What is Jell-O made of? Gelatin, animal fat and nutrition explained

It’s a childhood favorite. A hospital staple. A college student’s creative way to consume alcohol. You know what we're talking about. Jell-O.

Jell-O is the brand name of something called gelatin dessert. It’s a light, bright, sweet treat that can be enjoyed by nearly everyone. But it doesn’t come without controversy – what, exactly, gives Jell-O that springy form and texture?  Gelatin Made Of

What is Jell-O made of? Gelatin, animal fat and nutrition explained

For those of you that really want to know, we spoke with Mary Sabat, MS, RDN, LD, a nutritionist and owner of BodyDesigns, to find out what you need to know about Jell-O. 

Sabat says gelatin dessert is, “typically made by mixing powdered gelatin with hot water, sweeteners, flavorings and sometimes fruit or other ingredients. Once the mixture cools and solidifies, it forms a gel-like consistency.” 

“Gelatin, the primary ingredient in Jell-O, is derived from collagen, a protein found in the connective tissues, bones, and skin of animals," Sabat says. "Historically, gelatin was obtained by boiling the bones and tissues of animals, such as cows or pigs, to extract collagen. However, modern commercial gelatin production may involve various processes, including acid or alkali treatment, to extract collagen from animal by-products like hides, bones, or connective tissues."

It’s not unhealthy, but it’s not particularly healthy, either. 

Sabat says, “As for its healthiness, gelatin itself is a source of protein and contains essential amino acids, but it lacks other nutrients. It is low in calories and fat, and it doesn't contain cholesterol. However, it is not considered a nutritious food on its own since it doesn't provide significant amounts of vitamins or minerals.”

It could aid in weight loss if you want a treat that’s low in calories. But if you have diabetes, you may need to look out for the sugar content or try sugar-free options. 

Jell-O is popular againWhy gelatin is gaining attention as a collagen alternative

There are a few reasons:

There are also non-nutritional reasons hospitals may use gelatin. Sabat says, “Gelatin can be used to create coatings for pills or capsules, as well as to make the shells of some medical capsules. It can also be utilized in medical research and diagnostic procedures.”

Overall, it can be a fun snack, and there are ways to make it slightly healthier. “I personally recommend using grass-fed gelatin and making a homemade Jell-O with this product.  It allows you the same consistency as traditional Jell-O but comes from a healthy source and you can make it using natural fruit juices,” says Sabat. 

What is Jell-O made of? Gelatin, animal fat and nutrition explained

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