5 Reasons Why Nearly Everyone Should Eat Gelatin | Chris Kresser
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5 Reasons Why Nearly Everyone (Even Vegetarians) Should Eat Gelatin

by Laura Beth Schoenfeld, RD

Last updated on

gelatin, benefits of gelatin
Incorporating more gelatin into your diet could be as simple as this yummy gelatin dessert. Antonio Mu±oz palomares/Hemera/Thinkstock

There are so many amazing benefits that can come from eating gelatin, including improvements in digestive, skin, and mental health. Plus, gelatin can be used to make a yummy, all-natural dessert that’s actually good for us.

So why aren’t we eating more of it?

Traditional diets are typically much higher in gelatin than our modern diets, because these cultures wisely practiced nose-to-tail eating and consumed parts of the animal that are high in gelatin, such as skin, tendons, and other gelatinous cuts of meat.

We’ve lost the practice of whole-animal eating, and vegetarians typically don’t eat many (or any!) animal products. This means that we’re eating a lot less gelatin than our ancestors, if any at all. The following five reasons will explain why nearly everyone – even vegetarians – should be eating gelatin on a regular basis!

Whether you eat meat or not, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting some gelatin in your diet. Here’s why!

1. Gelatin Balances out Your Meat Intake.

Muscle meats and eggs are high in methionine, an amino acid that raises homocysteine levels in the blood and increases our need for homocysteine-neutralizing nutrients like vitamins B6, B12, folate, and choline.

We don’t want high homocysteine in our blood because homocysteine is a significant risk factor for serious diseases like heart disease, stroke, mental illness, and fractures. (This might even explain why researchers sometimes find a correlation between high meat intake and various diseases.)

Those eating lots of animal protein need adequate glycine to balance out the methionine from meat, and you’ll get that from gelatin. For more information, check out Denise Minger’s awesome presentation, where she discusses this very issue.

2. Gelatin Heals Your Gut.

Gelatin can also improve gut integrity and digestive strength by enhancing gastric acid secretion and restoring a healthy mucosal lining in the stomach; low stomach acid and an impaired gut barrier are two common digestive problems in our modern society. Gelatin also absorbs water and helps keep fluid in the digestive tract, promoting good intestinal transit and healthy bowel movements.

Gelatin-rich soups and broths are also one of the key components of the GAPS diet, which has been designed to heal the gut and promote healthy digestion. And healthy intestinal cells prevent leaky gut, which is often at the root of many food intolerances, allergies, inflammatory conditions, and autoimmune diseases.

3. Gelatin Makes Your Skin Healthy and Beautiful.

Gelatin is a known promoter of skin health. Gelatin provides glycine and proline, two amino acids that are used in the production of collagen. Collagen is one of the primary structural elements of skin, so providing the building blocks for this important protein can ensure that your body is able to create enough of it.

A diet rich in gelatin may also protect against the aging effects of sunlight, preventing wrinkles in the future. So if you eat gelatin, you’ll feel less guilty about getting regular, unprotected sun exposure to boost your vitamin D, because your skin will be more resilient to damage! (Yay!)

4. Gelatin Protects Your Joints.

Body builders have been using gelatin for decades to help improve joint health and reduce inflammation. And research shows that athletes who took a hydrolyzed collagen supplement experienced less pain in their joints, which could help improve performance for athletes and competitive fitness buffs. If you exercise a lot, eating gelatin can help keep your joints healthy and pain-free.

Also, if you have inflammatory joint or bone diseases like arthritis or osteoporosis, getting adequate gelatin can potentially help you manage inflammation and pain in your joints, and build stronger bones.

5. Gelatin Helps You Sleep.

Glycine from gelatin has been found to help with sleep. One study found that 3 grams of glycine given to subjects before bedtime produced measurable improvements in sleep quality. Many of my clients swear by gelatin as an effective sleep aid without bothersome side effects, in contrast to medications and even natural sleep aids like melatonin, which can sometimes cause grogginess.

