More and more people are embracing the vegan lifestyle, though for different reasons. Veganism has many health benefits, helps in sustaining the environment, and most importantly it’s a nod for animal welfare.
While it’s true that a vegan diet involves staying away from animal products by adopting a plant-based diet, it doesn’t mean you have to avoid all the foods you love to indulge in like sweets and other snacks. Some childhood candies like lollipops never get boring and even though I wouldn’t say I have a sweet tooth, the cravings creep in every now and then.
If you are wondering whether or not you can include them in your vegan diet, you have come to the right place for answers.
Are lollipops vegan? Yes, they are generally vegan. The basic lollipops are only made of plain sugar and water. However, there are so many variations of lollipops derived from the original recipe. These variations are made of different ingredients, some of which are non-vegan. As a vegan, watch out for ingredients related to animal products in fancy flavoured lollipops.
People have a misconception that all vegan food is health. Well, not necessarily. As a vegan, you can enjoy a wide variety of snacks from the shelves in shops and supermarkets, or even homemade. All that matters is the ingredients used. In that case, what are the ingredients used in making lollipops beside sugar and water? Since there are so many companies manufacturing different lollipops, I will inform you which ones are vegan and what ingredients to avoid. I will be discussing these areas and more on the vegan status of lollipops, so stick around.
What Makes Some Lollipops Vegan And Others Not?
In the 21st century, there is pretty much everything vegan even outside the food industry. With so many vegan products flooding the supermarkets, chances are non-vegan products are also sneaked in as vegan. However tiny a lollipop can be, it is not suitable for vegan consumption if it contains animal products. If you are a strict vegan, this article will help you differentiate between vegan and non-vegan lollipops.
The reason why lollipops are generally considered vegan is that plain sugar and water are the principal ingredients. Basic sugar is vegan as well as water. A sugar and water syrup is made and solidified such that the moisture content drops to 2%. This on its own is a complete lollipop and all the other added components are completely optional. Some companies also introduce natural acids like malic and citrus, which are vegan as well. Therefore, only the flavoured and special types of lollipops tend to be non-vegan.
Non-Vegan Ingredients Common in Some Lollipops
Despite the market flooding with vegan lollipops, some of them still remain to be animal-based. Here are some non-vegan ingredients found in some lollipops:
Caramel is found in most candies, including lollipops. In its simplest and pure form, caramel is made by heating natural sugars. There are various types of natural sugars, including lactose that is non-vegan and fructose that is vegan. There are other forms of caramel made differently and some of them are free of animal products. Caramel sauce is also frequently used, and it contains cream and milk. Unfortunately, products that have caramel listed on their ingredient list do not specify whether it contains dairy or not, and how it is made in particular. This makes it difficult to decide what caramel-based lollipops are vegan.
The cream is the higher fatty part of milk. Lollipops with cream usually have the name ‘cream’ somewhere. There are so many flavours of cream pops like berries and cream, orange and cream, and vanilla. An example is Original Gourmet Medley Cream Lollipops that contain sugar, coconut oil, cream, and corn syrup. Milk is also found in lollipops with an enhanced chocolate flavour. Some lollipops contain milk in its condensed form as in Tootsie Pops. These are definitely not vegan since cream in an animal by-product.
This is quite a grey area when it comes to veganism. It can be derived from both animals (tallow) and plants (soybeans). Since products are not clear on where it is sourced from, it is better to stay away from lollipops that list it as an ingredient. If you must go for jelly-like textured lollipops, go for those with Pectin instead of glycerine as they play the same role. Pectin is the soft jelly syrup found in fruits and vegetables.
Is The Sugar In Lollipops 100% Vegan?
Sugar is a bit of a controversial ingredient in the vegan world, and we’ll see why. I did some research on how sugar is used in making lollipops to determine its vegan status. During the process, sugar is exposed to a little warmth to break the particles. This produces a complex flavour, shading, and a pleasant aroma. After mixing it with water, one can choose to keep it completely natural or add other components.
In its simplest form, the former seems to be vegan-friendly but the same cannot be said about the one with additional components.
So, why does sugar raise eyebrows in the vegan world? Well, sugar is usually processed using bone char, which is derived from charring animal bones. This process aims to remove impunities and bleach sugar to give it the pure white colour. And, brown sugar is derived from white sugar.
It gets even more complicated as there are vegan-friendly ways to purify sugar. The problem is companies that make lollipops source their sugar from different places and it’s hard to tell what filtering agent was used to make the lollipops you are consuming.
The use of bone char in sugar production doesn’t make it non-vegan in most vegans’ eyes, but stricter vegans may feel differently. So, whether the sugar used in lollipops is vegan or not, it’s up to you to decide.
Are Lollipops Healthy?
Not everything that is vegan-friendly is healthy. For starters, lollipops are unhealthy whether vegan or not. Too much intake of added sugar leads to weight gain, fatty liver disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, inflammation, as well as life-threatening conditions such as stroke and heart attack.
Secondly, sweets that are too sugary are completely detrimental to your teeth. Since lollipops are meant for sucking, they stay in the mouth for long thereby accelerating the chances of getting cavities. Biting and chewing on the lollipops is even worse. Some pieces stick to all the crannies and nooks in your teeth. Meanwhile, bacteria start feasting on that residue for a longer period, causing gum disease and other dental problems.
Since sugar is the major ingredient in lollipops, it is not easy to get sugar-free ones. You do not have to stop visiting the candy store though. Since people tend to buy lollipops occasionally, probably for birthday parties, Halloween, and Christmas, eating them in moderation is not that bad. Be sure to brush your teeth right after to get rid of the sugars. Eating a few slices of apple can also help dislodge any other sugar residue.
What Are Some Of The Vegan-Friendly Lollipops?
Instead of having to scour the market for vegan pops, I have decided to list a few here. Feel free to explore the market for more flavours.
- Dum Dum: These are the most famous vegan lollipops.
- YumEarth Organic lollipops: These are purely vegan and free from gluten, dairy, and nuts. YumEarth organic pops are flavoured and coloured using real fruits.
- Charm Blow Pops: These look very much like Tootsie Roll pops but don’t confuse the two. Tootsie pops are milk-based thus vegetarian, not vegan. Amazingly, Charm blow pops actually have a chewing centre.
- Rainbow lollipops, Organic 6 Pack: They are made with corn syrup and fruit flavouring (orange, raspberry, blackcurrant, apple, and lemon).
- Zollipops: These are no ordinary vegan suckers as they are supercharged with smile-friendly natural ingredients like non-gmo xylitol, erythritol, and so on. Zollipops naturally help to neutralize the acidity and raise the pH level in your mouth. This, in turn, helps teeth to re-mineralize faster as well as make them stronger and harder.
- Chupa Chups: The company produces a variety of flavours but only the strawberry, cherry, and cola flavours are vegan-friendly. Stay away from vanilla, strawberry cream, and apple flavours.
With that being said, homemade lollipops are the best way to ensure all your ingredients are purely vegan. Be sure to use organic ingredients when making vegan lollipops at home.