To say that everybody loves Jell-O is an understatement. It is present on almost all kiddie parties, as well as during Halloween and holidays preparation.
True enough, Jell-O is also a good dessert substitute for cakes and carb-laden sweets because it is known to be gluten-free. But how true is this claim?
In this post, we will basically answer all FAQs surrounding the gluten-free nature of Jell-O. If this hits a spot in your plans to have a keto diet, then read on.
Is Jell-O gluten free?
So, let us settle this once and for all. Is Jell-O gluten-free? Well, the answer is yes. It is a fruit-flavored gelatin from Kraft and the firmest indicator of it being gluten-free is its seal from FDA. It means that Jell-O was able to comply with the mandated less than 20 million ppm for a product to be considered as gluten-free.
However, Kraft admits to not having a 100% gluten-free facility. They have posted a statement on their website about them sourcing organic food dye which may contain an amount of glutenous products in them. It is a part of their corporate responsibility for people with celiac disease to consume Jell-O with caution.
Why is it called Jell-O?
Jell-O was born and raised in LeRoy, New York City. It was a dessert discovery by cough syrup manufacturer Pearle and Mary Wait. The name Jell-O was trademarked by the couple in 1897.
The original Jell-O mixture was made from sugar and granulated gelatin. The trademark was then passed on to many companies in the years to come until it fell to the hands of Kraft Heinz in the 1920s.
What is Jell-O made of?
This jiggly treat that comes in many colors is a staple kiddie treat. But what exactly is it made of? Note that Jell-O is a gelatin brand. As such, it is not made of purely organic gelatin alone.
If you look at the ingredients label of the box, it reflects there that Jell-O is made of gelatin, sugar, adipic acid, sodium citrate, fumaric acid, disodium phosphate, 2% artificial flavor, as well as food-grade dye.
As far as the other ingredients in making Jell-O is concerned, it may not sit well for those who do not know. Gelatin is made from animal bones, skin, ligaments, and lots of water. It is boiled for days until what is left is the collagen from these key ingredients. As such, gelatin is not good for those on a vegan lifestyle.
Jell-O nutrition info
For you to know what you are getting in consuming Jell-O, here is a breakdown of the nutrition info of this product.
What type of gelatin is in Jell-O?
Jell-O is primarily made of pig and cow bones, skin, and ligament. This is where the collagen that makes the gelatin jiggly come from. This is also the reason why Jell-O is considered as a non-Kosher product and cannot be sealed with halal. Nonetheless, it is still gluten-free and dairy-free.
Is Jell-O dairy-free?
Yes. Jell-O is both gluten-free and dairy-free so this is a good news for those who love gelatin but are dairy allergic or lactose intolerant.
Even when you prepare it, using dairy products with Jell-O is never required. If you have specific recipes that require milk or other dairy with Jell-O, then that is the only time when it is not dairy-free.
How to select a gluten-free Jell-O
There is only one way to make sure that you are selecting a gluten-free Jell-O. To do this, make sure that you are only buying Kraft or other trusted brands.
When you are not buying Kraft’s Jell-O, make sure to check the seal at the back. If it is FDA approved gluten-free or GFCO approved, then you are sure that the gelatin is gluten-free.
Is Knox gelatin gluten-free?
Of all the gelatin brands out there, Knox is one of the few which you can really say that is gluten-free. It is purely made of gelatin, which we all know is naturally gluten-free.
As for the nutrition information, Knox gelatin has 2g of protein content and nothing else: trans fat, sugar, nada. As such, it is one of the more popular household names when it comes to gelatin-based desserts.
It is also very easy to incorporate so there is no wonder as to why it is also the preferred gelatin brand of a lot of those on strict gluten-free diets. The top recipes done with Knox gelatin are of course the 4th of July Jell-O shots, gluten-free hamburgers, coffee jellies, watermelon margarita jellies, and panna cotta.
Is Jell-O pudding gluten-free?
