Are you trying to reduce your sugar intake? Steer clear of those fake substitutes? I think we all are to one degree or another. But, do we even know what we’re looking for?? I mean, with the freedom food companies have to essentially name ingredients whatever they want, do we even know what all these sugars and sweeteners are called?? AND, did you know that most sweeteners and sugars aren’t even vegan!?!? I know, right!? Unfortunately there is considerable detriment to animals in order for us humans to have sweet sodas, cereals, treats, coffees, etc. Keep on reading to find out more with this ULTIMATE List of Sugars & Sweeteners.
The Skinny on The Sweets
The following is a list of 130 names of sugars, sweeteners, substitute sugars, and everything in between. Bookmark this page and bring in up on your phone for easy access in the grocery or in the kitchen. A printable list will follow soon, and I’ll link that here when it’s complete. Not only will this list tell you whether those ingredients are actually sneaking in sugars and chemical shitstorm sweeteners, it will tell you which ones are animal-friendly or not.
Some sugars/sweeteners are actual animal products, or are made using the bones of animals. Those will be identified as “NOT vegan” (i.e. Honey).
Others may have had considerable laboratory/factory processing, and extensively tested on animals, but are not derived from animal products (i.e. Maltitol). Those will be identified with “CHEMICAL/NOT vegan“. I, personally, do not treat these as vegan products, but I cannot make that decision for everyone. These should all be avoided anyway as research has demonstrated in an overwhelming amount of studies that they can cause a whole host of adverse health conditions (cancer, Alzheimers, Autoimmune Diseases, ADHD, Autism, and much, much more). See Announcement above.
Sweeteners made purely from plant products without chemical additives or manipulation (i.e. Licorice Root) will be labeled “IS vegan“. This will be the case whether animal testing has been performed or not. These plants are natural occurrences in their habitats and have been used for sometimes thousands of years. While animal exploitation is wrong in all circumstances, we cannot dismiss the therapeutic value of something we could lean over and pick from the ground ourselves, just because some asshat wanted to see if he could make money off of it.
There are some sugars that can be made with/without animals (for example cane sugar) so I have noted next to their name to always double check the label. Ones that I was not able to find whether or not animal research has been extensively performed, or just very little information in general, will also be yellow (though this was not common).
Acesulfame Potassium: is NOT vegan though it is sourced from CHEMICALS, not animal ingredients, it has been extensively tested on animals (⚠️).
Aclame: See Alitame.
Advantame: is NOT vegan though it is sourced from CHEMICALS, not animal ingredients, it has been extensively tested on animals (⚠️).
Aspartame: NOT vegan though it is sourced from CHEMICALS, not animal ingredients, it has been extensively tested on animals (⚠️). Dr. Mercola coins it ‘by far, the most dangerous substance added to foods’.
Agave nectar: IS vegan (🌿).
Alitame: NOT vegan though it is sourced from CHEMICALS, not animal ingredients, it has been extensively tested on animals (⚠️).
Amazake: IS vegan (🌿).
Arabinose: is NOT vegan though it is sourced from plants and CHEMICALS, not animal ingredients, it has been extensively tested on animals (⚠️).
Barbados sugar: See Muscovado and it IS vegan (🌿).
Barley malt syrup, barley malt: IS vegan (🌿).
Barley sugar: IS vegan (see above).
Beet sugar: IS vegan (🌿).
Birch syrup: IS vegan (🌿).
Brazzein: by itself IS vegan but it is very rarely by itself so, no, it’s typically NOT vegan (⚠️).
Brown sugar: may or may not be vegan; check the labels (⚠️).
Buttered syrup: is NOT vegan- it either has butter, or it has chemicals for butter flavoring, of which have been tested on animals. Make your own.
Cane sugar: Some are vegan and some are not (⚠️). Check the labels to be sure.
Caramel: is NOT vegan but you can certainly find Vegan versions (⚠️).
Carob or Carob Syrup: IS vegan (🌿).
Castor sugar: is simply finely ground cane sugar so it may/may not be vegan. Check the label or make your own with your favorite vegan granulated sugar.
