You might think that the sugar you consume on a daily basis is safe, but I am sorry to say that you thought wrong. Many foods that you might consider to be vegetarian, from bagels to wine, aren’t always free of animal products, and that includes your sugar.
Refined white sugar is made from either sugar beets or sugarcane, and while the two taste and look the same, their refining process is vastly different. To make sugar from sugar beets, the juice is removed with a diffuser and mixed with additives that make it crystallize.
However, when the juice from sugarcane is separated from the pulp, it is heated until it crystallizes and is then filtered with bone char to remove impurities, giving the sugar its white color.
Bone char, as you imagine comes from animal bones, mostly the pelvic bones of cows. The bones are ground and heated to high temperatures, reducing them to carbon, which is used in sugar refineries.
While bone char is used to bleach and filter cane sugar, not all cane sugar is refined with bone char. Some companies rely on alternatives like granular carbon, which does not contain animal products. You will not be able to tell the difference by looking at the sugar or by tasting it, and loose sugar packets and packaged foods with non-descriptive ingredients, making it impossible for a person to distinguish sugar refined with bone char from its counterpart.
Fortunately, there are vegan sugars on the market, but it takes a little effort to purchase. If you can’t find vegan sugar at your local food market, I recommend going online. Here is a list of vegan sugars available on Amazon. If you know of any other, please share and the list will be updated!
- Zulka – an Ordinary Vegan favorite and available at most mainstream grocery stores!
- Wholesome Sweeteners Fair Trade Organic Sugar
- Wholesome Sweeteners Fair Trade Organic Light Brown Sugar
- Wholesome Sweeteners Fair Trade Organic Dark Brown Sugar
- Now Foods Beet Sugar
- Trader Joe’s Organic Sugar Evaporated Cane Juice
- Sugar In The Raw
- Imperial Granulated Sugar
- Imperial Powdered Sugar
- Rapunzel Rapadura
- Woodstock Farms Organic Pure Cane Sugar
- Florida Crystals Organic Cane Sugar
- Red Path Sugar
- The Raw Cane