Any successful weight-loss routine means watching your calorie intake and getting regular exercise, but a protein-rich diet is also beneficial. Protein makes you feel full longer, keeps levels of blood sugar steady and temporarily boosts your metabolism more than carbs or fats. Gelatin has the advantage of boosting protein, but it's still low in calories.
Gelatin Tips and Calories
Gelatin is made from the connective tissue collagen. As a result, it's high in the amino acids that build collagen, but it lacks other amino acids and isn't a complete protein.
Even though gelatin is a water-soluble protein, it won't dissolve completely unless you first sprinkle the powder into a cold fluid and let the granules soak a few minutes. Then warm it in the microwave and stir until the gelatin dissolves. Once the powder is dissolved and warmed, it gels as it cools down, so it may not be palatable in hot beverages and soups.
A 1-ounce packet of unsweetened gelatin powder -- which contains 4 tablespoons -- has 94 calories and provide about 24 grams of protein. By comparison, one scoop of whey protein powder has the same amount of protein for 130 calories.
The best way to stay energized while losing weight is to eat on a regular schedule. It's also important to try to include roughly the same amount of protein at each meal.
When you're trying to drop pounds, it's better to determine your protein needs based on body weight, rather than as a percentage of calories, states a report in Today's Dietitian in 2010.
The Institute of Medicine recommends getting 0.4 gram of protein per pound of body weight, or about 60 grams daily for a person weighing 150 pounds. A diet that's moderately high in protein should include about double that amount.
Eating a protein-rich breakfast keeps appetite at bay all morning long and may even help you eat less through the day, reported the FASEB Journal in April 2013.
An omelet made from one whole egg plus an extra egg white provides 10 grams of protein with only 111 calories and 7 grams of fat. Add nutrients with salsa, mushrooms and sweet peppers.
Stir unsweetened, flavorless gelatin into your eggs for more protein and extra texture. Mix gelatin or protein powder into oatmeal or pancakes. You can also add protein powder to your coffee or tea, but don't add gelatin unless you'll drink the whole cup before it starts to cool down.
Gelatin and protein powders are great for boosting protein while controlling calories. Both types of powder can be stirred into yogurt or used in smoothies.
A flavorless gelatin powder works well with any smoothie ingredients. If you use flavored powders, choose fruits and fluids that work with the flavor. For example, vanilla protein powder is great with milk, yogurt, bananas, strawberries and blueberries.
Make a healthy granola bar by mixing gelatin powder and condensed milk with oats, sunflower seeds, nuts and dried fruit, then press it into a pan and bake at a low temperature.
You'll get 20 to 25 grams of protein from a 3-ounce serving of lean meat, poultry and fish, reports the Institute of Medicine. Some types of fish have less than 100 calories per serving; otherwise, expect to get 115 to 234 calories from these proteins.
The next best choices are soybeans, with 10 grams of protein in 1/2 cup, and other types of beans, which contain about 7 grams in the same portion. Beans have about 80 to 147 calories per 1/2-cup, depending on the type of bean.
Unsweetened gelatin and protein powder can be used to increase protein in many dishes, such as meatloaf, turkey burgers and stir-fries. You might also want to experiment with pea protein powder, which you can add to dishes that pair with its flavor.
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Protein, Weight Management, and Satiety
- Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition: Gelatin: A Valuable Protein for Food and Pharmaceutical Industries: Review
- Science Daily: Protein-Rich Breakfast Helps Curb Appetite Throughout the Morning
- FASEB Journal: Daily Addition of a Protein-Rich Breakfast for Long-Term Improvements in Energy Intake Regulation and Body Weight Management in Overweight and Obese Breakfast-Skipping Young People
- Institute of Medicine: Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids (Macronutrients)
- New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service: Fitting Meat, Poultry and Fish into a Healthy Diet
- Vegan Peace: Legumes
- Today's Dietitian: Lose Weight the High Protein Weigh
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Gelatins, Dry Powder, Unsweetened
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Egg, Whole, Cooked, Omelet