Glycine is also an inhibitory neurotransmitter, which can decrease anxiety and promote mental calmness. This is because glycine antagonizes norepinephrine, a stress hormone which causes feelings of anxiety and panic. Gelatin can thus help keep you calm and sleeping through the night.

How to Eat More Gelatin

The traditional way to get gelatin is from skin, gelatinous meats, and bone broths. Those who eat a Paleo or ancestral diet can easily include these foods, but vegetarians and vegans will find these health benefits difficult to get from a largely plant-based diet. Gelatin is only found in animal foods that come from the body of the animal itself.

For vegetarians (and even omnivores!) I recommend getting a high-quality gelatin powder to add to food or to create yummy, healthy gelatinous desserts. Gelatin is somewhat more environmentally-friendly than lean meat because it uses parts of the animal that might not be used otherwise. And it’s much easier to digest than normal muscle meat, making it a good gateway food for vegetarians branching out into a more ancestral diet. (And in case you think vegetarians aren’t ever using any parts of the animal, think again.)

My favorite brand of gelatin is Great Lakes, which comes from grass-fed animals. It’s available in both hydrolyzed and whole form; each type has its own health benefits.

Hydrolyzed means the protein is broken into individual amino acids, making them easier to absorb. Use this type to improve skin and joint health or get better sleep. Hydrolyzed gelatin can be mixed into any type of liquid, including cold liquids, so it can be added to cold smoothies or juices easily. It also is great as a real food protein powder.

Whole protein gelatin is better for improving gut health. It helps carry fluid through the intestines, and can even coat the lining of the digestive tract as a soothing and protective layer. This is the type used to make gummies or jello snacks, and must be mixed into warm liquids.

Fish gelatin is available for those who prefer not to consume land animals.

One population who may need to be careful about consuming gelatin or gelatin powders are those with histamine intolerance; some people report a histamine reaction to these foods and thus gelatin may not be appropriate for those with severe intolerances.

Note: Chris Kresser has not reviewed this post and is not responsible or liable for any errors in content. This is general nutrition information only and should not be used in the place of medical advice for the prevention or treatment of any diagnosed condition.

450 Comments

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  1. I’ve had sleep issues for quite some time now, but I’ve never tried taking glycine! Do you know if it’s safe to take while pregnant? Actually, I should also ask, is the extra gelatin safe during pregnancy? Thank you much!

  2. So if you have some stomach issues and joint pain would taking one type in the morning and the other in the evening help?

  3. I’ve upped my gelatin intake recently. I’ve just tried both oxtails and shanks, and really liked both cuts. I’ve tried marrow bones before, and never really liked them, but the marrow in the bones with the shanks is the perfect amount. I’ve also been making more bone broth. On top of that, I’ve been using both the gelatin and hydrolized collagen (which dissolves much better). I’ll use the gelatin as a snack with some unsweetened applesauce and coconut milk. Even reminds me of a few desserts I used to love as a kid.

    • John, do you just mix the applesauce, coconut milk and gelatin together like a pudding? I’m always looking for simple bedtime snack ideas and want to increase my gelatin intake.

      • Yep, that’s what I do. I use light coconut milk from Trader Joes, mainly cause it stays in liquid form much better than regular coconut milk (the fat seems to clump up near the top in regular coconut milk). That said, coconut cream is delicious, and I use it in coffee all the time.

      • cocoa, honey, coconut oil, coconut milk and and gelatin. with nuts and dried berries. that’s my pudding. mighty delicious a snack too!

  4. I’ve got tripe, beef tongue & veal foot slow-cooking right now – how a propos! 🙂

    Could you expand on the histamine point you made? Also, please throw in a few of the studies/links you used to make that point – I’d like to explore them starting from where you did.

    Thanks!

  5. Well written Laura. Dr. Cate Shanahan speaks on the glycosaminoglycans found in traditionally made bone broth pertaining to joint health as well.

    It’s exhausting listening to people with the inability to understand your message.

    Very few have the ability to think for themselves entirely anymore. Everyone wants to be told EXACTLY what to do.

