilk enhances the taste and boosts metabolism, increasing weight loss.
  • Cinnamon: Ceylon or true cinnamon reduces total cholesterol levels, while good HDL cholesterol remains stable. Cinnamon is a superfood with many antioxidants used in various foods, including buttermilk.
  • Coriander: Coriander helps in increasing HDL or good cholesterol. In addition, adding coriander in powdered form or using it fresh in buttermilk helps relieve gas and bloating.

Recipe Tweaks to Increase Anti-Obesity and Anti-Cholesterol Properties of  Buttermilk

One can easily incorporate the spices mentioned above and condiments in their buttermilk to add extra anti-obesity and anti-cholesterol properties. You can add any of the mentioned spices after adding salt to the buttermilk. 

However, do not combine all the spices as it may result in lousy tasting buttermilk. Also, all the herbs must be first roasted and then powdered before adding them to the buttermilk.

Few spice combinations to try out for tasty and nutritious buttermilk are:

  • Garlic and Ginger
  • Cayenne Pepper and Turmeric
  • Cinnamon and Turmeric
  • Cardamom and Coriander
  • Black Pepper and Cinnamon
  • Cumin powder and Pink Salt
  • Green chilli and Black pepper

The Bottom Line

A study by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2016 shows that more than 1.9 billion adults were overweight. Of these 1.9 billion people, more than 650 million people were obese. In addition, 94 million people in the United States of America, 20 and above, have high cholesterol levels, as per the reports

Buttermilk effectively reduces obesity and cholesterol because it is low in calories and acts as a natural coolant for the body. Moreover, elevated cholesterol levels are associated with excessive consumption of saturated fats. Buttermilk has deficient levels of saturated fats; hence, it is safe to be consumed by people having hypercholesterolemia. 

This delicious drink can be made at home with ingredients easily found in the kitchen. Buttermilk is the liquid left from making butter. Thus, it is low in fat. Moreover, it is best for people looking to lose weight.

Buttermilk is also an excellent drink to be consumed on a calorie deficit diet as it has only 40 calories per 100 grams. In addition, you can consume buttermilk as a meal replacement for carbohydrate-rich foods.

In addition, you can increase the anti-obesity and anti-cholesterol effects of buttermilk with spices that demonstrate the same properties. For example, some herbs that reduce obesity are cayenne pepper and cardamom. Furthermore, turmeric, black pepper, and cinnamon, among other condiments, lower cholesterol.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q. Is buttermilk just butter and milk?

A. Buttermilk is the byproduct of the butter-making process. It is the liquid left after making butter. Buttermilk making process wholly removes butter from the buttermilk. 

Q. What happens if you use regular milk instead of buttermilk?

A. Regular milk has more fat content than buttermilk. While buttermilk has 40 calories per 100 grams, milk has 42 calories per 100 grams. Therefore, buttermilk is better for overweight people. Buttermilk has 4 mg of cholesterol per 100 grams; whole milk has 5 mg of cholesterol per 100 grams. Milk and buttermilk are both associated with lowering cholesterol. However, buttermilk is better for this venture. 

Q. Can almond milk be used to make buttermilk?

A. Yes, you can make buttermilk using almond milk. First, add vinegar to curdle almond milk, after which you can strain to obtain buttermilk. 

Q. How many tablespoons of vinegar does it take to make buttermilk?

A. For 250 ml of milk, one teaspoon of vinegar is sufficient to make buttermilk. After adding the vinegar, the milk will curdle, then strain the milk. The strained liquid is the buttermilk. 

Q. Can I use apple cider vinegar instead of white vinegar to make buttermilk?

A. Yes, you can use apple cider vinegar to substitute white vinegar in the buttermilk making process. The method used to make buttermilk with apple cider vinegar is the same as white vinegar. 

Q . Are buttermilk pancakes healthy?

A. Buttermilk pancakes are on par with traditional pancakes in terms of their nutritional value. However, they have the same ingredients, except where buttermilk is used instead of milk. 

Q. Can buttermilk cause diarrhoea?

A. Buttermilk is a laxative. It can prevent constipation. However, this does not mean it leads to diarrhoea. Buttermilk only leads to diarrhoea in people with lactose intolerance. Yet, people with lactose intolerance can digest buttermilk more easily than milk. It may be due to its low lactose content.  

Q. Does buttermilk increase weight?

A. Buttermilk does not increase weight. Instead, it results in weight loss due to it having fewer calories. Buttermilk can replace foods with high carbohydrates, leading to weight gain. Moreover, buttermilk is low in fat as it loses most fat during the butter-making process. 

Q. Does buttermilk reduce body heat?

A. Buttermilk can cool down the body as it is a drink usually served cold. Moreover, buttermilk acts as a natural coolant for the body. You can drink it with ice as well. 

Q. Does buttermilk increase breast milk?

A. Buttermilk is safe to consume while breastfeeding. However, the study does not reveal that drinking buttermilk increases breast milk.

About the Author

Mehak holds masters in foods and nutrition from Amity university, Noida. She has a keen interest in public health and nutrition and has been in charge of various projects with milestone NGO. She has worked with people over the globe to bring out the changes in their lives and has always been working towards lifestyle modifications via good dietary practices. According to her a healthy lifestyle is not about the destination but all about the journey.

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