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Gelatin is a mixture of peptides and proteins produced by partial hydrolysis of collagen extracted from the skin, bones, and connective tissues of animals such as domesticated cattle, chicken, pigs, and fish. Photographic and pharma grades of gelatin are generally made from beef bones, although some beef bone gelatin is used by the food industry.

Gelatin is an animal protein
unlike many other gelling agents used by the food industry.

Probably best known as a gelling agent in cooking, different types and grades of gelatin are used in a wide range of food and non-food products: Common examples of foods that contain gelatin are gelatin desserts, trifles, aspic, marshmallows, candy corn, and confections such as Peeps, gummy bears, fruit snacks, and jelly babies. Gelatin may be used as a stabilizer, thickener, or texturizer in foods such as yogurt, cream cheese, and margarine; it is used, as well, in fat-reduced foods to simulate the mouthfeel of fat and to create volume without adding calories.

Gelatin is used for the clarification of juices, such as apple juice, and of vinegar. Isinglass, from the swim bladders of fish, is still used as a fining agent for wine and beer. Beside hartshorn jelly, from deer antlers (hence the name "hartshorn"), isinglass was one of the oldest sources of gelatin.

The natural molecular bonds between individual collagen strands are broken down into a form that rearranges more easily. Gelatin melts to a liquid when heated and solidifies when cooled again. Together with water, it forms a semi-solid gel. Gelatin forms a solution of high viscosity in water, which sets to a gel on cooling, and its chemical composition is, in many respects, closely similar to that of its parent collagen. Gelatin is also soluble in most polar solvents.

Gelatin solutions show viscoelastic flow and streaming birefringence. If gelatin is put into contact with cold water, some of the material dissolves, but not all. The solubility of the gelatin is determined by the method of manufacture. Typically, gelatin can be dispersed in a relatively concentrated acid. Such dispersions are stable for 10–15 days with little or no chemical changes and are suitable for coating purposes or for extrusion into a precipitating bath.

Gelatin gels exist over only a small temperature range, the upper limit being the melting point of the gel, which depends on gelatin grade and concentration (but is typically less than 35 °C) and the lower limit the freezing point at which ice crystallizes. The upper melting point is below human body temperature, a factor which is important for mouthfeel of foods produced with gelatin.

Health benefits to Gelatin, including:

  1. Supports skin, hair and nail growth
  2. Good for joints and can help joint recovery
  3. Can help tighten loose skin (like the kind you get after having four babies in five years…)
  4. Can improve digestion since it naturally binds to water and helps food move more easily though the digestive track
  5. Great source of dietary collagen (side note: collagen is too large to be absorbed by the skin, so those skin creams are pretty useless… get it internally and use coconut oil for lotion!)
  6. Source of protein (though not a spectacular one) but its specific amino acids can help build muscle.”
  7. Gelatin is largely composed of the amino acids glycine and proline, which many people don’t consume in adequate amounts as they are found in the bones, fibrous tissues and organs of animals and as a population, we don’t consume these parts as much anymore. These amino acids are needed not only for proper skin, hair and nail growth, but for optimal immune function and weight regulation!
  8. Glycine, which makes up about 1/3 of the amino acids in gelatin powder is anti-inflammatory and evidence is finding that it can help speed wound healing. Glycine in gelatin can also help improve sleep ease and quality.
Read More at Wikipedia

Nutrition Data for Gelatin desserts, dry mix, prepared with water (19173)

NutrientNutrient value per 100 gm0.5 cup1 serving1 package 3 oz, yields 2 cups
Water84.39 g113.9265 g17.7219 g455.706 g
Energy62 kcal83.7 kcal13.02 kcal334.8 kcal
Protein1.22 g1.647 g0.2562 g6.588 g
Total lipid (fat)0 g0 g0 g0 g
Carbohydrate, by difference14.19 g19.1565 g2.9799 g76.626 g
Fiber, total dietary0 g0 g0 g0 g
Sugars, total13.49 g18.2115 g2.8329 g72.846 g
NutrientNutrient value per 100 gm0.5 cup1 serving1 package 3 oz, yields 2 cups
Calcium, Ca3 mg4.05 mg0.63 mg16.2 mg
Iron, Fe0.02 mg0.027 mg0.0042 mg0.108 mg
Magnesium, Mg1 mg1.35 mg0.21 mg5.4 mg
Phosphorus, P22 mg29.7 mg4.62 mg118.8 mg
Potassium, K1 mg1.35 mg0.21 mg5.4 mg
Sodium, Na75 mg101.25 mg15.75 mg405 mg
Zinc, Zn0.01 mg0.0135 mg0.0021 mg0.054 mg
NutrientNutrient value per 100 gm0.5 cup1 serving1 package 3 oz, yields 2 cups
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid0 mg0 mg0 mg0 mg
Thiamin0 mg0 mg0 mg0 mg
Riboflavin0.006 mg0.0081 mg0.00126 mg0.0324 mg
Niacin0.001 mg0.00135 mg0.00021 mg0.0054 mg
Vitamin B-60 mg0 mg0 mg0 mg
Folate, DFE1 µg1.35 µg0.21 µg5.4 µg
Vitamin B-120 µg0 µg0 µg0 µg
Vitamin A, RAE0 µg0 µg0 µg0 µg
Vitamin A, IU0 IU0 IU0 IU0 IU
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)0 mg0 mg0 mg0 mg
Vitamin D (D2 + D3)0 µg0 µg0 µg0 µg
Vitamin D0 IU0 IU0 IU0 IU
Vitamin K (phylloquinone)0 µg0 µg0 µg0 µg
NutrientNutrient value per 100 gm0.5 cup1 serving1 package 3 oz, yields 2 cups
Fatty acids, total saturated0 g0 g0 g0 g
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated0 g0 g0 g0 g
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated0 g0 g0 g0 g
Cholesterol0 mg0 mg0 mg0 mg
NutrientNutrient value per 100 gm0.5 cup1 serving1 package 3 oz, yields 2 cups
Caffeine0 mg0 mg0 mg0 mg
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. 2013. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 26. Nutrient Data Laboratory Home Page
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Topher.Portlock2015-05-18 04:13 (9 years ago.)

good to know. i would eat this stuff for a lot of reasons, but i guess the body tolerates it to a large extent.