Is Gelatin Gluten Free? Info and Vegan Alternatives

  • Gelatin is made from animal substances like skin, ligaments, or tendons.
  • Gelatin is a rich source of protein.
  • It is mainly used as a thickening ingredient in various desserts and sweets.  
  • Gelatin is naturally gluten free. 

Is Gelatin gluten free? Gelatin is the famous ingredient used in both food and non-food items. Although gelatin is widely used in cosmetics and other products, people mostly know it for its use in food items. This post covers the question – does gelatin have gluten in it?

Gelatin is primarily a thickener used in ice cream, yogurt, cakes, marshmallows, puddings, etc. Since gelatin turns out to be a dominant ingredient in such dishes, most people are concerned about whether it’s gluten free or not.  

We will dig deep into this question throughout the blog but first, let’s learn a few things about gelatin. 

Is Gelatin Gluten free – What is Gelatin?

does gelatin have gluten

Gelatin is made from animal products like ligaments, tendons, or skin. It is obtained from boiling animal (primarily cows and pigs) skin, ligaments, and tendons. Thus, this tasteless translucent ingredient is made from animal collagen.

Gelatin gets rubbery when moist and brittle when dry and is primarily used to get gelling texture in different foods, medicines, and other items. As a byproduct of animal skin, bones, or tendons, gelatin is a rich source of protein. It comes in varied forms, such as sheets, powders, and flakes. 

Does gelatin have gluten? 

Does gelatin have gluten

As gluten and gelatin sound somewhat similar, most people tend to avoid gelatin-based products, especially gluten intolerant ones. However, before knowing whether gelatin contains gluten or not, let’s learn what gluten is. 

Gluten is typically a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, or other substances derived from these grains. Gluten acts like a glue that helps in maintaining food’s shape. Is gluten harmful to people? It depends upon individual conditions. 

People who are gluten intolerant and have celiac disease should stay away from gluten products. But gluten intolerant people should not be scared of consuming gelatin, as it is totally gluten free. 

As mentioned earlier, gelatin is primarily made from animal products, and it is a pure source of protein. The gelatin-making process does not contain any gluten substances like wheat, barley, etc. Therefore, gelatin is gluten free. 

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Does gelatin contain starches? 

Starches like corn starch are another primary ingredient used to thicken food’s consistency. Gelatin, however, does not contain any starch, and it is free of carbohydrates as well.

Therefore, food items that use gelatin as a thickening property will also not use starch. However, if you’re concerned about your carb intake, you can switch to gelatin products. 

Nutritional facts of gelatin 

Here are the nutritional benefits of gelatin per seven grams:

  • Calories- 23.4
  • Fat- 0g
  • Sodium- 13.7mg 
  • Fiber- 0g
  • Carbs- 0g
  • Protein- 6g
  • Sugar- 0g

This is a general estimate of gelatin. Different brands produce gelatin, so let’s find out the nutritional facts of gelatins of some of the famous brands. 

  • Zen Principle Grass-Fed Beef Gelatin Powder 

Per serving nutritional facts:

  • Calories- 55
  • Fat- 0g
  • Carbohydrate- 0g 
  • Protein- 13g
  • Sugar- 0g
  • Vital Proteins Beef Gelatin 

Per serving nutritional facts:

  • Calories- 70
  • Fat- 0g
  • Carbohydrate- 0g
  • Protein- 17g
  • Sugar- 0g
  • Knox Unflavored Gelatin

Per serving nutritional facts:

  • Calories- 5
  • Fat- 0g
  • Carbohydrate- 0g
  • Protein- 1g
  • Sugar- 0g
  • Now Natural Foods Beef Gelatin Powder 

Per serving nutritional facts:

  • Calories- 35
  • Fat- 0g
  • Carbohydrate- 0g
  • Protein- 9g
  • Sugar- 0g
  • Great Lakes Unflavored Beef Gelatin Powder

Per serving nutritional facts:

  • Calories- 40
  • Fat- 0g
  • Carbohydrate- 0g
  • Protein- 11g
  • Sugar- 0g
  • Further Food Premium Gelatin Powder 

Per serving nutritional facts:

  • Calories- 35
  • Fat- 0g
  • Carbohydrate- 0g
  • Protein- 9g
  • Sugar- 0g
  • Aspen Natural Grass-Fed Beef Gelatin Powder 

Per serving nutritional facts:

  • Calories- 84
  • Fat- 0g
  • Carbohydrate- 0g
  • Protein- 21g
  • Sugar- 0g

Gluten free alternatives to gelatin products 

As gelatin is primarily made from animal products, vegetarians prefer to stay from it. Due to this reason, vegetarian or vegan people also are unable to enjoy dishes that contain gelatin.

So, we have listed down a few alternatives to gelatin that are healthy and completely free from animal substances. Let’s have a look at these products…

Agar Agar 

Vegan Gelatin
Source Amazon

Agar Agar is a popular alternative to gelatin. People worldwide use it commonly as a vegetarian alternative. It comes with the same gelling properties as gelatin. The only difference between the two is that gelatin is animal-based, and Agar Agar is plant-based. It is derived from seaweed.  

