Jello has long been a staple of many diet plans, as it’s low in calories and fat-free. However, this doesn’t necessarily make it healthy.
One serving (21 grams of dry mix) has 80 calories, 1.6 grams of protein, and 18 grams of sugars — which is approximately 4.5 teaspoons (2).
Jello is high in sugar and low in fiber and protein, making it an unhealthy food choice.
One serving (6.4 grams of dry mix) of sugar-free jello made with aspartame has only 13 calories, 1 gram of protein and no sugar. Still, artificial sweeteners may have negative effects on your health (2, 3).
Collagen may positively impact bone health. In a randomized study, postmenopausal women who took 5 grams of collagen peptides a day for one year had significantly increased bone density compared to women given a placebo (4).
In addition, it may help reduce joint pain. In a small 24-week study, college athletes who took 10 grams a day of a liquid collagen supplement experienced less joint pain compared to those taking a placebo (5).
Furthermore, it may help reduce the effects of skin aging. In a randomized 12-week study, women aged 40–60 who took 1,000 mg of a liquid collagen supplement showed improvements in skin hydration, elasticity, and wrinkling (6).
Before eating jello, you may want to consider some of the possible negative health effects it may have.
Most jello contains artificial colors. These are made with ingredients derived from petroleum, a natural chemical used to make gasoline that may have harmful effects on your health.
The food dyes red #40, yellow #5 and yellow #6 contain benzidine, a known carcinogen — in other words, these dyes may promote cancer. However, they’re permitted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in low doses presumed to be safe (9).
Studies link artificial colors to behavioral changes in children with and without attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) (10).
While in some studies, doses higher than 50 mg were associated with behavioral changes, other studies suggest that as little as 20 mg of artificial food colors may have a negative effect (10).
In fact, in Europe, foods that contain artificial dyes must display warning labels informing that the foods may cause hyperactivity in children (9).
The amount of food dye used in jello is unknown and likely varies between brands.
Sugar-free packaged jello is made with artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame and sucralose.
Animal and human studies show that aspartame may damage cells and cause inflammation (3).
What’s more, animal studies link aspartame to a higher risk of certain cancers — such as lymphoma and kidney cancer — at daily doses as low as 9 mg per pound (20 mg per kg) of body weight (11).
This is much lower than the current Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) of 22.7 mg per pound (50 mg per kg) of body weight (11).
However, human studies exploring the relationship between cancer and aspartame are lacking.
Artificial sweeteners have also been shown to cause disturbances in the gut microbiome.
In a 12-week study in mice, those receiving 0.5–5 mg per pound (1.1–11 mg per kg) of sucralose of the brand Splenda daily had significantly decreased levels of beneficial gut bacteria. The ADI of sucralose is 2.3 mg per pound (5 mg per kg) (12).
Furthermore, while many people eat calorie-free sweeteners as a way to manage their weight, the evidence does not show this to be effective. On the contrary, a regular intake of artificial sweeteners has been linked to increased body weight (13).
While allergies to gelatin are rare, they are possible (14).
Initial exposure to gelatin in vaccines may cause sensitivity to the proteins. In one study, 24 of 26 children with an allergy to gelatin-containing vaccines had gelatin antibodies in their blood and 7 had documented reactions to gelatin-containing foods (15).
Allergic reactions to gelatin can include hives or life-threatening anaphylactic reactions.
If you suspect you may have an allergy to gelatin, you can get tested by an allergist or an immunologist.
Jello contains artificial colors and artificial sweeteners — both of which may be harmful to your health. Additionally, while rare, some people may be allergic to gelatin.
This content was originally published here.