    Vegetarians/Vegans take the supplement form if you dare toe the line in the effort for optimal health while maintaining ethical standards.

    Omnivores: Make your own bone broth, specifically joints and knuckle bones will be highest in collagen

    Glycine is a much needed precursor to Glutathione, our bodies “Master antioxidant”.

    Eating only skeletal muscle cuts is in essence a refined food.

    Much love to all in their own pursuit of health.
    http://www.SubjectiveSustenance.com

  6. You had me sold on needing more gelatin … until I read the paragraph …’except those who are histamine intolerant.” – something I discovered in myself about a month ago. I still like knowing all the good things gelatin can do for the body and maybe I can treat myself if/when the histamine thing is resolved. Great information…Thanks!

  7. “We’ve lost the practice of whole-animal eating”

    Who have? White people? Lots of cultures/people/families still practice whole-animal eating.

      • Brazil is totally following. Lots of lean red meat and hormone fed chicken, little saturated fats, and LOADS of soy oil and margarine. Beef heart, tongue, liver, tail, hooves, breast bones, etc. are sold in most places but the consumption is very low in comparison.

  8. So as a lifelong vegetarian who is allergic to gelatin,I think I’ll stick to seaweed.

    • allergic to gelatin! poor you! never heard about that condition. you might be the only one having it. how did you find out you were allergic to gelatin if you are vegetarian? just curious.

  9. How much gelatin/glycine is too much? I have adopted this a while back. I take about 6-10 tablespoons of Great Lakes Gelatin. Is this too much? Yes, I end up getting well over 100g of Gelatin at times.

    Personally I don’t see this as a supplement. But your thoughts would be great!

    • It’s really hard to say if that’s too much, though I’d argue that it would be difficult to get that much from eating gelatinous meat on a daily basis, which is the way our ancestors would have eaten it.

        • Depends on where they lived. In Europe, and more so the more north you get, meat was common food.

          In Afrika, I guess they eat more fruit. Man ate what was easiest to get.

          The same with omega3-fish, rarely seen in Afrika, frequently seen in the north.

          Also, people with African genes, seems to age slower, and seems often to be de ones best suited for vegetarian diets. Maybe we have adapted somewhat to where we came from, so that kaucasians are in bigger need of glycine?

          Nothing seems to be simple. So what about an African man living in Finland, or a Norwegian living in Africa? Since both genes and “where one lives” is important in my way of looking at it, the two scenarios is sort of “no good”.

          I really can’t see an easy “diet for all”. I would like that, but it does not seem to be possible.

    • Due to its high glycine content, large amounts of gelatin consumed regularly can cause serious depression. I don’t have time right now to explain it all, but I recommend doing a search on “glycine and depression.” Glycine is, of course, a necessary nutrient, and most of us need more of it, but going overboard with it can cause serious problems, namely depression.

  10. I’m confused. Eggs have high levels of Choline which is supposed to lower homocysteine levels.
    Also, you’re saying that eating red meat is unhealthy?… meanwhile Kresser, Sisson, Wolf, et al, have been defending it forever.

    • She’s not saying that red meat is unhealthy. She’s just saying that you need to eat more than just the muscle meat. We evolved eating the whole animal, including muscle, skin, organs, etc. Other societies tend to do this better than we do, for example, the French.

      Denise Minger has a good lecture on this:

  11. Why are we worried about vegetarians and vegans?

    Akin to ” 5 reasons why even smokers should brush their teeth.

  12. I’m a vegetarian. I took gelatin every day for 6 months and saw absolutely no benefits. I quit rather than gag twice a day every day!

    • Well, benefits that are seen years later (such as slower skin aging), or healing leaky gut (one has to cut down on raw vegetables and fibres too in the beginning) I think can’t be seen in some months with just adding gelatin to a diet rich in fibres and probably rich in raw vegetables.

  13. I have arthritis in my fingers and gelatin has been the only real help for that. It has almost eliminated the pain. I’ve tried many different supplements and changes to my diet and this has been the biggest help. It works quickly, too.

