Do you know why your sugar is white?

The other day I read a comment on a blog talking about how vegans shouldn’t eat white sugar. What??

(image source)

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never associated sugar with animal products so I did a little research to see if there was any validity in this statement. As it turns out, animal bones from slaughterhouses are ground up (called bone char) and incinerated to leave behind active carbon, which is used in the process of stripping the color from sugar to make it white.

To read a bit more about bone char and which sugar processors no longer use it in the sugar refining process, see PETA’s page on it.

I also found out that strict vegans can’t drink certain types of fruit juices because the red coloring in some juices is taken from the scales of insects. Any time you see carmine as an ingredient it has come from a bug.

I kinda feel like Bill Nye the Science Guy right now.

* I originally posted this a few days ago on my sister’s blog, Furry Little Cousins. I wanted to repost here because I think it’s relevant to what I’m writing about.

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9 thoughts on “Do you know why your sugar is white?

    • I’m glad other people think this is crazy as well and also didn’t know! When I first discovered it I was like … am I the only person who doesn’t know this?? How did I not know??? There has to be another way they can get coloring. I don’t even know why we need to have colored drinks anyway. A juice should just be the color it naturally is.

      • Bug parts are a common ingredient in processed candies too. The more you learn about the industry of food the less you’ll want to buy anything that’s even slightly processed! You know things have gotten bad when you ask a vegan “Why don’t you eat any animal products?” and his/her answer has nothing to do with animal rights!!

        Great post, and I’m glad the word is finally getting out about the insane ingredients that are covered under “natural flavors”!

          • What scares me is if those are “natural” flavors, then WTF would qualify as artificial???? Casey over at Healthy Food | Lazy People does a great job reporting on what is being sold as “food” these days. http://healthyfoodlazypeople.com/2011/02/22/porcine-enzymes/ Is a good one about a “natural flavor” that’s actually from liquefied pork carcasses. Scrolling through his archives is like a bipolar adventure between vegetarian recipes and “that’s not food” posts!!

            • Gross!! This might sound stupid but I couldn’t eat marshmallows anymore when I found out a while back that they had gelatin from pigs. I never realized gelatin was from animals and in so many things. Thanks for the link, I’ll almost certainly be spending a few hours reading all those articles!

              And yes – what does qualify as artificial??

  1. Pingback: The vegetarian question | realfunfood

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