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Vegan Journey: So what’s up with sugar?

In my post last week “What I learned from shopping” I wrote about my visit to Whole Foods and how an employee told me processed white sugar is not considered vegan:
“White refined sugar is not vegan because they add ground up animal bones to the sugar to give it its white color. That’s why ‘raw’ or ‘unrefined sugar’ has a brown color.”

After doing more research I found out that this is not 100% accurate. Not all white sugar is non-vegan. According to, processed beet sugar is typically vegan, because it doesn’t require decolorizing. White cane sugar, however, is usually filtered through activated carbon (charcoal), which may be of animal, vegetable, or mineral origin, depending on the refinery. The animal-origin carbon is made from bone char, just like the Whole Foods employee told me.

But, as states, “The bone char used in this filtering process is so far removed from its animal source that the sugar processed in this method is deemed kosher pareve, which, according to Jewish dietary laws, means that it contains no meat or milk in any form as an ingredient.”

Still, a number of vegans disagree with this perspective.

The bottom line for me is processed sugar is not good for me. I have found that it is almost addictive, and the minute I have a food or drink with sugar or high fructose corn syrup in it, I can’t stop consuming it. But, over the last 10 days I have cut out all refined sugar and I have lost my cravings for it! That’s pretty astounding since I had a serious chocolate addiction.

Truthfully, I do like to sweeten my oatmeal in the morning, so I have started using agave syrup. Made from the agave plant which grows in the desert, agave has become the sweetener of choice for diabetics as it has a low-glycemic index and is easy to digest. I find that the flavor is gentle with the perfect amount of sweetness. In addition to my morning oatmeal, I like to add it to my fruit smoothies, which I make with almond milk and frozen berries.

Have a sweet day!


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