      • There is no taste to the hydrolyzed collagen from Great Lakes. None at all. It’s like drinking water. I add it to my bulletproof coffee and it’s not noticeable in the least. There’s nothing to fear.

  14. Hi Laura
    Can you please provide any research to back up your claim that gelatin heals a leaky gut, ie. repairs tight junction function?. Also, how does it actually “restore the mucosal barrier”?
    Thank you

  15. I’ve been looking into gelatin, and using it with regard to gut healing from diverticulitis. The Great Lakes works well for making gummie squares. I use diluted Concord grape juice. It feels soothing, and I imagine it is a good thing. But who knows.

    I’ve read recently that collagen is not necessarily a beneficial thing to encourage in our bodies as we age, because of its tendency to accumulate and harden. And too much glycine is problematic. A little Googling makes gelatin a little less appealing.

    So I am putting gelatin under my general category of “now and then,” where most processed foods of even the “healthy?” kind are now. And certainly, gelatin is a processed food. As the Jaminets say, “the dose makes the poison.”

    In fact, I am wary and respectful dose-wise of ANYTHING someone says should be consumed in greater quantities as a “cure” of any sort.

    Everything we do to “correct” one condition can inadvertently cause another one. I had a lot of time in the hospital to think about that fact. So. Balance and good sense must rule the day.

    • Do you have some evidence that consuming gelatin as a food is harmful in reasonable quantities? And gelatin from gelatinous meat isn’t processed so you can always eat that if you’re concerned.

      • I make no claim in my comment that reasonable quantities are harmful. I advocate caution and doing a little research about potential problems with substances gelatin contains.

        We don’t have any idea what harmful or healing doses of gelatin would be. So it seems a little restraint should be advised, especially with the processed product. Far easier, I would think, to get “too much” gelatin from it than from bone broth!

        • or oxtail for that matter, which i just finished a plate and it was yummy 🙂 you’re right. i take the natural form over the processed one anytime. too bad the vegetarians can’t do the same.

          • too bad you don’t get a kick in the mouth by a cow trying to prevent you from making SOUP with her body part.

        • We have the experience of thousands of generations of hunter-gatherers from all over the world not suffering from joint disorders or gut dysbiosis as testament to the safety of consuming animal gelatin.

    • “Everything we do to “correct” one condition can inadvertently cause another one”

      Hi,

      I can only confirm this view, I started using Great Lakes Gelatine after reading this article and then also a couple of other articles on the subject, also to heal my leaky gut, for joint pain etc, I bought Great Lakes gelatine, and started using the green hydrolyzed one that dissolves in cold liquids, it made me soooo sick, still I was happy that I tried it, because it was the final clue that made me realize that I am sensitive to free glutamic acid, which affects my mental health in extreme ways, makes me depressed and OCD-ish, have avoided yeast for years due to this, but I never knew what was the reason behind, now I know, Great Lakes write on their homepage that their products contain very little free glutamic acid, probably true, I’m just extremely sensitive then, in case this interests you here are the links

      http://www.greatlakesgelatin.com/consumer/noMSG.php
      http://www.truthinlabeling.org/SourcesBrochure.pdf
      http://www.truthinlabeling.org/hiddensources_printable.pdf
      http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/02/22/vaccines-depression-and-neurodegeneration-after-age-50.aspx
      http://www.msgtruth.org/depress.htm

      • Hi Anne

        I also have a problem with free glutamic acid.
        Have you tried the non-hydrolysed form of collagen?

        • Hi Matt,

          sorry for the late reply!

          So happy to hear from someone else experiencing this problem!

          I did buy both the hydrolyzed and the non-hydrolyzed gelatin from Great Lakes, I have not yet tried the non-hydrolyzed one yet, don’t know, if I dare try it, as it is recommended to avoid gelatin in general, if you’re sensitive to msg, even the smallest of gel caps can make me very sick, so I think I’ll avoid trying it out. Don’t know if gel caps use hydrolyzed or non-hydrolyzed gelatin?

