Foods & Drinks Vegetarians should avoid.

SatNavSaysStraightOn

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I thought I would start a thread listing the ingredients vegetarians should avoid but may not be aware of. These being involved in the manufacture of foods & drinks that you would expect to be OK, but are in fact not, e.g. white sugar & jellies. The aim is not to scare people but to educate them.

The sort of thing I am thinking of here is as follows:

Alcoholic drinks: some are filtered using animal products, particularly beers, wines and ciders.
Breakfast cereals: are now often vitamin D3 or omega-3 enriched.
Cheese: made using rennet, the source of rennet is the problem here.
Gel-cap medications: made with gelatine. (If it is a prescribed medication, consult your Dr for a non-gel cap version).
Jellies (sweet or savoury): often made with gelatine.
Margarines and spreads: most margarines and spreads contain vitamin D3 or are omega-3 enriched.
Omega-3 enriched: source is often fish based.
Orange-coloured soft drinks: some (but not all) contain gelatine as a carrier for the colour beta-carotene, but are not required to state on the packaging that they contain gelatine as it is not considered an ingredient.
Red-coloured soft drinks: sometimes cochineal is used as a colouring
Refined sugar: the manufacturing process can use animal bones.
Sweets and marshmallows: often made with gelatine.
Worcestershire sauce: contains anchovies (fish).
Thai curry paste: often contains fish paste


So why are some of these a problem?

Carmine/cochineal (E120): a red dye made from crushed beetles.
Chitosan: made from crustaceans
Gelatine: made from animal bones and connective tissues.
Isinglass: from the swim bladders of fish
Lanolin: a grease secreted from sheep’s skin and extracted from their wool, in some cases from the wool of slaughtered sheep
L-Cysteine (E920): Is sometimes made from hair or feathers (can be found in bread!)
‘Omega-3 enriched’: (margarine, olive oil, bread, breakfast cereal, orange juice) sometimes/often contain fish rather than plant sources of omega-3.
Rennet: often a mixture of enzymes from mammalian stomachs
Shellac (E904): insect secretions, sometimes used as a glazing agent on sweets and fruit
Vitamin D3, or unspecified “Vitamin D”: Vitamin D3, or unspecified “Vitamin D”: Vitamin D3 used in fortified foods is not suitable for vegetarians, as it is obtained from lanolin (a grease derived from sheep’s wool or skins).

So finally what is it that makes white sugar not vegetarian? Well it is filtered (to make it pure white) using activated charcoal which is often sourced from animal bones. Unfortunately brown refined sugar can also fall into this category as well. It is often the difference between cane sugar (often not vegetarian) and beet sugar.

Please add to the list as you see fit.
 
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Fiorabelle

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:thumbsup:Thanks for your list.:wink: As a long time veggie I knew about gelatin, rennet and fish based pastes (as I love curry) but had no idea about some of the others e.g Shellac and vitamin D3. :o_o: Thankfully in NZ most food labels are quite specific and don't use codes like vitamin D3 which could confuse the average consumer. Many products also have a vegetarian society tick.
 

PSLoveCharli

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Thanks for this list! Looks like I need to make a few more items go as I slowly but surely transition into vegetarian(ism). It's a tough process, but something I really want to do for my overall health. I'm giving myself 6 months to make the complete transition. We'll see how it goes!
 

Lostvalleyguy

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Thank you for this list. While I am not vegetarian, I have friends who are and struggle to know what to make if I want to have them over for dinner. While I knew about gelatine and some others, many of these would not have crossed my mind. It actually makes me wonder if my vegetarian friends are aware of some of these items.
 

Hanna_Fa

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Thank you so much for this list. It's like few years I'm trying to be vegetarian, and I've never heard I should avoid some liquids (expect alcohol of course).
 

Food4thought

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That is a very helpful list. Vegetarians should look out for vegertarian cheeses that do not contain animal rennet. It's also possible to buy vegetarian gelatin.

Most vegetarians are used to checking contents on packets and shopping for vegetarian food. Some packaging does state "suitable for vegetarians".
 

OhioTom76

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I was told a long time ago that Johnnie Walker brand scotch was made with bone marrow as one of it's ingredients. I suppose it could be used in other scotches as well. I would have never thought liquor used animal products, who knew?

I believe there are vegetarian versions of Worsteshire sauce that don't contain the fish products - but they may be harder to find. You might have to visit a specialty health food store or order them online. Aren't there vegan substitutions for gelatin as well such as arrow root? I don't necessarily get the objection over Shellac though since it's a secretion, unless perhaps they are killing the bugs to get the secretions.

Someone else pointed out (maybe on these forums?) that certain brands of Greek Yogurt actually contain Tilapia fish as a thickening ingredient.
 

Tara

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I was told a long time ago that Johnnie Walker brand scotch was made with bone marrow as one of it's ingredients.

I never heard that! I don't drink Johnnie Walker, but it was my Dad's favorite drink. I don't think he ever knew that. It wouldn't have stopped him from drinking his favorite drink though. :wink:

Someone else pointed out (maybe on these forums?) that certain brands of Greek Yogurt actually contain Tilapia fish as a thickening ingredient.

