If you’re on the fence about going vegan but find yourself addicted to the delightful bliss of high fructose corn syrup then you might be wondering “is soda vegan?” There are several ingredients that can determine whether or not a particular soda is vegan friendly. So, let’s take a look at the key ingredients to be on the lookout for when soda shopping and answer the burning question “is soda vegan?”
The Bad News: Some Sodas Aren’t Vegan Friendly
Most experts agree that most sodas are vegan friendly because the majority of them don’t contain animal-based products or by-products. However, some sodas (especially some lesser known brands) can contain ingredients that vegans avoid. These 4 ingredients indicate that animal-based substances were used for manufacturing these sodas:
Honey – The debate if vegans can eat honey or not has been going on for a while. The vast majority of vegans tend to agree that honey isn’t vegan-friendly since commercially sold honey is produced by farming bees. During this process bees are and/or can be injured or killed in a variety of ways.
The bottom line is that some sodas do contain honey. And, if you’re like us, then you believe honey isn’t vegan-friendly and thus avoid foods and beverages that contain it.
Cochineal – This is nothing but a red-colored dye used in foods. The dye is obtained from insects. As discussed in the previous paragraph, most vegans opt not to consume something has come from animals – even bugs. A red colored soda is a good clue that it might contain cochineal.
Vitamin D3 – While you may not find Vitamin D3 commonly in sodas, it is still there every now and again. It is mostly used in sports drinks, and if you are a fitness-conscious, you might want to stay away from any drink that contains Vitamin D3. This is because the oil from sheep’s wool is used for producing Vitamin D3.
Ester Gum – If you love orange soda, then prepare to be disappointed. Your favorite orange soda might contain an ingredient named ester gum. If it does, its soda is not vegan-friendly. Ester gum is made from glycerol that is obtained from animals. However, there’s a chance the ester gum is made from glycerol that has been prepared in a laboratory. If so, the packaging will clearly say so. If nothing is mentioned, you can safely assume that it is animal-based ester gum has been used to produce the soda.
Unfortunately, if the soda contains honey, cochineal, Vitamin D3 or ester gum, then we have to answer the question “is soda vegan?” with a definitive no.
The Good News: Most Sodas are Vegan Friendly
Aside from perhaps orange soda and red colored sodas, the chances are that your favorite soda is vegan-friendly. We’re going to briefly take a look at some of the most popular sodas on the market today and why these sodas are considered to be vegan-friendly.
7 UP & Sprite
7UP and Sprite taste delicious. But, have you ever wondered what they actually contain? Well, these drinks are nothing but a combination of potassium citrate, citric acid, carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, calcium disodium EDTA and other natural flavors. While, not very healthy, there is no animal or insect-based substance in this drink. Therefore, vegans are able to enjoy them without worry.
Coca-Cola & Pepsi
They may be competitors within the soda industry, but their composition is very similar to each other. Both of these sodas contain carbonated water, caramel color, caffeine, high fructose corn syrup, phosphoric acid, and other natural flavors. Therefore, both of these sodas are safe for vegans to enjoy.
Mountain Dew is undoubtedly one of the most popular sodas on the market. The main ingredients of this soda-based drink are calcium disodium EDTA, gum Arabic, brominated vegetable oil, caffeine, sodium citrate, citric acid, concentrated orange juice, sodium benzoate, carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, and other natural flavors. None of these ingredients contain animal or insect-based substances. As a result, Mountain Dew has been declared safe for vegans.
Is Soda Vegan? Here’s the Bottom Line
In the ingredients list mentioned in the popular sodas, you might see “natural flavors” getting repeated quite a few times. There is still some ambiguity related to what these flavors are and how they are being sourced. In the earlier days, these flavors were derived from animal sources.
However, with the increasing popularity of veganism all over the world, companies such as Coca-Cola have come out in the open to say that their sodas are suitable for vegans as well. Although we have the company’s word, we cannot be absolutely sure because we don’t know exactly what goes into the “natural flavor.”