          Found out something else, digestion frees glutamic acid/glutamate, so even if you try to avoid what’s “free” beforehand (almost all foods contain “free glutamate” in different amounts!), you’ll end up “getting it” and I guess we must, cause it’s a neurotransmitter, the problem is getting the right amount.

          How do we end up getting too much? I think leaky gut plays a role and also increased blood-brain barrier permeability (inflammation).

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Excitotoxicity

          http://paleohacks.com/questions/32526/if-glutamic-acid-msg-is-natural-why-is-it-bad.html

          What are your symptoms, neurological or allergy-like? As far as I can see, surfing the internet, some people “only” have allergy-like symptoms.

          For me this whole problem started with a Candida yeast infection, and I am certain that it is the Yeast that is the culprit.

          My (conventional) doctor does not belive that Candida has got anything to do with it, but I have had some email contact with a swedish neuroscientist who confirmed to me that studies show that Candida Yeast can drive the synthesis of quinolinic acid (marker for inflammation and neurotoxicity). And as far as I have understood quinolinic acid is a substance that strengthens glutamate signalling in the brain.

          Did you check if you have a Candida yeast problem?

          For me the worst foods are yeast (incl. alcohol) and fermented foods (all milk products except cream and uncultured/sweet cream butter are fermented), how do you do with those foods?

          When reading this comment keep in mind that I do not have any education within medicine or nutrition, this is just how I have understood the subject (or not!) as a layman 😉

          Anne

    • Joints don’t operate on gelatin alone. They require co-factors — namely glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, glycosaminoglycans, and hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is available in a wide variety of plant and animals. The other substances, however, are found exclusively in bones.

  16. “Those eating lots of animal protein need adequate glycine to balance out the methionine from meat, and you’ll get that from gelatin.”

    SO – if you’re a vegetarian then why would you need gelatin??

    • You’re right, #1 doesn’t really make sense in an article titled “5 reasons why even vegetarians…” but the other 4 apply.

      • Many more vegetarians are ovo-lacto, rather than vegans. I think the ration is about 7 to 1. So if eggs are your main protein source, #1 could apply.

    • Oh, I don’t know — maybe because animal bones come not only with gelatin, but with 2 of the 3 co-factors for maintaining joint tissue (glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin). Or maybe it’s for the efficiency in obtaining fat-soluble vitamins: A,D, E, and K2, of which A & K2 are found in bio-available form only from animals. Or maybe it’s for the fats that transport these vitamins to their destinations without harming the body from the excessive amounts omega-6 fatty acids found in plants. Or maybe it’s because humans suck at converting the plant form of omega-3 fats, required for cell membrane fluidity, to the bio-available form. Or maybe its because of the many endocrine functions that animal fats perform. Or maybe it’s because they don’t want to graze all day to eat the massive quantities of plant foods required to approach the level of nutrition provided quickly by animal products.

      Do any of those sound plausible?

  17. Eating gelatin may be great for your health, but IMO you have no business calling yourself a vegetarian if you ingest it.

    • I see a whole lot of confusion between vegetarian (eats SOME meat/fish) and vegan (eats NO meat)–vegans are the ones who won’t consume gelatin because of its animal origins, and they substitute with a seaweed-derived product called agar-agar. I’m not familiar with the nutrient profile of agar-agar, and do not know if it affects the joints, cartilage, and so forth, as regular animal-derived gelatin does.

      • Neither vegans nor vegetarians eat any meat. Most vegetarians eat dairy and/or eggs. Vegans try to avoid all animal products, even ones like honey. (I am neither.)

      • Vegetarians, as a general rule, don’t eat any animal products that require the animal to be killed. Many, however, will eat dairy and eggs, as those don’t harm the animal (of course, assuming the animal is treated humanely, which is a whole other issue).

        Vegans, on the other hand, don’t consume any type of foods from animals, including foods that contain dairy or eggs.

        I can’t imagine anyone considering themselves a true vegetarian and eating gelatin.

      • You most certainly have no idea that the word VEGETARIAN comes from the word vegetables.

