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What is gelatin and what are its uses?

Date: 15 Feb 2016    Group: Opinion About    Category: Miscellaneous   

What is gelatin and how it is manufactured? Is the gelatin used in manufacture of ice cream like food products and that which is used for making shells of pharmaceutical capsules same? Is there any synthetic gelatin also which is not manufactured from raw materials of animal sources?
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Author: Ank Arya    16 Feb 2016      Member Level: Gold     Points : 6  (Rs 6)    Voting Score: 0

Dear Questioner,

I will be answering each of your query systematically and in detail below-

What is Gelatin? Where does it come from?

As the name suggests, it is used as a gelling agent in different food items. Gelatin is a protein that is mostly obtained from the collagen of animals. It is tasteless and odorless. It is found in animal's ligaments, muscles, flesh and even in the bones. So yes, basically it is a non-vegetarian material that is mostly obtained by boiling animal body parts in hot water. The process may seem easy but it goes through a complex chemical process in which includes the hydrolysis of animal collagen.

Gelatin is a necessary protein for our body as it is responsible for the collagen and ligaments that give the necessary flexibility and elasticity to our body parts. It is also responsible for holding our body in place playing the role similar to an adhesive material.
By its nature, the gelatin when poured with water produces gel like substance.

Is Gelatin also used in ice cream and other products?
Not only does in ice cream but also in birthday cakes and candies, gelatin may have been present. As far as I have read during my study, gelatin is used in drugs and cosmetics too. For example, the vitamins tablets you intake may also have gelatin used for coating. Capsules consist of gelatin so they can be made easier to swallow by patients. Even the face washes, masks, shampoo and several other hair care products do consists of a dew amount of gelatin. It is also used in chewing gums and many other eatables.

The fact that it is mostly sourced from animals such as pigs, buffaloes, fishes and chicken, it may disgust a lot who prefer only vegetarian lifestyle whatsoever.

The Gelatin however has multiple health benefits for which it also sells as a super health product. It is considered good for digestion as it supports the food to pass through our digestive system and is also responsible for the production of dietary collagen. As mentioned already, it is a rich source of protein. It is also used in skin creams to support skin health and treating the wrinkles. It is beneficial for body joints and hair growth too. All these health benefits enable it to be called as a super-food by many.

So, is there a vegetarian gelatin present that is not obtained from animals? Fortunately, it exists! It may be the answer for the final question you have asked above. Gelatin can also be sourced from vegetarian products such as sugar and other natural gums. However, these may not offer the same level of health benefits as that of its main source that is animal by-products.

Also, to provide some relief to the highly vegetarian people as myself, animal gelatin is not the only that is used in every food, drug and cosmetics. For example, Hypromellose or "HPMC" is a polymer which can be used as thickening agents, food additive and also in drugs and medicines in place of Gelatin. Uses of Hypromellose range from being used as a food agent to medicines such as eye drops, even in paints, as an adhesive, in cement and also in detergents.

A little research on the products we use in a daily life may reveal if a product uses animal gelatin or not.

Author: susmitha    16 Feb 2016      Member Level: Bronze     Points : 3  (Rs 3)    Voting Score: 0

Gelatin is a colorless translucent liquid manufactured from collagen obtained from skin, bones and tissues of animals like cattle, pig, Chicken and fish etc. It is used as gelling agent in food, pharmaceuticals, Beauty products etc. It is found in sticky or gummy candies and ice creams.

Yes, Gelatin used in capsules, ice creams and candies is same.

yeah, there is vegetable alternative called synthetic gelatin obtained from agar etc.

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