Americans spent nearly $300 million on collagen supplements in 2020 with the worldwide market expected to grow. As the most plentiful protein in our body and the most constructional component of our skin, muscles, bones, veins and connective tissue, understanding collagen's appeal is simple!
A usual Western diet does not contain collagen, factors including stress, chronic inflammation, nutritional deficiencies, smoking and normal ageing means our bodies produce less collagen. While there is no blood test to identify collagen levels in our bodies, this decline can become evident with skin wrinkles due to loss of skin elasticity, stiff joints, gut or digestive issues as well as longer injury recovery.
The market is overloaded with collagen-based goods, extending from collagen peptides to bone broth protein, all produced in different digestible mediums. Lately however, there has been an increase in “alternative to collagen: gelatin” across social media platforms.
What's the main distinction between gelatin and collagen?
Gelatin and collagen are nutritionally the same. A tablespoon of gelatin contains around six grams of protein. However, gelatin is not entirely protein, and should not be regarded as a main source of protein.
Gelatin and collagen both offer similar 19 amino acids. Nevertheless, structurally they are different. Gelatin is fundamentally a denatured and hydrolyzed type of collagen. This means that when you subject the triple helix formation of collagen to high levels of heat and then water, you end up with the shorter amino acid chains identified in gelatin and in bone broth protein. You'll frequently see "collagen peptides" products too — this simply means that the collagen is additionally hydrolyzed by enzymes utilized in the production process.
Both collagen and gelatin are highly digestible. Digestibility is calculated as the percentage of amino acids in the protein ingested that is absorbed in relation to how much is excreted.
Gelatin is found in more than Jell-O
A large portion of us have encountered gelatin as Jell-O (which has been around since 1890) either as kids or while in the hospital. Gelatin is commonly also found in marshmallows, candy corn, gummy bears and jelly beans. It's also regularly used in the preparation of a few kinds of Chinese soup dumplings.
Studies on collagen focus on skin elasticity, joint mobility
Studies on collagen generally focus on its benefits which include improved skin elasticity and hydration as well as reduced joint pain and improved joint functionality. No notable studies exist that study the benefits of gelatin directly, however, considering collagen and gelatin have similar protein structures, it's safe to consider the same advantages for both.
Numerous ways of getting a charge out of gelatin
Really, the key differentiation between collagen and gelatin is which of the two is easier to prepare and consume? Gelatin in its powder/ gel form is too thick and lacks flavor to drink when added to either warm or cold refreshments.
The most effective way to exploit the advantages of collagen, or gelatin, is to drink a cup of bone stock on a daily basis or to add hydrolyzed collagen (collagen peptides) to warm or cold refreshments. Adding collagen peptides to either cold or warm drinks will dissolve and wont gel, making it a good option.
Yet, assuming you are set on gelatin, homemade sugar-free jello, gelatin squares or healthy gummy bears are top of the list. Keeping in mind though that although sugar free Jell-O comes in sugar free packets they contain artificial sweeteners as well as coloring agents and flavorings.