        Anyone who consumes ANY part of ANY animal has no business calling themselves a VEGEtarian.

        • What difference does it make what you call yourself? Whatever choice we make regarding our personal food intake is just that- a personal choice. Do you think there is an award for Vegetarian (or Vegan) of the Year? Don’t be a hater. Be brave. Balance is a beautiful and healthful thing; try to achieve it!

          • Exactly. who cares about the title, unless that’s the only reason you eat a certain way is to be part of a “club”.

            If you eat for HEALTH reasons, then you will be very interested in the several reasons Chris Kresser listed above for consuming Gelatin & long term health of mind & body & nerves.

            If you want a cleaner & higher quality source, try Great Lakes Gelatin. The company is VERY good answering questions. One day the CEO picked up the phone & answered my questions.

            • Agree. I do not follow any diet 100 %. I basically eat paleo, but rather high carb and include everything that is healthy and I can feel is doing me good.

              I also make exceptions, not with the worst kind of food, but like I do not eat grains, but can occasionally eat white flour. Just to not feel as bound to a diet as I did before, or to not be the one no one wants to invite because “she eats nothing normal” when I do not have to.

              Eating really strict without exceptions must be done if you have gluten intolerance or something of course.

              Following a protocol 100 % strictly, without considering any exceptions due to health, is kind of counter productive.

              I can hear “dairy isn’t paelo” how many times as one possibly could, but will not give up what has done the most for my health (raw milk that is, not sugary fruit yoghurts with no fat). I can also hear people ranting about carbs, but my metabolism is increasing steadily from them, so I will keep it up wether or not they suit the title of my diet.

              Why can’t people just follow their own health and body? Do NOT follow a protocol, follow YOUR protocol (which also is what Kresser talks about).

              I understand that vegans have other things than health in mind, but it certainly doesn’t mean that food with animal origin is not healthy. All of our system is designed for omnivore style of eating, wherre animal should be eaten “nose to tail” not just lean meat and throw the rest.

      • Actually if you eat any meat–which has and will always include both fish and chicken—then you are not a vegetarian. There are lactovegetarians who may consume dairy products; there are ovovegetaians who may consume egg; and then there are lactoovovegetarians who may consume both. Vegans consume neither and also additionally exclude other items that came from animals such as beeswax and honey. None consume animal – based gelatin.

      • It seems you are confused yourself.
        Vegetarians eat no living tissues from animals (including fish). Many will eat nothing that is made using living tissues such as beer and wine being produced with isinglass from fish not in the finished product, but used as part of the process.

        Vegans are vegetarians that also eat nothing that contains anything produced by an animal such as milk, eggs, and honey (though some may make an exception for honey, often due to the bee crisis though that is a whole other kettle of fish).

    • In my opinion, if you use computers and other things made with animal byproducts, you look silly trying to tell others what it means to be an authentic vegetarian.

      • Not to mention how many animals get killed, poisoned and/or abused by modern farming practices. Or that have been exterminated to clear land for various types of PLANTations (where do you think the word originated?). I lived in KS for a while, where the State song is “Home on the Range”. There haven’t been any buffalo roaming or antelope playing there for a long, long time. It’s border-to-border wheat fields and feedlots. As for those who eschew honey because producing it “exploits” the bees, they have no qualms about eating bee-pollinated crops. Compare the exploitation of bees in pollination hives, hauled from pillar to post to pollinate crops in strange fields, with the lifestyle of bees producing honey. I don’t think these folks are being hypocritical. I think it’s an “out of sight, out of mind” malfunction.

        • “Natural” Bee keeping consists of practices that work with the Bees, not Aganst their best interests. Practices such as only removing Honey when the Bees themselves want it gone, in the early spring when the Hive is intent on increasing numerically the number of empty cells for the queen to lay eggs in. Rather then the fall, when the Honey is truly needed for overwintering as fuel. Unlike other insects which sleep (diapause) Bees stay awake in smaller numbers, living longer in a tight ball which like humans prefers to stay at 70 degrees unill spring, consuming Honey as fuel. In spring, the core temp rises to 98.6 (like humans) at which point the queen starts laying fertile eggs. Instead of robbing Honey when needed, and feeding sugar to the Bees Natural Beekeepers take only when the Bees themselves don’t need the Honey.