Coconut sugar: IS vegan (🌿).
Confectioner’s sugar: may or may not be vegan, just as cane sugar. Check the labels (⚠️).
Corn syrup, corn sweetener: is typically of vegan origin but is used extensively as a testing agent on animals, especially in obesity studies. ⚠️ Furthermore, it’s virtually always GMO (genetically modified). Also see High Fructose Corn Syrup.
Curculin: is NOT vegan though it is sourced from plants and CHEMICALS, not animal ingredients, it has been extensively tested on animals. It’s also made from E.Coli in many circumstances ⚠️.
Cyclamate: is NOT vegan though it is sourced from plants and CHEMICALS, not animal ingredients, it has been extensively tested on animals (⚠️).
Date sugar: IS vegan (🌿).
Dehydrated cane juice: IS vegan 🌿.
Demerara sugar: IS vegan 🌿.
Dextrin: is NOT vegan though it is sourced from plants and CHEMICALS, not animal ingredients, it has been extensively tested on animals ⚠️.
Dextrose: may or may not be vegan (⚠️) so be sure to check the label.
Disaccharide: may or may not be vegan (⚠️) so be sure to check the label.
Florida Crystals: IS vegan 🌿 though they’ve recently been doing some shady shit. See here⚠️, here ⚠️, and here ⚠️, for why I am on the fence about their claims of being vegan (because vegan is much more than just ingredients in foods).
Free sugar: (all monosaccharides and disaccharides added to food and naturally present sugars in honey, syrups, and fruit juices (sugars inside cells, as in raw fruit, are not included)). May or may not be Vegan; check the label.
Fructooligosaccharide: IS vegan🌿.
Fructose: directly from a fruit or vegetable IS vegan; processed fructose may/may not⚠️ be so check the label.
Fruit juice, Fruit juice concentrate: believe it or not, may or may not be vegan⚠️ (depending upon shellac, pesticides, etc.)
Fucose: can come from animals ⚠️ or it can be laboratory-sourced form non-animal products but still be tested on animals⚠️. Best to check the label on this one.
Galactose: may/may not be vegan as it can come from animals or plants⚠️. Please check your labels.
Glucose, glucose solids: may/may not be vegan ⚠️. Please check your labels to be sure.
Glycerol: May or may not be vegan;⚠️. Please check your labels.
Glycyrrhizin: IS vegan if simply extracted from licorice root after boiling and maceration 🌿.
Golden syrup, golden sugar: IS vegan https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_syrup
Grape sugar, grape juice: may/may not be vegan. See Cane Sugar and please check your labels.
High fructose corn syrup (HFCS): may or may not be made with animal products; check the labels. It has, and continues to be, extensively tested on animals⚠️.
High maltose corn syrup: is NOT vegan though it is sourced from plants and CHEMICALS, not animal ingredients, it has been extensively tested on animals ⚠️.
Honey: is NOT VEGAN (⚠️).
Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysates: are a blend of sugar alcohols and have been extensively studied on animals ⚠️. It is NOT VEGAN.
Icing sugar: may/may not be Vegan. Please check the labels. See Cane Sugar.
Inositol: may/may not be vegan and has been extensively studied on animals ⚠️. Even when derived from plants, it is highly processed.
Inulin: IS vegan 🌿.
Inverted sugar syrup: is glucose and fructose chemically or enzymatically rendered to sucrose. It may/may not be Vegan. Please check labels or make your own.
Isomalt: has no animal products in it but is extensively tested on animals ⚠️.
Isomaltooligosaccharide: is made from starches but is extensively tested on animals ⚠️.
Isomaltulose: see Isomalt and Isomaltooligosaccharide.
Lactitol: is NOT vegan as it comes from cow’s milk ⚠️.
Lactose: is NOT vegan as it comes from cow’s milk⚠️.
Lead Acetate: should not be listed in any food products because it will kill you. Funny how the FDA dropped the ball on that one…
Licorice Root: IS Vegan 🌿.
Mabinlins: are sweet-tasting proteins extracted from the seed of Mabinlang, a plant native to China. It IS vegan🌿.
