This article is focusing to answer the question “Is Jello Gluten Free” since gluten is a natural protein that is found in grains like rye, barley, wheat berries, spelt, durum, emmer, semolina, farina, farro, graham, khorasan wheat, einkorn, and triticale (a blend of wheat and rye) and wheat. Gluten can also be found in soy sauce and oats (through cross contamination). The function of the gluten is to give that stretchy quality to the grains and bind them together.
There are many health benefits of gluten like; it feeds on the good bacteria found in the body thereby making it a prebiotic, Intake of gluten can help reduce the chances of having stroke, gluten consumption can lower the risk of having heart disease and it has low calories and is free of fats.
Even with all the above benefits, there are people who experience side effects when they take gluten. Some side effects are;
- Weight loss
- Intestinal damages
- Anemia especially in people with celiac disease.
WHAT IS JELLO?
Jello is a sweet, jiggly dessert made from gelatin, sugar and fruit flavor. There are different varieties of flavor that you can get. The gelatin is made from a protein gotten from animals skin, tendons, ligaments, and bones. Apart from the gelatin which is the major ingredient, jello contains sweetener like aspartame (an artificial calorie-free sweetener), artificial flavors (chemicals that are made to look like the natural flavor of foods) and food coloring which are made to look like the flavor of each jello.
Jello can be made at home using the packaged powder or you can buy the prepared ones in supermarkets. Because the gelatin which is the major ingredient is made from animal protein, jello made with gelatin is not classified as a vegetarian food. There are also jello desserts that are made with plant-based material, these ones can be called vegetarian dessert.
IS JELLO GLUTEN FREE?
The brand of fruit-flavoured dessert and the manufacturers will determine if there is gluten or not. Jello is a registered trademark of Kraft Foods Group, Inc. and is based in Chicago, Illinois. From the above mentioned ingredients, there is no presence of gluten. Even though there is no gluten in the ingredients, many companies do not tell consumers that the product is gluten free because there may be cases of cross contamination from the factory or any other means.
Is jello gluten free? The manufacturer of jello, Is jello gluten free? The manufacturer of jello, Kraft foods made a statement regarding this, “Gluten content can almost always be determined from the label, and the most accurate information can be found by checking the ingredient list on our packages. For labeling purposes, Kraft products list all sources of gluten, including gluten-containing grains (wheat, barley, rye, oats, triticale, spelt, kamut, mir, farina) and other ingredients (e.g. “natural flavor (contains rye)”).
Made a statement regarding this, “Gluten content can almost always be determined from the label, and the most accurate information can be found by checking the ingredient list on our packages. For labeling purposes, Kraft products list all sources of gluten, including gluten-containing grains (wheat, barley, rye, oats, triticale, spelt, kamut, mir, farina) and other ingredients (e.g. “natural flavor (contains rye)”).
Kraft has a rigorous protocol to ensure that products bearing a gluten-free claim meet the FDA requirement (less than 20ppm gluten). However, you should know that we do not guarantee that our products are gluten-free because we sometimes purchase flavoring, color or spice ingredients from suppliers who do not list every possible source of gluten beyond what is required by law.”
HOW DO YOU SELECT A GLUTEN FREE JELLO?
Before eating already made jello, it is important that you check the package to know if gluten is listed as an ingredient, this will help you reduce the chances of consuming gluten-filled jello. Another way to make sure your jello has no gluten is by making it yourself, this is inarguably the best way to limit gluten intake. Making a jello requires few ingredients that can be easily gotten, also the steps are easy.
Ingredients for making Jello are:
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of gluten-free gelatin
- 1–2 cups (250–500 ml) of 100% fruit juice or fruit purée
- 1 cup (250 ml) of water
- Sugar or any other gluten-free sweetener to taste.
Procedures for preparing Jello are:
- First, 1/2 cup (125 ml) of fruit juice to a saucepan and warm it over low heat.
- After that, you add 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of gelatin and stir well.
