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Answer: No. Shy off from Honey Nut Cheerios, as while they mainly contain friendly whole nuts, they include non-vegan ingredients such as white sugar.
What Are Honey Nut Cheerios?
Honey Nut Cheerios is a flavored variety of Cheerios breakfast cereal manufactured by General Mills.
This variety has been the best-selling breakfast cereal in America for a good number of years. In 2016, for instance, General Mills sold about 151 million boxes and containers of Honey Nut Cheerios. You can attribute the variety’s popularity to its incredible sweet taste, which you won’t be surprised by after looking at the back of a Honey Nut Cheerios box. Half of the main ingredients are sweeteners, including honey, refined sugar, and brown sugar.
Another factor in Honey Nut Cheerios’ claim to fame is its rich nutritional profile, which we will also look at in this post.
But before that, let’s explore why this breakfast cereal flavor falls outside vegan foods.
Why Are Honey Nut Cheerios Non-Vegan?
Considering its main ingredient, it’s not hard to tell why many people get tempted to think Honey Nut Cheerios is vegan. But you can understand the true nature of these breakfast cereals when you pick a box or conduct some online research.
The first ingredient you encounter is the whole grain nut, which is 100% vegan. And to fortify the cereal, it has a dozen of essential minerals and vitamins. However, with their sources uncertain, about half of these minerals and vitamins pose concerns for vegans. Plus, those minerals and vitamins aside, more ingredients discourage vegans from Honey Nut Cheerios.
Let’s explore all these ingredients, briefly looking at the process of getting each.
Honey Nut Cheerios Non-Vegan Ingredients
Vitamin D3, a form of vitamin D, mainly comes from lanolin or sheep’s wool, and sometimes from fish oil. General Mills doesn’t specify on the label which source it derives its vitamin D3, but regardless, you’re sure it’s an animal-based ingredient.
Extracting wool from sheep may not kill the animal, but the process will harm it, which amounts to animal cruelty, one practice that veganism doesn’t entertain.
For the fish oil, it’s clear as you have to kill fish to extract the oil.
Some B vitamins such as B1, B6, B2, and B12 are added to enrich the cereal.
There are multiple sources where vitamin B2 is found, including milk, meat, green vegetables, and eggs. That only throws a big question mark over where Honey Nut Cheerios gets their share, as General Mills doesn’t specify on the label.
And it’s a similar story for vitamin B6 as B2. It exists in different types of foods, both plants and animals. And with the manufacturer failing to include more details in the ingredients’ list, you can’t ascertain its source in Honey Nut Cheerios.
Honey is an ingredient that doesn’t just only add to the delicious taste of Honey Nut Cheerios. It also contributes a lot to their nutritional profile.
However, this gem is considered non-vegan by many vegans, although it comes from insects, which aren’t always grouped as vegan food sources.
It’s the exploitation of the bees, with some dying in the process of harvesting honey, why many vegans avoid it. And if you can keep your diets honey-free, you should stay away from Honey Nut Cheerios.
Refined sugar may be spearheading Honey Nut Cheerios’ incredible sweet taste, but whether it’s vegan or not remains a controversial topic.
The truth of this matter is that sugar crystals are refined with bone char to achieve their bright white color, unless, rarely, organically processed. Bone char comes from animals, and it’s mostly derived from skulls and spines of cattle. That swings white sugar non-vegan side, which many food bloggers and strict vegans agree.
Is Honey Nut Cheerios Popularity Justifiable?
Honey Nut Cheerios might not be vegan, but they rank well among the healthiest cereals in America, earning the tag ‘America’s favorite cereal.’ That is because they include whole grains. So you can expect them to keep all their essential nutrients, unlike refined grains. Plus, they’re low in fat and calories. Also, they are high in fiber, which not only aids in digestion. It may also help lower cholesterol levels in your blood. This way, it reduces the risks of heart-related diseases.