      • It’s not silly to feel put off eating meat because if the cruelty that animals are treated with and maybe you just think cows are cute and don’t want to consume them. We can’t control the whole world but we definitely can control what and put in our mouth. It’s a start.

        • But it’s worse than silly to ignore the fact that a vegetarian diet can’t supply the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) from food, nor can that diet provide a way to transport those vitamins to their destinations, which get packaged in fats.

          The fats that a vegetarian diet provides, e.g., from tofu, are high in pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids. How can creating systemic inflammation in you body possibly be considered kind to yourself?

          It’s worse than silly to ignore that fact that without gelatin and its co-factors glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin, all of which are in bone broth, your joints are living on borrowed time. So are your bones, which depend on the latticework structure made possible by collagen for both tensile and transverse strength. The central component of collagen is gelatin. Without enough gelatin, your bones might be as dense as granite, but they’re much more likely to snap at the first heavy transverse impact.

          But it worse than silly to ignore the fact that a vegetarian diet can’t supply the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) from food, nor can that diet provide a way to transport those vitamins to their destinations, which get packaged in fats.

          The fats that a vegetarian diet provides, e.g., from tofu, are high in pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids. How can creating systemic inflammation in you body possibly be considered kind to yourself?

          It’s worse than silly to ignore that fact that without gelatin and its co-factors glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin, all of which are in bone broth, your joints are living on borrowed time. So are your bones, which depend on the latticework structure made possible by collagen for both tensile and transverse strength. The central component of collagen is gelatin. Without enough gelatin, your bones might be as dense as granite, but they’re much more likely to snap at the first heavy transverse impact.

          And as far as the ethics of eating animals, how is it more ethical to implicitly condone the destruction of massive amounts of wild habitat that sustains itself for agriculture and substitute a wildly unnatural and monocultural order on the land? Don’t small, ugly, and vital but non-sentient life, like bees, worms, and especially fungi, deserve the same consideration and compassion as sentient animals? Moreover, most agriculture uses enormous amounts of herbicides and pesticides, which run off and foul the environment. Even organic farms use pesticides, and they have to apply them more often because of their short duration of effectiveness. As the popularity of organic plant food increases, the amount of organic pesticide use increases, too. Do you really think you can feed huge numbers of people that shop at Whole Foods and the organic sections of major grocery stores by using integrated pest management, when customers demand cosmetically perfect produce? The number of organic arms that would be viable without some kind of herbicides and pesticides are small enough that most of the U.S. population would never see a vegetable for most of the year.

          And globally, there’s no way for 7 billion people to tread lightly on the earth, no matter what they eat, unless you insist that they eat only for bare survival.

          So stop arguing for self-harm and putting forth fatally-flawed ethical arguments.

          • I appreciated this article, but a lot of the comments here are remarkably disrespectful to vegetarians – I say this as a meat-eater myself. I think everyone should be conscious of where their food comes from and what the total cost was of producing it. When you consider that, there are arguments both for and against vegetarianism, but I think anyone who cares about ethics AT ALL and is actually *informed* about modern factory farming conditions would be shocked and horrified at how most meat, and especially eggs, are produced. The animals are basically tortured their entire lives – it’s tragic, and the most tragic is that it’s completely unnecessary – in many cases these practices are continued only to save pennies on the dollar. So, eating conventionally raised eggs and meat is far worse from an ethical standpoint than the harm that comes to wild animals due to farming, although both are bad.

            This is an issue that everyone – meat eaters just as much as vegetarians – should be concerned about, and an important part of that is advocating against animal cruelty. Other than avoiding animal products, buying local, pastured eggs and meat, or at least cage-free eggs and free-range meat (and eating more [non-endangered] fish, which is great for your health anyway) is a great way to avoid supporting animal cruelty.

