Many different types of foods contain gelatin, including peanuts, marshmallows, Jell-O, yogurt, gummy candies and some sour cream brands, among other foods. The best way to determine if a food contains gelatin is to read the product's label.
Gelatin is derived from collagen, which is achieved through the boiling of animal bones, ligaments, skin or tendons with water. Gelatin is usually produced from cows and pigs.
Gelatin is found in a number of food and non-food items, including:
- Candies - Altoids, Starburst chews and other gummy candies use gelatin to achieve their consistency.
- Desserts - Many desserts, including Jell-O, pudding, marshmallows, ice cream and cakes, contain gelatin.
- Dairy - Some dairy items, including yogurt and sour cream, include gelatin as an ingredient.
- Cereal - Some frosted cereals use gelatin.
- Nuts - Some peanuts use gelatin as a coating to help hold the salt on the nuts.
- Cosmetics - Cosmetics and beauty products, such as shampoos and face masks, include gelatin as an ingredient.
Because gelatin is derived from animal products, it is not considered vegetarian or vegan. Vegetarians and vegans can use the alternative product called agar in place of gelatin. Agar is derived from seaweed rather than an animal product. Vegetarians and vegans should also be aware that products that are marked "kosher" are not necessarily free from all animal products, and the best way to maintain a specific diet is by reading labels.