What Is Plain Gelatin?

Plain gelatin is a clear, unflavored gelatin suitable for use in your diet. You may use it to replace flavored gelatins, to thicken sauces or to make food molds such as aspic. Any recipe that calls for a thicker texture, including cake icing and marshmallows, may benefit from the addition of plain gelatin. It is available in your local grocery store in the same section as flavored gelatin powdered mixes.

Chicken aspic on a plate with a parsley garnish. (Image: Malgorzata Biernikiewicz/iStock/Getty Images)

Basic Nutrition

One envelope of plain gelatin powder – approximately 1 tbsp. – contains 23 calories. To prepare this gelatin, you add tap water or bottled water, which does not contribute calories to the final product. While you may consume plain gelatin by itself, the more common options include adding fruit or mixing this plain gelatin into other recipes, so your total caloric intake is greater. You also take in 5.9 g of protein, or 3.3 to 11.8 percent of the quantity of protein you should consume each day. Plain gelatin contains no carbohydrates, but it does have 0.01 g of fat.

Copper Content

Consume a serving of plain gelatin, and you take in 8 percent of the copper you should get each day. You do not need a great deal of copper in your diet, but it plays an important role, contributing to hemoglobin, melanin and collagen production. Evidence available in the July 2006 edition of the "American Journal of Hematology" reports that copper deficiency may be associated with the development of anemia; eating plain gelatin may help avoid this.

Selenium Content

One serving of plain gelatin provides 4 percent of the daily recommended intake of selenium, a mineral important for the production of antioxidants. It is especially important to increase both antioxidant levels and selenium intake when you suffer from lung cancer. Research published in the April 2011 issue of the journal "Nutrition" indicates that both early and late stage lung cancer patients have less of these nutrients in their bodies due to malnutrition possibly triggered by stress or treatment.

Warnings

Vegans and vegetarians should take note that plain gelatin is not appropriate for their specialized diets. This gelatin is made primarily from the skin of pigs as well as the skin and bones of cattle. In order to be compliant with vegan and vegetarian diets, remove all animal-based products, including plain gelatin, from your diet.

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