What is Gelatin?
Depending on your perspective, gelatin is either a nutritious substance, or a questionable mix of discarded animal products. So amid the controversy, you may be wondering what gelatin actually is – and whether you should try it.
We’ve separated the wheat from the chaff to bring you the basics:
What’s gelatin made of?
Gelatin is made from parts of animals (usually pigs and cows) that people don’t normally consume as part of a modern diet. We’re talking bones organs, skin and fibrous tissues – basically all the bits that contain collagen.
It’s packed with 18 amino acids, including proline and glycine.
Why is gelatin healthy?
There are many reasons why people eat gelatin. Mostly it’s because amino acids are essential for healthy skin, hair and nails. They’re also important for proper immune function and regulating weight.
Glycine has also been shown to improve sleep and help wounds heal faster.
Gelatin’s other benefits include maintaining healthy joints, reducing the appearance of cellulite, and helping with digestion.
Why is gelatin controversial?
There are two sides to the gelatinous coin:
Some people are fans of using the whole animal, just like our ancestors did (like your granny making bone broth). Rather than just eating muscle meat and throwing away the rest, gelatin ‘rescues’ nutritious parts that would otherwise be tossed.
The other argument comes from the vegan perspective, as the vegan diet avoids any animal products. That’s why if you’re vegetarian or vegan, you’ll want to steer clear of any gummy lollies or jelly.
How is gelatin eaten?
As well as jelly and gummy bears, gelatin is found in many packaged foods including cheese, salad dressing, yoghurts, soup, and some fruit snacks. So if you’re vegetarian or vegan, be sure to always check the label.
You can also buy gelatin on its own, and use it to make your own gelatin products such as ‘gummies’. There are many recipes online to help you get started.
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