Is Sugar Vegan? Yes. Well, These Brands of Sugar Are.

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Is Sugar Vegan? Yes. Well, some types/brands are Vegan. Read more to find out!

Is Sugar Vegan

Note: is not a vegan website, but we strive to create relevant information for all our readers.

Last week my executive chef came to me and asked if I knew which brands of sugars were vegan. I answered, “All of them.” Mostly because I knew all sugar comes from plants. And while that is true, all sugar is not vegan.

So why is sugar not vegan? The answer is in the processing!

Is Sugar Vegan? It Depends on the Processing.

Boiled and Spun: Vegan

Sugar, as we know it, starts as the sap from these plants: sugar cane, sugar beets, coconut palm, date palm, and a handful of others.

We get sugar by extracting the sap and boiling it down until it crystalizes. When left in its natural (vegan) state, we get Turbinado, Muscovado, or Demerara sugar.

A centrifuge then spins the sugar to remove the molasses. White sugar (table sugar), starts as one of the brown sugars listed above, but has had all of the molasses removed. When not further refined, this end product is a nearly white, natural sugar (like Zulka).

Carbon Filtered using Cow Bones: not Vegan

Some companies will refine sugar even more by running it through carbon to remove the last traces of molasses. While this isn’t all bad, when that carbon is comprised of charred bones, the end product is no longer vegan.

Because it’s cheaper, the bone char often comes from foreign countries. This bone char is often processed into a “pill” form, and is much cheaper than producing wood char.

Most sugar cane is processed using this bone char; sugar beets usually are not. So sugar beet sugar sounds good right? No, because most sugar beets from the US are GMO, which is a whole other ball of wax!

Is Sugar Vegan? Yes, These Brands Are.

Note: the following list is accurate to the best of our knowledge, and is current as of the publishing of this article.

Vegan-friendly sugar brands (not all non-GMO):

Coconut sugar is vegan as well.

Vegan Sugar Alternatives

Personally, I’d rather have a natural sweetener than something like aspartame or sucralose. With the exception of honey, this list of sugar alternatives is vegan friendly.

Stevia is a good alternative that is plant sourced and has no calories. Maple syrup and other tree syrups are also natural vegan sweeteners.

Do your research to see which sweetener works best for you. Date sugar and agave may work, depending on your dietary needs. Honey is a good sugar substitute, unless you are vegan. Brown rice syrup is another choice in the syrup category, as are molasses and sorghum. Molasses and sorghum are my syrup choices as they are sweet and contain many necessary vitamins and minerals. Even fruit juices can act as sweeteners, depending on how they are used.

With sweeteners, it’s good to know what you are getting, no matter what your dietary needs.




About Debra Maslowski

Debra is a master gardener, a certified herbalist, a natural living instructor, and more. She taught Matt and Betsy how to make soap so they decided to bring her on as a staff writer! Debra recently started an organic herb farm in the mountains of Western North Carolina. You can even purchase her handmade products on Amazon!

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  1. Ankita says

    Is Sugar Vegan good for Diabetic person. My dad is diabetic and his sugar level is in control. By consuming this will it affect his health?

  2. Debra Maslowski says

    That’s a tough one, Carol. Cane sugars aren’t GMO, but most are processed with bone char. Beet sugar is mostly GMO, but is never processed with bone char. According to my information, Bob’s Red Mill sugar is vegan and non GMO. I’d start with the list I’ve provided, but yes, also look at the labels. Unfortunately, sugar beet growers and those who process sugar made from them are not required to label their source as GMO or not. Many companies are doing so now, but not all of them.

  3. Carol L says

    Nice post. Could you elaborate on which of the sugars ARE non GMO? I suppose I could just look on the packaging, but it would be nice to know before I go searching for the brands…..
    I’m pretty sure that Bob’s isn’t non GMO, I have looked at several of their products and most aren’t even organic, an absolute must for me. (But I know all aren’t as picky as I am! LOL!)

    • Halla Sun says

      It’s that fake sugar that leaves a bad aftertaste. It was the first sugar substitute I remember coming on the market and I believe lots of soda pop like Coke use that for their no sugar drinks.

    • Carol L says

      Aspartame was created as a pesticide. They discovered it was sweet and decided they could make more money selling it as a sweetener. Want to consume that?

      • Debra Maslowski says

        Personally, I prefer to use real food as opposed to chemicals. But the choice is yours, Rachel. I understand that sometimes people like diabetics really have no choice as they can’t consume sugar or anything that may raise their blood sugar.

  4. Karen says

    I am vegan. Thank you for the explanation of how sugar is processed and for the list—–very helpful!

    • Debra Maslowski says

      Glad I could help Karen! I’m not vegan, but I have friends who are and work at a college where veganism is the norm. I was shocked to learn what I did!