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Both Agar Agar and Gelatin have some nutritional differences as well. While gelatin is a rich source of protein, the same is not true for Agar Agar. Agar Agar is rich in calcium, iron, folate, and vitamins. It’s low in cholesterol and saturated fat too. 

Like gelatin, various brands produce Agar Agar, and all have different nutritional values. Hence, let’s find out the nutritional values of Agar Agar from some of the popular brands. 

  • Hoosier Hill Farm Agar Agar

Per serving nutritional facts: 

  • Calories- 20
  • Fat- 0g
  • Carbohydrate- 5g
  • Protein- 20g
  • Sugar- 0g
  • Fit Lane Agar Agar powder 

Per serving nutritional facts:

  • Calories- 5
  • Fat- 0g
  • Carbohydrate- 1g
  • Protein- 0g
  • Sugar- 0g
  • Living Jin Agar Agar powder

Per serving nutritional facts 

  • Calories- 25
  • Fat- 0g
  • Carbohydrate- 6g
  • Protein- g
  • Sugar- 0g

Carrageenan 

Another healthy and vegetarian alternative for gelatin is Carrageenan. Carrageenan is derived from purple and red seaweeds. Carrageenan has the same thickened properties as gelatin. It is used in meat products, milk, yogurt, and various desserts. 

Let’s find out the nutritional values of Carrageenan from different brands- 

  • Fit Lane Organic Kappa Carrageenan Powder

Per serving nutritional facts:

  • Calories- 17
  • Fat- 0g
  • Carbohydrate- 4g
  • Protein- g
  • Sugar- 0g
  • Landor Trading Co Iota Carrageenan 

Per serving nutritional facts 

  • Calories- 22
  • Fat- 0g
  • Carbohydrate- 5g
  • Protein- g
  • Sugar- 0g
  • Modernist Pantry Pure Refined Kappa Carrageenan

Per serving nutritional facts:

  • Calories- 240
  • Fat- 0g
  • Carbohydrate- 60g
  • Protein- g
  • Sugar- 0g

Pectin 

Vegan Gelatin
Source Amazon

Another vegetarian alternative for gelatin is Pectin. Pectin is a starch known as a heteropolysaccharide. It is present naturally in different vegetables and fruits. To derive its gel consistency, it has to be cooked at a high temperature with sugar and acid. 

Differences between gelatin and Pectin can be found in their nutritional compositions. While gelatin is a rich source of protein, Pectin has more carbohydrates and fiber. The fiber present in Pectin helps stabilize blood sugar, reduce cholesterol, and makes one feel fuller. 

Now we will check the nutritional facts of Pectin from different brands. 

  • Hoosier Hill Farm Fruit Pectin powder 

Per serving nutritional facts:

  • Calories- 30
  • Fat- 0g
  • Carbohydrate- 8g
  • Protein- g
  • Sugar- 7g
  • Kate Natural Premium Fruit Pectin powder 
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Per serving nutritional facts:

  • Calories- 50
  • Fat- 0g
  • Carbohydrate- 15g
  • Protein- g
  • Sugar- 14g
  • Ball RealFruit Classic Pectin

Per serving nutritional facts:

  • Calories- 0
  • Fat- 0g
  • Carbohydrate- 0g
  • Protein- 0g
  • Sugar- 0g

Now that we’ve talked so much about gelatin being the main ingredient in so many desserts, let’s check out one such recipe. The recipe that you are about to see right now is gelatin based and entirely gluten free. 

It is also the best substitute when you are on a diet and want to avoid sugar and high calorie sweets. This dessert will not only help you maintain your shape but also will satisfy your sweet cravings. I am sure you can’t wait to dig into the recipe. So without further ado, let’s jump in!

Chocolate Gelatin Gummies Recipe

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups water 
  • 2 cups full fat coconut milk 
  • ¼ cup cocoa
  • One teaspoon of stevia extract powder.
  • Four tablespoon grass fed gelatin powder 

Cooking procedure 

  1. Take a saucepan and mix water, coconut milk, and gelatin powder until smooth
  2. Keep stirring it for about five minutes in medium flame 
  3. After five minutes, slowly mix the cocoa powder and stevia 
  4. After giving it a nice stir and pour the mixture into a bowl or container 
  5. Place the container into the refrigerator and let it chill for about an hour
  6. After one hour, your gluten free chocolate gelatin gummies are ready to eat
  7. Slice them into small pieces and enjoy!

Wrapping up the question ‘is gelatin gluten free’

From the above content, you must have seen that pure and raw gelatin is entirely gluten free. Instead, this is a primary source of protein; hence anyone with gluten intolerance or celiac disease can consume it. 

Moreover, gelatin is a low-calorie and mostly carbohydrate-free product which makes it a safe option for people on strict diets as well. The only thing you need to be aware of is products that contains gluten.

Sweets and desserts dominantly use gelatin which contains sugar. So make sure to check out the ingredient list before you grab one!

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About the Author: Johnny

I am the senior editor and writer of Gluten Free Heroes, before that, I wrote for various well established online magazines about food and health. I love working out, traveling and eating healthy.