That’s enough to brand Honey Nut Cheerios a nutritional powerhouse. However, the added sugar, which is more dangerous than naturally occurring sugar, is where the caveat lies.
A 37g cup of Honey Nut Cheerios provides 12g of sugar. And consuming more sugar than you should in a day may accelerate weight gain thanks to the overconsumption of calories. That may bring about health complications, including obesity, diabetes, and cancer. Remember, the American Heart Association recommends a daily sugar intake of 37.5g for men and 25g for women.
But although there are enough health benefits of Honey Nut Cheerios to warrant their huge following, they are the last cereal you would want to welcome to your vegan diet.
The good news is there are breakfast cereals at your disposal that are 100% plant-based, without compromising on nutrition, too.
Vegan Alternatives For Honey Nut Cheerios
If you’re curious about vegan foods, there are excellent alternatives you can always try out, including General Mills’ own The Fiber One Original.
At least General Mills doesn’t leave vegans entirely out of their nutritious breakfast cereals with The Fiber One Original.
Unlike Honey Nut Cheerios, this variation derives all its ingredients, including corn bran, modified wheat, and whole-grain wheat, from certified vegan sources. So, you can confidently consume this cereal knowing no animal was killed or subjected to cruelty for you to enjoy. What you should be aware of is that Fiber One Original is not as sweet as compared to other cereals from General Mills. But with some nice nutty flavor, that doesn’t mean it’s bland.
Regardless, your body will thank you for the excellent nutrition profile the cereal offers. It is low in calories and contains almost no fat. The better part? The high fiber content, providing 10g per serving, equates to 40% of your daily value of fiber.
Living Intentions Organic Superfood Cereal is another elite fortified morning cereal that is 100% vegan. Like Honey Nut Cheerios, it contains whole grain gluten-free oats. But in this case, to enrich the cereal, there are vegan ingredients.
Other common ingredients are sorghum flakes, buckwheat, and sunflowers sprouts. And instead of non-vegan sweeteners, it includes coconut palm sugar for a delicious taste.
What’s more, Living Intentions Organic Superfood Cereal is a healthy cereal. For your wellness, it’s blended with prebiotics.
You can choose your morning treat cereal from four flavors of this variety, including Banana Hemp, Blueberry Blast, Cacao Crunch, as well as Figs, Flax, and Fiber.
For its fresh taste, especially when mixed with almond milk, Original Granola is another crunchy cereal worth considering for your breakfast if you choose the vegan route. It comes from simple yet premium and plant-based ingredients such as almonds, rolled oats, coconut, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds, which are all organic.
It’s also healthy. On top of being keto-friendly, GMO, and gluten-free, it contains only 4g of carbs in one bag, about 1.3L.
The flavors on offer include Almond, Vanilla, and a combination of both – Vanilla Almond.
Food For Life Ezekiel 4:9 Organic Sprouted Grain Cereal is unique. It specializes in organic and plant-based ingredients, including sprouted whole wheat, sprouted whole barley, sprouted whole soybeans, golden flax seeds, and filtered water.
The cereal is quite nutritious and very rich in fiber, meaning it’s one of those breakfasts you take in the morning and stay the entire day full. More measure of its uniqueness is it contains neither flour nor added sugars! But that doesn’t mean you have to cope with bland-tasting cereals. It tastes great, surprisingly, and you can also top that with cold almond milk or some ground cinnamon.
Since there are no artificial flavors, Golden Flax is the only flavor on the table.
As a vegan, now you’ve got all the reasons to stay away from Honey Nut Cheerios as they combine plant-based ingredients like oats with others, such as honey, that result from animal exploitation. And while, agreeably, Honey Nut Cheerios are the most favorite breakfast cereal in America for their incredible taste and excellent nutrition profile, treating yourself with some might be tempting. But with worthy vegan substitutes such as The Fiber One Original and Living Intentions Organic Superfood Cereal, you should never think of Honey Nut Cheerios in the morning.