Because gelatin is derived from animals, the average person does not extract or manufacture the materials to make gelatin. Instead, they use a gelatin mix, such as Knox Gelatin. The healthiest form of gelatin, in terms of a mix, is unflavored gelatin. Gelatin is, for all intents and purposes, nothing more than a thickening agent.
Gelatin is an Animal Product
Make no mistake about it – gelatin comes from animals. In order to make gelatin, collagen is extracted from pigs, cattle, and fish. The collagen is extracted either from the skin, the bone, or the connective tissue of these animals. Different gelatin that is derived from different animals has a different class or type attached to it. For example, Gelatin that comes from pig collagen is Type A and gelatin that comes from cattle is Type B.
It has not been determined that one type of gelatin is healthier than another, but if you think in terms of which meat is healthier, you may determine which type of gelatin that you prefer. Obviously, fish is healthier than pork or beef. Your religion may also determine which type of gelatin that you prefer.
Gelatin from Non-Animal Sources
Gelatin does not come from non-animal sources, but because it is really nothing more than a thickening agent, there are alternatives to gelatin, which may be preferred, and possibly even healthier.
These alternatives include agar-agar, which is seaweed, pectin, konjak, and carrageenan. It is important to note that these alternatives may not work as well, in terms of being a thickening agent, and they may also have health issues associated with them as well.
Can You Trust the Safety and Health of Gelatin?
Gelatin is safe to use. This is because all steps of the production process are closely monitored for the purpose of health and safety. Fresh, raw materials are required and must be documented. The production process is also closely guarded and documented.
There was some fear, several years ago, concerning the gelatin that was derived from beef products. This was largely due to the fear of Mad Cow Disease, but after much study by the Food and Drug Administration and the European Food Safety Authority, it was determined that there was nothing to fear. If you still have your own concerns, you should use gelatin products that are only derived from pigs and fish, and avoid gelatin products derived from cattle. Take the time to read the labels on the boxes of gelatin mixes before making your decision.
August 3rd, 2010
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