Have you ever felt how refreshing an ice cold soda can be on a hot, sunny day? Or do you just love that sweet fizz to satisfy both your thirst and sweet tooth at the same time? Well, you probably also know how addicting soda can be!
But hold up! Is soda vegan? How well do you know your favorite fizzy drink? If these questions made you stop in your tracks, then you should keep reading! Shouldn’t you satisfy your need for answers first before you satiate your thirst? Right then, let’s carry on!
What’s In A Soda?
Figuring out whether soda is vegan or not can be really tricky. Have you seen what a typical soda is made of? Did it not send your brows into a furrow? Aside from sugar and flavors, you’ll probably see at least one or two ingredients that you’ll have to Google.
Let me save you the hassle.
But let’s begin with the fizz. As you probably already know, the frothy bubbles you see in soda come from carbon. Carbon dioxide gas, to be exact.
This compound can be made using different methods, although it’s mostly just a byproduct of various industrial productions. Cutting to the chase, CO₂ is vegan.
Soda Red Flags: Ingredients To Watch Out For
1. Food dyes
Most sodas, especially the ones with flavors usually contain food colors. Natural red food color, specifically, usually comes from cochineal insects. Caramel color, often found in colas, can come from real caramel (with dairy products), or from corn or sugar.
Artificial colors, on the other hand, often involve animal testing. So although they’re free from animal products, they are often not cruelty-free.
Although some gelatins are vegan, ones that come from cattle or fish are more common. Gelatin is infinitely useful in the food industry. In beverages, they’re helpful in clarifying grape juice. It can also act as a stabilizer for beta carotene color.
Unless you’re quite new to veganism, you probably already know that a lot of refined sugars are filtered with bone char. Most sodas use HFCS as a sweetener, but you’ll also see simple sugar in a handful of brands.
4. Added vitamins
Because sodas do not carry significant nutrients, it is not uncommon for manufacturers to add nutrients instead. Among these, the most common non-vegan additive you’ll see is vitamin D3. This usually comes from fish oil or sheep wool (lanolin).
There are plenty of preservatives in soda products. Watch out for ester gum, a stabilizer that contains glycerol that usually comes from animal fats. For more about gums, check this vegan gum guide.
6. Lactic Acid
Another stabilizer that usually comes from milk products.
Typical cola is usually made flavorful using kola nuts, hence the name. But although soda products usually only have fruit flavors, it may also include honey. There are also sodas with usually non-vegan flavors like caramel, vanilla, and cream/creme.
1. Is Pepsi vegan?
Pepsi products are previously not all vegan. However, according to Vegfaqs, from their previous contact with a Pepsi rep, all their beverages are now vegan-friendly.
I guess this is all thanks to the company’s recent switch to a more sustainable food system. Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean that all their other products are vegan. But if you ask me, it can be the beginning!
2. Is Dr. Pepper vegan?
Although Dr.Pepper only uses a few ingredients, they come in many varieties that contain caramel color and natural flavors. Unfortunately, the brand is yet to indicate whether their products are vegan or not both on their labels and website.
I have sent an inquiry to get the answer we vegans need, but Dr. Pepper seems to be quite busy to respond at the moment. Until then, I suggest you grab an alternative.
3. Is Mountain Dew vegan?
Although Mountain Dew doesn’t seem to include ingredients with animal products, it uses artificial colors, which are likely products of animal testing. However, since it is made and sold by PepsiCo, we can take their word for it and believe it is vegan-friendly.
4. Is Sprite vegan?
Yes, it is! Sprite is a product of the Coca-Cola company, and this question, in fact, appears on their website.
5. Is Coke Zero vegan? Is Diet Coke vegan?
6. Is root beer vegan?
Root beer is only a flavor so it will depend on the brand. That means you’ll have to check the labels and ingredients first. In general, root beer is like a cola but with a unique blend of roots, herbs, and spices as flavors.
However you do need to watch out for red flags like sugar, caramel color, and lactic acid. To make sure, look for root beer brands with a vegan label or those with simpler ingredients. Also check the list of vegan brands below!
7. Is Blue Sky soda vegan?
Blue Sky is one of the many soda brands under Coca-Cola, so yes, they’re vegan too!
8. Is Fanta vegan?
Another brand from the Coca-Cola company, Fanta is popular for their fruit flavors. That said, they’re vegan-friendly sodas you can enjoy!
9. Is 365 soda vegan?
Vegan Soda Brands
These vegan brands come in many flavors. Enjoy choosing!
- Blue Sky
- Mello Yello
- New Wave
- 365 Everyday Value
Looking for ginger ale? We got you! Check out your vegan options here.
But wait! Before you even think about hoarding these vegan sodas, consider the next question…
Is Soda Good For You?
Or let’s be more straightforward, just how bad can soda be for you?
In case you need reminding, soda is a popular junk food. 1 can of regular soda contains an average of 39 grams of sugar. To give you an idea, that’s like 10 cubes of sugar in just 1 serving! Remember that the daily sugar limit is only 6 (25g) to 9 (38g) teaspoons a day, for women and men respectively.
But that’s not all! Sodas often use HFCS or high fructose corn syrup instead of sugar as a sweetener.
Aside from the excessive amount of sugar, sodas also contain a significant amount of acid. This comes from phosphoric acid and carbonic acid, which are both potentially damaging to dental and digestive health.
You’ve probably seen the viral videos of soda products being used as a cleaning agent for stubborn stains including rust. You wouldn’t want that inside you, would you?
To cut it short, sodas are nothing but a high-calorie and sugary beverage with NO essential nutrients.
According to Healthline, excessive sugar can damage your health by possibly causing:
- Weight gain (especially around the belly)
- Fatty liver
- Risk of developing insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes
- Leptin resistance (the hormones that regulate fullness, starvation, and calorie burning)
- Craving for more sugar (addiction)
- Higher risk for heart disease, cancer, gout, and dementia
- Weaker dental health
While I admit that soda can indeed be refreshing, I still would not recommend its consumption. Aside from being high in sugar, they have no nutritional value. But on days you can’t help it (they’re tempting, alright!) always remember to check the flavors too!
Are you a vegan who enjoys a fizzy drink every once in a while? What’s the first vegan brand that comes to your mind? Let me know in the comment section below. And don’t forget to share this article on your favorite social media platform.