Are Doritos Vegan?

Being vegan doesn’t mean you cannot enjoy junk foods. I know some people on a plant-based diet prefer only raw, organic whole foods, and this is totally fine.

But if you’re looking for a snack to satisfy your cravings, there are plenty of vegan-friendly options. Chips are an all-time favourite snack for many and one of the most popular chips brands in the world are the Doritos.

They come in a variety of enticing flavours that cater for everyone’s tastes with each crunchy chip having the perfect balance of salt, fat, tanginess, spice, and coolness. Anyone who has tried them knows that they are downright addicting.

Are Doritos Vegan? Well, Doritos come in several different flavours and most are not vegan as they include milk, whey, cheese, and other animal products and by-products. There are, however, a few flavours that are generally acceptable to most vegans although they contain some controversial ingredients in the vegan world that I will touch on later.

Majority of Doritos are made from corn, with the other key ingredients being vegetable oil and salt. But the various flavours consist of a variety of other ingredients, including dairy products, colourings, flavourings, and so on.

Keep in mind that Doritos don’t have a label that identifies each pack as being vegan or non-vegan; plus recipes may change over time. It’s, therefore, important to go through the ingredient list to know exactly what is contained in your pack of Doritos.

Be sure to contact the manufacturer directly if in doubt of anything. With that being said, let’s dive into the vegan status of different Doritos.

Can Vegans Eat Doritos?

As I mentioned earlier, it depends on the flavour. Many Doritos flavours are considered non-vegan because they contain animal-based ingredients, including milk, whey, buttermilk, cultures, different types of cheese, natural flavours that are derived from animals, chicken broth, and so on.

Even traces of these ingredients in a food product makes it non-vegan as it contributed to some degree of animal mistreatment. The colouring may not be directly from animals but animal-testing is used in their production, which makes it non-vegan as it contributes to animal exploitation.

Of the many flavours of Doritos, there are just a few that are vegan-friendly and they include:

Lightly salted

These Doritos contain only three ingredients: corn, vegetable oils, and salt. All these ingredients are nothing but vegan-friendly.

Chilli heatwave

The Chilli Heatwave Doritos are also vegan with no outright animal-based ingredients. Instead, they contain vegan ingredients and plant-based powders such as soy protein and wheat.

Heatburst BBQ and chilli

The BBQ and Chilli Doritos contain no explicitly non-vegan ingredients.

Spicy sweet chilli Doritos

This is the best among spicy flavours of Doritos and is widely considered vegan because it doesn’t contain dairy, animal-tested food colouring, and animal enzymes. Interestingly, the Spicy Sweet Chilli Doritos use natural flavour, which isn’t usually considered vegan as it implies the inclusion of several different ingredients, some of which might be meat.

The good news is the natural flavours in these Doritos are actually vegan; plus, the protein powder replaces whey protein with soy. You will notice many wordy ingredients and though they may seem foreign, they are vegan-friendly.

Blaze Doritos

These are vegan-friendly as they don’t contain animal-based ingredients as confirmed by PETA.

Original salted Doritos

These Doritos contain very few ingredients, including corn, salt, sunflower oil, canola oil, antioxidants, citric acid, ascorbic acid, and rosemary extract. As you can see, all of them are vegan.

As I was researching this post, I realised that these vegan Doritos flavours vary from country to country. The first three are available in the UK, the next two in the US, and the last vegan flavour is available in Australia. I just thought you should know so you are not surprised when you make a purchase.

However, the story doesn’t end there.

While these vegan Doritos don’t contain animal products, the process of manufacturing them might not sit well with some vegans. Doritos are made in a factory that also handles milk; plus, the vegan flavours are made in the same factory as the non-vegan flavours.

This means that there’s the possibility of cross-contamination with animal products and cross-contact with non-vegan Doritos flavours. Due to this cross-contamination risk, none of the Doritos will ever be certified as vegan and it’s really up to you whether or not these chips can be included in your vegan diet.

Your decision will depend on your vegan ethics. If you’re a vegan who judges a product by the listed ingredients alone then you can consume the vegan Doritos. But for stricter vegans, the mere possibility of cross-contamination means Doritos are completely off their shopping list.

