Summary: Being vegan or vegetarian is really pretty easy, but there are certain gotchas that you have to watch out for. One of those hidden gotchas is that a lot of sugar - especially white sugar - is not vegan or even vegetarian. (For our purposes, we are using 'vegan' to mean "contains no animal products and no animal had to die for the product to be produced", and 'vegetarian' to mean "no animal had to die for the product to be produced", but may contain animal products such as milk or eggs.) So, back to sugar: what on earth isn't vegetarian or vegan about sugar? Here's what.

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Being vegan or vegetarian is really pretty easy, but there are certain gotchas that you have to watch out for. One of those hidden gotchas is that a lot of sugar – especially white sugar – is not vegan or even vegetarian. (For our purposes, we are using ‘vegan’ to mean “contains no animal products and no animal had to die for the product to be produced”, and ‘vegetarian’ to mean “no animal had to die for the product to be produced”, but may contain animal products such as milk or eggs.) So, back to sugar: what on earth isn’t vegetarian or vegan about sugar? Here’s what.

Did you ever wonder how white sugar gets white? It is processed – filtered – through a product to remove all the ‘impurities’, and to help it achieve its milky-white ‘perfection’. Often (not always, but often) that product through which it is filtered is charcoal. Not just any charcoal, but charcoal made from animal bones (usually cow bones), which is also known as ‘bone char’.

Fortunately, there are plenty of vegan sugar options around, and you should be able to find vegan sugar at your local Whole Foods or other health food store.

One brand of Vegan Sugar that is widely regarded is Florida Crystals, and right now Amazon has a fantastic sale on Florida Crystals: 3 x 48 ounces, for a total of 144 ounces, or 9 pounds, for just $13.59. That’s just about $1.50 a pound, plus it’s eligible for free shipping if you have Amazon Prime.

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