I didn't know this either! I don't like Greek yogurt. It's just too chalky for my tastes. I bet farmed raised Tilapia is used too. Yuck!
 

Aseye

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This is useful information. As a vegan, I am very precise about making sure that I read the ingredients and understand what they are on packaged foods that I buy. But, I don't think that many vegans understand what these different numbers and words mean. I try my best to stick mostly to fresh foods that I can make myself. Thankfully, I do not enjoy any types of alcoholic beverages. I am really quite surprised at how many items have animal products in them when I go to the store. As for sugar, I only use pure sugar cane (I'm talking about actual stalks of sugar cane) and unrefined Demerera cane sugar that still has the molasses in it. I don't drink commercial drinks that have added sugar in them because I am quite sure that it is white sugar.
 

kamarsun1

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I thought I would start a thread listing the ingredients vegetarians should avoid but may not be aware of. These being involved in the manufacture of foods & drinks that you would expect to be OK, but are in fact not, e.g. white sugar & jellies. The aim is not to scare people but to educate them.

The sort of thing I am thinking of here is as follows:

Alcoholic drinks: some are filtered using animal products, particularly beers, wines and ciders.
Breakfast cereals: are now often vitamin D3 or omega-3 enriched.
Cheese: made using rennet, the source of rennet is the problem here.
Gel-cap medications: made with gelatine. (If it is a prescribed medication, consult your Dr for a non-gel cap version).
Jellies (sweet or savoury): often made with gelatine.
Margarines and spreads: most margarines and spreads contain vitamin D3 or are omega-3 enriched.
Omega-3 enriched: source is often fish based.
Orange-coloured soft drinks: some (but not all) contain gelatine as a carrier for the colour beta-carotene, but are not required to state on the packaging that they contain gelatine as it is not considered an ingredient.
Red-coloured soft drinks: sometimes cochineal is used as a colouring
Refined sugar: the manufacturing process can use animal bones.
Sweets and marshmallows: often made with gelatine.
Worcestershire sauce: contains anchovies (fish).
Thai curry paste: often contains fish paste


So why are some of these a problem?

Carmine/cochineal (E120): a red dye made from crushed beetles.
Chitosan: made from crustaceans
Gelatine: made from animal bones and connective tissues.
Isinglass: from the swim bladders of fish
Lanolin: a grease secreted from sheep’s skin and extracted from their wool, in some cases from the wool of slaughtered sheep
L-Cysteine (E920): Is sometimes made from hair or feathers (can be found in bread!)
‘Omega-3 enriched’: (margarine, olive oil, bread, breakfast cereal, orange juice) sometimes/often contain fish rather than plant sources of omega-3.
Rennet: often a mixture of enzymes from mammalian stomachs
Shellac (E904): insect secretions, sometimes used as a glazing agent on sweets and fruit
Vitamin D3, or unspecified “Vitamin D”: Vitamin D3, or unspecified “Vitamin D”: Vitamin D3 used in fortified foods is not suitable for vegetarians, as it is obtained from lanolin (a grease derived from sheep’s wool or skins).

So finally what is it that makes white sugar not vegetarian? Well it is filtered (to make it pure white) using activated charcoal which is often sourced from animal bones. Unfortunately brown refined sugar can also fall into this category as well. It is often the difference between cane sugar (often not vegetarian) and beet sugar.

Please add to the list as you see fit.
Great list. I didn't know about the Thai curry paste. I've been vegan for about three years, and it is a lifetime of research to learn what to eat and more importantly what not to eat. Thanks
 

winterybella

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This is useful information. I am neither Vegan or Vegetarian but I need to get on board for eating healthier whichever route I decide to take. I was from the school that believed that all fish was good for you but I am beginning to realize this might be far from true.

When the Tilapia turns up at my house I could prepare it all week. Based on what I have been reading lately, it doesn't seem to be a great idea after all.
 

SatNavSaysStraightOn

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I've just found out about something called milk stout. It's a very nice smooth, dark ale/stout but sadly contains lactose which means that it is not vegan or suitable for those with a dairy allergy. I didn't know about it previously because UK law means it can't be called milk stout because it is not actually made directly from milk! It is made from the waste products of the cheese making process, lactose and whey, both of which I am allergic to! Ahhhhh And those first few sips were so very nice as well... :cry: right until the shortness of breath started.

Seems like I will now have to check the labels of all bottle of stout and dark ales for the allergy advice (my failure - it was clearly there. I just, not knowing about milk stout, never suspected I would have to look for dairy products in beer!) It also seems like it is only the UK that this would be a problem in because everywhere else it can be called milk stout and I would never have gone anywhere near it!
 

classic33

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Will you now be adding the North American versions of Guinness to those suitable for vegetarians?
 

cupcakechef

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The sugar thing is probably the biggest surprise to me. I knew about gelatin in a lot of gummy candies out there, but plain old sugar I would have never thought of to be anything Vegan/vegetarian unfriendly. Knowledge is power!
 

Pat

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Thanks for the list. There are things I will have to remove from my diet I see. I do not eat completely vegetarian but at least 90% of my diet is vegetarian.
 
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