Vegan-Friendly Alternatives to Doritos

If you wish to snack on a few chips from time to time but don’t want Doritos based on the possible cross-contamination, don’t fret as there are plenty of vegan chips for you to choose from. This includes:

Luke’s Organic Kale Multigrain and Seed Chips

These chips offer great crunch and texture. They are also a much healthier option than Doritos as they have a lower fat content, are high in fibre, and contain some iron, potassium, and calcium.

Proper Chips – Barbecue Lentil Chips

The fact that these vegan-friendly tortilla chips use lentil flour means they offer higher protein content than Doritos. And, they taste great.

The Real Coconut, Himalayan Pink Salt, Gluten-Free Coconut Flour Tortilla Chips

These chips offer two times more fibre content than Doritos; plus, the Himalayan pink salt gives it a more satisfying zing.

Mister Free’d Tortilla Chips with Blue Maize

This fun, purple-looking tortilla chips are made with simple, natural ingredients. It not only has a sweeter flavour but also packs more goodness per bite.

Tesco’s Lightly Salted Tortilla Chips

If you’re looking for low-budget vegan tortilla chips, then this Tesco’s own-brand tortillas are worth considering. They may not have the same great taste as Doritos but they are still tasty.

Controversial Ingredients in Otherwise Vegan Chips

While the vegan Doritos and the vegan-friendly alternatives to Doritos don’t contain any ingredients that are outright non-vegan, meaning animal products and by-products, they do contain some ingredients that are a bit controversial in the vegan world. This includes:

Sugar

Sugar is used in just about every Doritos, including the vegan ones. And, although it’s not technically an animal product, its manufacturing process may be of concern to strict vegans.

Sugar, specifically the refined one, is usually bleached and filtered with bone char to give it the pure white colour. Bone char is produced by charring animal bones, meaning it contributes to the mistreatment of animals, which doesn’t sit well with some vegans.

What is more frustrating about this problem is not all refined sugar is processed using bone char. Some manufacturers are, in fact, using alternative vegan-friendly methods to process sugar. But since Doritos is a huge company that most likely sources its sugar from different places, there’s no way to tell what filtering agent was used to make the sugar found in your Doritos.

Ultimately, it all depends on how strict you want your vegan life to be.

Artificial colour and flavours

Although these are synthetic ingredients made from fossil fuels, they are often tested on animals to determine their safety status. This, obviously, won’t sit well with some vegans.

Natural flavour

This is a vague and broad term that doesn’t specify whether it is sourced from plants or animals. The natural flavours in vegan Doritos are probably vegan-friendly but we can’t tell for sure.

Palm oil

Vegetable oils are usually used in making chips, but palm oil is controversial in the vegan community due to its environmental impact. Palm cultivation is said to lead to deforestation and loss of natural habitat, as well as increased greenhouse gas emissions.

Are Doritos Healthy

People go the vegan route for ethical, environmental, and health reasons. I’ve already tackled the first two with regard to Doritos, which leaves us with the health status of Doritos.

From the long list of ingredients in Doritos, oil, sugar, and salt are on the top. And, this is definitely not good news for our health. Doritos, like other chips, are notably high in calories and fat. The average calorie value of Doritos in a 40g bag is 200 calories with about 12 teaspoons of sugar. They also have high sodium content.

Frequent consumption of Doritos, or other chips for that matter, can increase bad cholesterol while lowering the good cholesterol. The high-fat content increases your risk of developing heart disease and obesity, the sugar increases your risk of developing diabetes and cavities, while the high sodium content can badly affect your cardiovascular system and lead to blood pressure, kidney failure, and even cardiac arrest.

Chips are very low in minerals and vitamins, so if you are consuming them daily, chances are you are not giving your body all the nutrients it needs.

It goes without saying that Doritos should be enjoyed in moderation to avoid all these health issues. If you want to be sure what you are eating is healthy and on a par with your vegan standards, I recommend making chips at home. There are many vegan-friendly recipes online that you can try at home for tasty, healthy, and vegan chips.

Robert Van De Ville

Robert Van De Ville is a registered nutritionist, he earned his degree in nutrition from California State University. Now based in London UK. An author of the upcoming book, researcher and dedicated vegan activist.

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