- When the gelatin have completely dissolved in the juice, you remove it from heat and allow it to sit for 2 minutes.
- Now, add the remaining juice and water to the mixture and stir well.
- You can add more sweetener or sugar according to your taste. The sweetener should be added in little amounts so that they can dissolve very well.
- Finally, pour the mixture into a bowl or depending on the shape you want. Cover with a plastic wrap or lid and keep it inside a refrigerator for 4 hours. Your jello is ready.
IS EATING JELLO HEALTHY?
Jello can be healthy especially if you control the portion you consume at a time. The gelatin which is the most important ingredient has benefits to the body. Here are the following benefits:
Helping with Weight Loss
A study conducted in 2009 by the Maastricht University (The Netherlands) and published by the National Library of Medicine found that gelatin intake had increased appetite suppression and reduced energy intake. Consuming gelatin for a long period of time can be helpful to obesed people because it can suppress their appetite and reduce how they eat thereby inducing weight loss.
Improving Bone Health
National Institute of Health, USA in 2018 through their study suggests that eating collagen or food made from it can improve bone formation and reduce how bones degrade. Also, eating 5 grams of specific collagen peptides for 12 months can improve age-related bone mineral density in postmenopausal women.
Same institution in 2008 carried out a research on athletes and found out that athletes who are supplemented with collagen hydrolysate for 24 weeks experienced a reduction in joint pain. This suggests the gelatin in jello can reduce how the joints in the body deteriorate. Although more researches are needed to strongly confirm this claim.
SIDE EFFECTS OF EATING JELLO
Apart from the side effects of gluten, there are other reasons why jello is not considered as being completely healthy. Although there is collagen in jello, the amount in it is very low for the benefits it should give to the body.
According to Christine VanDoren, a certified nutritionist, “When you eat jello regularly, you may feel both positive and negative effects of it. The gelatin in the jello can help with your digestion, ease joint pain, improve sleep quality, and increase your bone strength. On the other end, it has also been known to cause bloating and heartburn. It is important to be aware that many people have a gelatin allergy, so proceed with caution if you have never consumed gelatin before”.
- There are no minerals, vitamins or other nutrients in it.
- It also has high sugar making it an unhealthy choice for a dessert.
- The sugar added to it can increase the risk of having cardiovascular disease, cancer, obesity, diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and cognitive decline ( National Library of Medicine, 2016).
- A study conducted by Cesare Maltoni Cancer Research Center (Italy) and published on the National Institute of Health website in 2014 showed that aspartame may exhibit carcinogenic effects.
- Constant eating of jello can increase your sugar cravings (The Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, 2010).
- Aspartame, which is the artificial sweetener used in making jello can lead to cell damage and inflammation (National Institute of Health, 2017).
- The artificial colors are made from ingredients gotten from petroleum and can be dangerous to health.
- They can cause cancer if they are not taken in very low doses (National Institute of Environmental Health Science, 2010).
- The artificial coloring or dye used in producing jello can cause behavioral changes in children if the doses exceed 50mg.
- Apart from the allergy to gluten, some people are allergic to gelatin-based products.
Jello is a dessert that is rich in gelatin but low in nutrients especially fibre. The collagen and gelatin in the dessert have some health benefits like bone improvement, joint pain relief, and weight loss aid however the other additives like the artificial sweetener and colorings used is known to be harmful to the human body especially if they are taken in large doses. While most brands and companies produce their hellos with natural colors (like beetroot, strawberry and carrot) and the natural flavor from the fruit itself, other companies may go for artificial colors and artificial flavoring agents.
It is advised that you check the ingredients for artificial sweetener and synthetic colorings before purchase. To reduce the harm caused by these sugar and dyes, you can prepare your own jello at home using natural ingredients. Jello is gluten free because there is no where on the package where gluten is listed as an ingredient but because of the environment where it is produced or cases of cross contamination, most manufacturers do not really certified their jello products as gluten free.