Can You Have Sugar In the Vegan Diet?

Category : Vegan Diet

Vegan DietThe answer to the question is going to be dependent upon how committed you are to avoiding foodstuffs that have been processed using animal byproducts. There are going to be some types of sugar that processed with ingredients not compatible to the vegan diet. While sugar is most commonly associated with candy and sodas, it is also often used in different types of bread, cakes and pies, commercially prepared fruit juices, and snack crackers.

The 411 on Refined White Sugar

Refined white sugar is the most common form of sugar, and it is the one found most often in grocery stores. In order for the sugar to achieve its uniform appearance in size and color, it must go through an extensive refining process. Some types of refined white sugar are processed using bone char, which is an animal byproduct. However, other forms of white sugar will be processed using beets, which is vegan compatible. Product packaging does not tell what ingredients the sugar is processed with, so you will need to contact the manufacturer directly to find out. While bone char is not present in the end product, it still is a form of animal product that should be avoided.

Powdered Sugar and Brown Sugar

Brown sugar is another form of refined white sugar. Molasses is added to the brown sugar to give its distinctive color and to give it a softer texture. Depending upon what ingredients it is processed with, it may or may not be acceptable to include in your vegan diet. Powdered sugar is another form of refined white sugar that has been processed even more to turn it into a fine white powder. Again, it may or may not be compatible with your diet.


Turbinado, which is commonly referred to as raw sugar, is essentially cane sugar that has been boiled so that it forms crystals. The granules are larger than the ones found in refined white sugar, and it may or may not dissolve easily in certain types of liquids. However, the upside to using turbinado is that it is made without the use of animal byproducts, so it can be safely used in the vegan diet.

Sugar Substitutes for Vegans

If you simply like to bypass the use of white sugar altogether, there are a number of acceptable, vegan friendly sugar substitutes that can be found at most health food stores across the country. Two common vegan sugar substitutes include agave nectar and stevia. Rice syrup, maple syrup, and corn syrup are also acceptable substitutes.