Gelatin is a lot more than just an ingredient used in cooking. This protein-rich powder, which is derived from collagen, contains high levels of certain amino acids—such as glycine—that have tremendous health and anti-aging benefits: from your hair, skin, nails to your bones, joints and gut. Read on to find out 5 essential health benefits of gelatin, how to incorporate it in your cooking, and get easy gelatin dessert and snack recipes.
What is gelatin?
Gelatin is derived from the partial hydrolysis of collagen. Collagen, as you may know, is the most abundant protein in our bodies, making up a significant part of our connective tissues and skin. As we get older, however, our bodies slow down their production of collagen, leading to wrinkles, saggy skin, weak bones and other aging symptoms.
Collagen supplementation has become popular in recent years to replenish the collagen we naturally lose through aging. Since gelatin comes from collagen, supplementing with gelatin can provide the same amazing benefits of collagen. This means that gelatin can support skin hydration and elasticity, healthy hair and nails, overall gut health and bones and joints.
How is gelatin different from collagen peptides?
Gelatin and collagen peptides have very different reactions in liquids. Gelatin makes liquids gel as the liquid cools while collagen peptides do not. The reason why is due to the scientific differences between gelatin and collagen peptides: gelatin is made from the partial hydrolysis of collagen, while collagen peptides is made from the full hydrolysis of collagen.
Think of it this way:
Collagen in its natural state is a full protein molecule; it’s very long and takes a long time for your stomach to fully break it down and digest it.
Gelatin is collagen partially broken down so it’s not as long of a molecule and thus takes a little less time to breakdown in your stomach. And it has an unique ability to make liquids gel.
Collagen peptides is collagen fully broken down to very short chain molecules—think about the long protein molecule being cut up into many small pieces—so that it is very easily digested and bioavailable, but it loses its ability to gel.
Collagen peptides and gelatin can be used differently. When gelatin is heated in water and cooled, it morphs into a gel-like substance. That’s why it’s used to make gummies or healthy jello, thicken soups, smoothies or pies, or as a source of protein in any beverage. Adding gelatin to your desserts helps to provide thickening and texture. Just keep in mind that when you add it to cold liquids, it will cause them to gel. Collagen peptides will not change the consistency of liquids and will not cause gelling.
Just as with collagen, it is important to check the source; make sure your collagen and gelatin supplements come from grass-fed, pasture-raised cows.
5 Health Benefits of Gelatin
Gelatin, like collagen, has many health benefits for the entire body. Here are 5 ways it can improve your overall wellness.
1. Can help support your joints
Who doesn’t despise achy joints? Osteoarthritis in particular can be a painful part of aging, affecting the way we move and use our body. Symptoms such as stiffness and reduced mobility can get worse if you’re not replenishing the collagen that your body breaks down each day.
Luckily, supplementing with gelatin may help reduce joint pain. In a recent study, subjects who took gelatin supplements reported less pain, heightened physical ability/mobility, and less inflammation than those who took a placebo (1). Athletes who took gelatin supplements also reported less joint pain overall (2). If you struggle with achy joints or arthritis, you might want to give gelatin a try!
2. Supports a healthy gut
Gelatin is incredibly helpful when it comes to gut health, and considering its importance to our overall health, it’s a supplement you don’t want to miss! In order to properly function and digest nutrients and food without complications, the gut requires proper levels of specific acid and enzymes. Glycine, an amino acid, is one of the elements in gelatin that is key to building a healthy stomach mucosal lining and stabilizing stomach acid and enzyme levels for optimal digestion. Beyond digestion, gelatin can also prevent bloating by absorbing fluids, including water.
3. Can enhance the look of your hair and skin!
You may already know about the benefits of collagen for your hair, skin and nails. Gelatin provides the same beauty benefits as collagen. From hair thickness and growth to skin moisture and texture, collagen and gelatin are must haves for your beauty routine. Want proof? Individuals who suffer from alopecia (a type of hair loss) who took gelatin in a 50-week study reported a hair mass increase of 40 percent, while those who took the placebo had a 10 percent decrease in hair mass (3). Your hair and skin will love gelatin!
4. May help with weight loss
Gelatin is a protein, and proteins satiate us much more than carbohydrates. It is also very low in calories, and could be considered fat-free and carb-free depending on its preparation. That being said, gelatin can help you feel fuller for longer, and ultimately give you more control over your diet. In a study involving people suffering from obesity, the subjects reported feeling more full as well as experiencing a reduction in appetite (4). This can ultimately help you stick to your diet plans and get real results. Cravings won’t get the best of you if you’ve got gelatin on your side!
5. Great, clean source of pure protein
Protein is a macronutrient, and if you take a look at any food guide pyramid, you can see that you need quite a bit of protein every day. This could range anywhere from around 46 grams to 56 grams for sedentary people, and the amount only increases as you become more active and require more nutrients. Gelatin gives you about 9 grams of protein for tablespoon. Meat is high in protein, of course, but some animal sources can be quite high in unhealthy fats. Good news! Gelatin is not. It is also an amazing source of amino acids, which provide energy, help organs function and contribute to protein formation. It has 18 amino acids, including glycine, proline, valine, lysine, alanine and arginine. Valine, which is important to cognitive function, cannot be produced by the body; it must be received via diet. Adding gelatin into your cooking and dessert recipes will give you an added protein boost and some important amino acids.
