For many of us, gelatin brings back warm childhood memories of Jell-O and gummy bears. Gelatin is used in many ways in cooking and in storebought prepared foods, from cake decorating to ice cream and marshmallows. Some chefs call gelatin a special secret ingredient that helps them achieve just the right texture or aesthetics in a dish.
But what about your keto kitchen? Can you consume gelatin on a ketogenic diet? What exactly is gelatin, and what are its benefits? Are there keto-friendly jellies and gummies?
What Is Gelatin?
Gelatin is a colorless and tasteless protein obtained by cooking collagen. Collagen and gelatin are similar, but their chemical structures aren’t exactly the same. Check out our detailed article for more information on the benefits of collagen.
The heat involved in cooking collagen changes its molecular properties. Boiling or cooking the bones, tendons, skin, and ligaments of animals, such as cows or pigs, breaks down the collagen into a protein called gelatin. Bone broth, for example, is brimming with gelatin. Gelatin has gelling properties, only dissolves in hot water, and thickens when cooled.   
Gelatin is an ingredient in various drinks, foods, medicines, and cosmetics. Chefs and food manufacturers use gelatin to thicken soups and sauces and bind ingredients together. It’s even implemented in photographic processes and the production of glue.
Gelatin is sometimes processed further to create collagen hydrolysate–a substance containing the same amino acids and health benefits as gelatin. Collagen hydrolysate dissolves in cool water and doesn’t form a jelly. Both collagen hydrolysate and gelatin are available as supplements in granule or powder form. Gelatin and collagen are derived from animal parts, so they aren’t suitable for vegans.