A big part of being vegan is being more ‘woke’ about what is in our food. This does not just mean being aware of the animal products inside food, and what foods to pick up and what not to pick up at the store, though.
It means we understand how other foods are made, things that someone on a normal diet would not even consider.
Things like food dyes, bone char, and yes, glycerin.
Most people just say ‘ah, yes, glycerin’, and that is it, they don’t know how it’s made or where it comes from. But, we need to know, because we need to know if we are okay to be eating it, or if it is something we should put on the ‘avoid’ list.
So, if you do not know about glycerin yet, I am here to give you a lesson and introduce you to exactly what this is.
What Is Glycerin?
Let’s begin with what glycerin is. This is something you probably see a lot in cereal bars and even makeup. Glycerin is a form of carbohydrate otherwise known as a sugar alcohol, or polyol.
It does contain more calories than sugar per gram, and it will occur naturally in a lot of fermented beverages and foods. It is often found in vinegar, beer, wine, and honey. However, it is often also produced commercially through fats, oils, sugar, yeast, or starch.
What Is Glycerin Used For?
So, what is this used for, and why?
Glycerin is often used in food and drink products. You will see it often in beverages, and in energy bars. It also has a place in icing for cakes, chewing gums, creams, condiments, soft candy, dried fruits, fudge, fondant, and marshmallows too.
So, as you see it is often found in the sweetest treats.
Is Glycerin Vegan?
So, is glycerin vegan? Since it is in so many beverages, it’s got to be right?
Well, no. Actually, some are vegan, and some aren’t.
If the glycerin is made from animal fats then it most definitely is not vegan! However, if it is made as vegetable glycerin, then it actually is vegan and you are fine to enjoy it!
You will need to look at ingredient lists to see which glycerin is used in the production of a food product to ensure that it is not animal fat-based glycerin.
What Animal Does Glycerin Come From?
When glycerin comes from animals, it usually comes from animal tallow, which is a rendered form of mutton or beef fat usually made up mostly of triglycerides.
However, not all glycerin comes from animals, and many companies now use vegetable glycerin instead of animal glycerin. Do note, makeup companies do use glycerin, so always check which type your favorite brand uses.
Is Glycerin Plant-Based?
Glycerin can come from animals or from plants. When glycerin comes from plant sources it is usually from palm, soy, or coconut oils.
Obviously, many vegans will have issues if glycerin comes from palm as well, as palm oil is not good for you, nor is it good for animals and the environment. However, if it is made from soy, or from coconut oil this is not so much of an issue and is 100% fine for any vegan.
How Do You Know If Glycerin Is Vegetarian?
The biggest issue most of us face is that most companies do not state if their glycerin is from animals or plants. Some may put vegetable glycerol which is stating that glycerin comes from plants.
However, if you want to make sure that the glycerin in what you are about to eat is vegan, you need to contact the manufacturer directly to ask what type of glycerin they use.
Is Vegetable Glycerin Vegan?
Vegetable glycerin is vegan… for the most part.
Most people will tell you all vegetable glycerin is vegan, I am not like most people.
The issue is that some vegetable glycerin may come from the palm. Now, that is better than it coming directly from a cow or sheep, but palm oil is very well known for destroying animal habitats and deforestation.
As long as the vegetable glycerin used is soy oil or coconut oil, it is 100% vegan. However, with so many vegans turning their backs on palm oil in distaste for its environmentally destructive impact, I cannot in good conscience say that all vegetable glycerin is indeed vegan.
Because… That would be a lie.
How To Tell If Glycerin Is Vegan?
The only true way to tell if glycerin is vegan is to directly contact the manufacturer to ask them if their product is vegan. Some companies do state on their packaging that the glycerin is vegetable glycerin.
However, if you are also cautious of the use of palm oil, or if the company does not state it is vegetable glycerin, then you are going to need to ask the company directly.
Is Glycerin Pork?
The most common sources of animal-based glycerin are beef or mutton animal tallow. However, pork is also used for its fat to obtain glycerin as well. This is shockingly used in a lot of household products. Including toothpaste.
Is Glycerin Organic?
Glycerin is generally considered organic, however, in some cases, it is synthetic as well, however, this is usually not for food products.
Can Vegans Eat Glycerin?
Vegans can eat some glycerin, however, any vegan will need to check what type of glycerin they are facing. Animal, or plant-based,
Is Glycerin Halal Or Haram?
Products that include glycerin are usually avoided by Muslims as they COULD contain animal products. However, there are vegetable oils for us in halal products, as well as in kosher products.
Non-vegetable glycerin is not vegan. Vegetable glycerin on other hand is vegan…but some vegetable glycerins contain palm oil, now if you are a very strict vegan, you would want to avoid palm oil.
So, some glycerin is vegan, others not so much.