How to Use Gelatin
While products like store-bought jello and marshmallows may contain gelatin, they are often loaded with sugar and artificial ingredients! That’s why we recommend making your own desserts and snacks using gelatin. Thankfully there are a variety of different ways to incorporate it into your diet whether you are keto, low carb or just trying to upgrade your health. And the good news is that gelatin is versatile and easy to use. Just stir one tablespoon into at least 2 ounces of water or other liquid. Then you can add this mixture to a liquid of your choice or mix into other recipes. Not only will adding gelatin help to thicken and provide texture to your recipes, but you will also be reaping the benefits of the added collagen protein. Here are some ways you can use it to add a healthy nutritious boost to your diet.
1. Make your own healthy jello
Homemade jello is a delicious, low cal, low carb treat. It’s a guilt free snack with added health benefits from the gelatin. You can use any type of juice to flavor your jello. Here we used organic no sugar added raspberry juice, but we also like our Cranberry Kombucha Jello too. Find the recipe here.
2. Make your own low-sugar gummies and candy
With just 3 ingredients and a few minutes, you can make delicious sugar free gummies. The gelatin helps to make these gummies chewy and also provides a nutritional and protein boost. These are so much better than the store bought kind! Find the recipe here.
These creamsicle gummies will satisfy your sweet tooth while nourishing your body! The coconut milk and gelatin help to give these gummies a creamy and soft texture. Plus the gelatin gives you lots of health benefits, including helping to keep your skin soft and heal your gut. Find the recipe here.
Low carb, low sugar, but loaded in flavor, these chocolate orange truffles will be your new favorite treat. Just mix gelatin into coconut milk and then combine with the chocolate and other ingredients. Pour the mixture into any type of silicone mold, set in freezer for 10 minutes, and enjoy! Find the recipe here.
3. Make your own healthy gelatin desserts
Gelatin is what gives this Chocolate Peanut Butter dessert it’s silky texture. Mix one tablespoon of gelatin with ¼ cup water and add to the other ingredients. In just a few minutes, you get a delicious and healthy chocolate peanut butter treat that the entire family will love! Find the recipe here.
Just one tablespoon gelatin helps to make this mousse slightly firm, but still fluffy. Just mix all the ingredients in the blender for one minute, and your dessert is good to go! Find the recipe here.
4. Protein boost your smoothies or coffee
A simple way to use gelatin is to mix it into your beverages such as smoothies, shakes, and even coffee. Just note that it will gel in cold liquids over time, so don’t let it sit too long in your drinks before drinking.
This simple refreshing drink combines fresh and frozen fruit to make an antioxidant rich slushee with a protein kick. All you need is a blender and a few minutes! Find the recipe here.
5. Thicken soups, stews, and sauces
Gelatin can help thicken your soups and stews. Just sprinkle a tablespoon or two and mix in. You can also add it into your homemade stocks for an extra collagen and protein boost.
DISCOVER FURTHER FOOD PREMIUM GELATIN
-sourced from grass fed, pastured raised bovine hides
-non-GMO, antibiotic free, kosher certified
-sugar free, gluten free, dairy free, paleo and keto friendly
-flavorless and odorless
-9 grams of protein per tablespoon
-10 grams of collagen per one tablespoon serving
-dissolves well in hot liquids and will gel in cold liquids, providing added texture and a nutritional boost to your recipes
What is gelatin?
Gelatin is derived from the partial hydrolysis of collagen, or the partial breakdown of the collagen protein. When it is heated with water and cooled, it morphs into a gel-like substance. Gelatin is also source of amino acids, which provide energy, help organs function and contribute to protein formation. It includes the amino acids glycine, proline, valine, lysine, alanine and arginine.
What’s the difference between gelatin and collagen peptides?
Because gelatin is just partially hydrolyzed collagen, it shares the same benefits as collagen and therefore collagen peptides! Gelatin and collagen peptides can be used differently when it comes to cooking. Gelatin is great for thickening and adding texture to foods like gummies, jello, soups, smoothies, and pieces. Collagen peptides is so easily digested in its fully hydrolyzed state that it cannot gel anything if added to recipes. Keep that in mind when you’re deciding what type of collagen product to use when preparing your next meal or snack!
What are the benefits of gelatin?
Besides the fact that gelatin is an excellent source of protein and amino acids, there are many benefits to eating it daily. Considering gelatin is a form of collagen, your hair, nails, and skin can greatly benefit. Gelatin can support your gut, reduce joint pain, enhance the look of your hair and skin, and helps you feel full for longer (which may help you with weight loss or weight maintenance!).
How can I add gelatin into my diet?
Adding gelatin into your diet is simple. If you use an unflavored, powder gelatin sourced from pasture-raised bovine like Further Food Premium Gelatin, all you need is a scoop or two to enhance the texture of your food and get that protein and amino acid boost. Use your gelatin to make the best healthy jello, the smoothest pudding, or the richest smoothie!
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.