Mahua syrup: IS vegan 🌿.
Maize Sugar: see High Fructose Corn Syrup.
Malt extract, malt sugar: IS vegan (🌿).
Maltitol: is derived of plant products but requires considerable processing. It has been extensively tested on animals ⚠️.
Maltose: IS vegan (🌿).
Maltobiose: is also Maltose, and IS vegan (🌿).
Maltodextrin, maltol: IS vegan but it is highly processed, has an insane glycemic index, and has been extensively tested on animals. It is also used as a pesticide 🌿.
Maltotriose:IS vegan 🌿.
Mannose (D-Mannose): IS vegan as it is a simple sugar that occurs naturally in both cranberries and pineapples, and the manna tree (humans even make it), but it has been extensively researched on animals ⚠️. I should not say ‘simple sugar’, as it requires a bit of processing.
Maple syrup: IS Vegan (🌿).
Mexican Sugar: IS vegan 🌿 (though make sure it is not associated with cheese- I’m finding different variations).
Miraculin: IS vegan if directly from the berry 🌿.
Mogrosides: there are so many variations of this ⚠️, though they all appear to be from plants, and all appear to be highly processed. I’ll have to err on the side of caution with regard to animal testing.
Molasses or Syrup (from sugar beets): IS vegan 🌿.
Molasses (from sugar cane): IS vegan 🌿.
Monatin: IS vegan 🌿, but apparently smells like poop 😳.
Monellin: is a sweet protein from the fruit of the West African shrub known as serendipity berry. It’s not legal or illegal in the US and UK, but has been deemed harmless and legal in Japan. It IS vegan 🌿.
Monosaccharide: this may/may not be vegan as this term encompasses several types of sugars ⚠️. Be sure to check the label.
Muscovado: IS vegan (🌿).
Nectar: IS vegan 🌿 (as all of the searches return “agave nectar” when searching “nectar”).
Neohesperidin Dihydrochalcone: it is derived from citrus plants but seriously, with a name like that do you really want to eat it? It has been extensively tested on animals ⚠️.
Neotame: is a CHEMICAL and has been extensively tested on animals ⚠️. It is made by NutraSweet.
Non-centrifugal cane sugar (made by the simple evaporation of sugar cane juice): IS VEGAN 🌿 (see dehydrated cane juice).
NutraSweet: NOT vegan though it is sourced from CHEMICALS, not animal ingredients, it has been extensively tested on animals (⚠️).
Palm sugar: IS vegan (🌿).
Panela: IS vegan 🌿.
Pentadin: IS vegan and is a sweet tasting protein from the fruit of a shrub called Oubli in Africa.🌿 is a sweet tasting protein from the fruit of a shrub called Oubli in Africa.
Piloncillo: IS vegan 🌿.
Polydextrose: IS vegan but is a CHEMICAL and has been extensively tested on animals ⚠️.
Powdered sugar: may/may not be vegan, please check the label ⚠️.
Psicose: does come from plants (wheat) but is highly chemically processed and has been extensively tested on animals ⚠️.
Rapadura: IS vegan 🌿.
Raw sugar: IS vegan 🌿.
Refiner’s sugar, refiner’s syrup: may/may not be vegan ⚠️.
Rice syrup: IS vegan 🌿
Rhamnose: this is a weird one- this sugar is from a plant but is used in foods and in cosmetics, being marketed as an anti-wrinkle agent ⚠️ (by L’oreal, for example) and is extensively tested on animals.
Saccharin: is highly chemically processed and extensively tested on animals, NOT vegan ⚠️
Saccharose: is another simple ‘table sugar’ term so check the label to ensure it is vegan ⚠️.
Saccharum: comprises an entire species of plants, including sugar cane, so there is no telling how this would be used on labels. I’ll go with it IS vegan but advise you to inspect the labels further 🌿.
Sorbitol: is made from plants and highly chemically processed, and extensively tested on animals so- not vegan ⚠️.
Splenda: is NOT vegan and are responsible for over 12000 animal deaths according to Vegan First ⚠️.
Sorghum syrup: IS vegan 🌿.