Yes. All Jell-O pudding products, including the pudding mix, instant pudding, vanilla pudding, and chocolate pudding, are all regarded as gluten-free because they are made from Kraft. Although Kraft does not 100% claim that their Jell-O products are gluten-free because of shared facilities, they are certified by FDA as gluten-free.
So far, all Jell-O pudding flavors are considered as gluten-free. Perhaps, the only pudding flavor which admittedly contains glutenous content would be the instant cheesecake pudding flavor as it contains rye, wheat, and barley.
Are Jell-O cook and serve pudding gluten-free?
As far as Kraft Jell-O cook and serve pudding is considered, all flavors are regarded as gluten-free. With that being said, the following flavors from Jell-O cook and serve could be eaten guilt-free if you every buy one:
- Jell-O Cook & Serve Cream Pudding & Pie Filling
- Banana, Coconut
- Jell-O Cook & Serve Pudding & Pie Filling
- Banana, Butterscotch, Chocolate, Coconut, Lemon, Vanilla
- Jell-O Cook & Serve Chocolate Fudge Pudding
- Jell-O Cook and Serve Sugar Free Vanilla Pudding
- Jell-O Tapioca Fat-Free Cook & Serve Pudding & Pie
There is a bit of reservation though. Although Kraft admits to using cornstarch as the thickening agent used in their cook and serve Jell-O, you would also find the mention of dextrose in the ingredients label. We know that this is a glutenous material, so you have to dig deeper about this if you want to. Nonetheless, as far as Kraft and seal are concerned, this one is gluten-free.
Is strawberry Jell-O gluten-free?
Yes. While you would not find it usually in the list of gluten-free Jell-O products, the label that all Jell-O variants are gluten-free except for very few flavors (in which strawberry is not a part), is enough for you not to be wary about glutenous contents in strawberry Jell-O.
You can also make a gluten-free strawberry Jell-O pie even without wheat, eggs, soy, peanuts, dairy and other nuts.
Is Jell-O tapioca pudding gluten-free?
According to Scott Adams of the Celiac Org., Jell-O tapioca pudding is gluten-free. It is categorized in the long line of gluten-free products of Jell-O.
As have been said, almost all Jell-O products are certified as gluten-free except for the Jell-O cheesecake pudding. So again, this is something that you can indulge on without worrying about it being glutenous.
Is sugar-free Jell-O gluten-free?
This one is one of the most common questions about sugar-free Jell-O. While it is gluten-free, it is not entirely sugar free even when it is labeled as such. The ordinary Jell-O does contain 19g of sugar per serving.
The sugar-free ones are lessened at 6.4g of sugar per serving. It does not taste as sweet as the regular ones because it is sweetened with aspartame, which by the way is an artificial sweetener.
Let us reserve the thorough discussion regarding aspartame for later. But what we do know is that health experts and the whole medical and nutrition society would tell us that prolonged consumption of aspartame can have a lot of adverse effects on our health.
Why should Jell-O be limited to children?
The most documented answer to this question is because over-eating Jell-O could cause constipation and kids of course, could not tend on their own when they experience such discomfort. Jell-O or all types of gelatin is considered as a binding agent just like cheese, apples, and bananas.
Why is Jell-O a staple dessert in hospitals?
This is a very relatable question and the answer to that is because Jell-O is considered as a clear liquid. Whatever the color of Jell-O, it will become clear under prolonged stay in room temperature. And since doctors often put post-op patients to a strict clear liquids consumption after surgery or any major procedure, Jell-O found its niche in hospitals.
While Jell-O is one of the best things that defined our childhood, it is not a perfect gelatin on a cup. Some of its upsides would be its gluten-free and dairy-free nature. But what comes with these would be drawbacks such as it is containing artificial sweeteners like aspartame.
Jell-O is a generation marker; no kid ever grows up without knowing what Jell-O is. But just like everything, it must also be taken in moderation and with caution, especially for those on strict gluten-free diets or those with other illnesses that might be compromised.