            This article cites Denise Minger, whom I greatly admire. I wish more of the commenters here would take an attitude more like Ms. Minger’s, which is much more respectful to vegetarians. While there are certain healthy foods like gelatin whose benefits can’t be obtained on a vegetarian diet without supplementation, the fact is that with a little more science and a few tweaks, a vegetarian diet can be extremely healthy. The research indicates that the healthiest diets of all do include some meat (or at least fish), but if someone wants to be completely vegetarian for ethical reasons, I respect that and I think others should as well – our own personal health isn’t the only thing that matters. Here’s an article where Denise spoke to this very issue:
            http://rawfoodsos.com/2011/08/13/ancestral-health-symposium/

            In it she mentions that it’s actually possible to follow a paleo approach and still be a vegetarian. She also has a page on her blog dedicated to vegans:
            http://rawfoodsos.com/for-vegans/

            In it, she acknowledges that some people may want to remain vegetarian or vegan for ethical reasons, and helps them to make the most of their diet. I think that’s the right approach – there’s no need to marginalize people (and the same goes for holier-than-thou vegetarians). (Knowing Denise, I’m sure the suggestions on that page are very well-researched, although I’m dubious about whether practices like soaking nuts are actually necessary for all people – but overall there’s some excellent advice there.)

            Finally, with regard to gelatin, I’m convinced that it would be a good addition to my diet, and I’m personally ethically comfortable with it since it’s a byproduct that would just be thrown out otherwise, but I can understand why vegetarians are averse to supporting meat production in any way. Perhaps fish-eating vegetarians would be comfortable with fish gelatin (which I’m considering getting anyway, since Custom Collagen seems to be a good gelatin source as someone mentioned earlier). But I think it’s worth mentioning that with regard to the high methionine issue, another way of addressing it, in addition to nose-to-tail eating, is to simply eat less meat. You’ll miss out on the gelatin and some other goodies, but as I mentioned earlier, a vegetarian diet can still be nutritionally excellent if done right.

            One last note – it’s important to be clear that from a purely nutritional standpoint, vegetarianism that includes eggs and dairy is FAR superior to a vegan diet.

            I *highly* recommend Denise’s book, “Death by Food Pyramid”, to vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. It’s the best, and most balanced, nutritional resource I’ve come across in 9 years of nutritional research.

            For more info on the cruelty of factory farming, see http://advocacy.britannica.com/blog/advocacy/2007/05/the-difficult-lives-and-deaths-of-factory-farmed-chickens/#sthash.pNGhT5hv.dpuf.

            “For people making a gradual switch to vegetarianism out of concern for animals, I therefore believe that the first food to give up should be, not meat, but eggs.”
            – Erik Marcus

      • It’s about what you EAT.

        Key is to minimize suffering of other sentient animals.

        Just because there is killing going on does not mean that we have to adopt a “I am a vegetarian and animal lover, therefore I will renounce society as it is and live in the mountains surviving on only pure air and spring water” neither do we have to go “Oh, since there is killing going on and the road that I drove on may be built by a meat eater who wears a leather belt, let’s go and kill everything in sight and feel attempt to feel good about being a dastardly murderer”!

        • The bigger question is why are you, a committed vegetarian, bothering to comment on a forum aimed at committed animal eaters? Do you actually think that you’ll persuade anyone participating on this site to your POV? Do you think it’s a requirement to declare your righteous indignation at every cyber-opportunity?

          • jake, this article is title – 5 reasons why VEGETARIANS should eat gelatin. so how is this aimed at commited animal eaters? it appears to be aimed at vegetarians dont you think?
            this article is aimed at trying to get people who doent eat animal products to start doing so on the most flimsy psudo-science based information.

            • Stop trying to feel special, the article is named “Why EVEN vegetarians […]”, it’s to emphasize the importance of gelatin, it’s not targeted at vegetarians in particular.

    • Take care not to accidentally eat an ant which dropped in your tea, as that would make you a nonvegetarian.

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