Sugarbag: this can come from plants or animals, please check the label ⚠️.
Stevia: has had significant animal testing BUT can be plucked out of nature (if you’re into that type of bitterness) (🌿)
Sucanat: IS vegan 🌿.
Sucrose: IS vegan when it is naturally found in fruits though it can be highly processed and added to processed foods, so check the labels to be sure 🌿
Sucralose: comes from plants but is highly chemically processed and has been extensively tested on animals ⚠️.
Sugar (granulated): Some are vegan and some are not (⚠️). Check the labels to be sure.
Sugar Beet Syrup/Molasses: IS vegan 🌿.
Sugar Pine Sugarcane: (contains a high concentration of sucrose) if naturally extracted and minimally processed, it IS vegan 🌿.
Sweet N Low: if children and pregnant folk are discouraged by the lax organization known as the FDA, why would you want it anyway? ⚠️ It IS made of plant products, but also extremely chemically processed, and extensively tested on animals.
Sweet Cicely root: IS vegan 🌿.
Sweet sorghum syrup: IS vegan 🌿.
Syrup: most syrups appear to be vegan, but some are not and many are highly processed depending on the source/brand- check labels and be conscientious of chemicals ⚠️.
Tagatose: is NOT vegan as it is produced from whey ⚠️.
Tequila Agave: IS vegan 🌿.
Thalin: is plant-derived and genetically modified, and has been extensively tested on animals ⚠️.
Thaumatin: is plant-derived and genetically modified, and has been extensively tested on animals ⚠️.
Toffee: is traditionally NOT vegan ⚠️, though can be veganized very nicely.
Treacle: I cannot locate very much on this item other than it is made from sugar cane thus I would treat it as a may/may not be, please check the label ⚠️.
Trehalose: it can be plant or animal sourced, please check your label ⚠️.
Turbinado sugar: IS vegan 🌿.
Yacon Syrup: IS vegan 🌿
Xylitol: is of plant origin and is a sugar alcohol/chemical, and has been extensively tested on animals ⚠️.
Xylose: is of plant origin and is a sugar alcohol/chemical, and has been extensively tested on animals ⚠️.
So, why is this even important?
Especially the products that don’t have any animal products in and none were used to make it? There are some very good reasons to avoid those products as well.
1. If you take a look at the completely vegan products you’ll find that most, if not all, are:
A. Whole Foods
B. Unprocessed/raw, or very minimally processed
C. Have lower glycemic indexes and greater digestibility
D. Have very little, if any, chemicals or other dangerous substances involved in getting them to our tables
For your own personal health, these are the best choices.
2. Testing on animals is wrong. The shit that they do to them is so terrible that even virtually all non-vegans will turn their heads and cover their ears if exposed to witnessing it. Do you really want to support companies that have participated in such horror?
3. The chemicals associated with the products that are created without animal products, but rather with the use of chemicals, additives, preservatives, colorants, etc. ARE NOT FOOD. They have ALL been linked to cancers, Alzheimers, autoimmune disorders, learning disabilities, and much, much more. You don’t want this garbage in your body. And, we need you to stick around to help see us to our vegan future. We aren’t perfect but omitting these awful things from your diet is an easy choice to make.
The contents of this article, our website, and our other publications, including The Vegetarian Journal, are not intended to provide personal medical advice. Medical advice should be obtained from a qualified health professional. We often depend on product and ingredient information from company employees or company statements.Information does change and mistakes are always possible. Please use your own best judgment about whether a product is suitable for you. Further research or confirmation may be warranted.
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
Woodstock Farms Organic Pure Cane Sugar
Florida Crystals Organic Cane Sugar
Red Path Sugar
The Raw Cane
** It has been brought to my attention that Florida Crystals Organic Cane Sugar may be responsible for pollution problems in Florida. Here are some articles regarding it**
Did we miss any? Please let us know in the comments below! Sharing is caring- enable others to vote with their dollars by empowering them with the knowledge to do so.
Do you like to learn about your foods and health-related things? Check out this article on Food Cravings and why they really aren’t a thing, How to Reduce Inflammation, and how to Detox the Right Way.