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JAMA 100 Years Ago
May 22/29, 2002


Author Affiliations

JenniferReiling, Assistant Editor

JAMA. 2002;287(20):2625. doi:10.1001/jama.287.20.2625

Gelatin is an albuminoid substance obtained by boiling skin, connective tissue and bones of animals in water. When taken alone it has but little value as a food. Animals fed upon it exclusively rapidly lose strength and weight and finally die from starvation. If it is added to other foods it possesses the property of limiting the consumption of non-nitrogenous materials and saving the waste of albuminous tissues. It takes no part in the repair and growth of tissues and must be considered solely as an "albumin sparer." Consequently gelatin must always be combined with other proper foods. It does not replace albumin, and the destruction of albumin takes place to some extent even when gelatin is taken in a large amount. Gelatin is easily dissolved and absorbed from the stomach, and is usually taken in the form of jellies flavored with coffee, fruit juices, sherry wine, etc., and it may be rendered more palatable by the addition of meat extract. Brat1 has recently reported, from Leyden's clinic, the preparation of a gelatose, obtained by the action of acid upon gelatin at a high temperature. This substance is soluble in cold water, and can be administered in solutions with a flavoring of fruit syrups, etc., in much larger quantities than gelatin will be tolerated.