Answer: Mostly no, though it depends on the brand and how it’s made.
Thinking whether vegans can chew gum or not? Well, the answer is partially yes. Intrigued? Keep reading to know more.
More on Gum for Vegans
Although chewing gum isn’t necessarily part of a diet, it’s safe to stay alert if you are a hard-core vegan. After all, gums can help with dental hygiene, freshen your breath, and even allow you to blow some big bubbles!
But did you ever wonder how about the origin of gums and why they are, well, so popular? Even though different manufacturing companies use several ingredients, the four main components for making gums are softeners, gum base, flavorings, and sweeteners. And the part where the gum is chewable is all thanks to the gum base.
Chewing gum first originated in the 1860s and was derived from chicle, a natural gum. Today, rubber has taken over this ingredient for producing gums. The addition of softeners, sweeteners, and flavors make chewing gums hard to resist.
So, what makes these harmless gums non-vegan, you ask? Well, it’s mostly to do with the addition of animal-based ingredients that companies use sometimes. Let’s take a look at some of them:
If you are a hard-core vegan, you would know that gelatine is derived from various parts of animals. These can be the skin, hooves, hide, or bones of cows and pigs. Some manufacturers tend to add this ingredient into the gums, making them unsuitable for vegans and even vegetarians. The reason for adding gelatine is that it gives texture to the gum and acts as a binding agent. This helps provide the shape of the gums, like pellets.
Glycerine acts as a sweetener and is often used with xylitol. The production of this ingredient is tricky as it uses both plants and animals. Apart from using soybeans and other sources of plants, animal fat, or tallow, it also goes into producing this ingredient. Luckily, some manufacturers mention it clearly in the label if its derivation is from plants.
Another ingredient you should watch out for is carmine. It is made of a scarlet dye that is used for coloring food. Now, this dye originates from the crushed and dried bodies of female scale insects. So, the next time you buy gum and notice a bright, unnatural, crimson red color, make sure to go through the label properly.
The fourth ingredient is stearic acid. It naturally occurs in chocolate and is usable as an additive in some chewing gums as a thickener. Just like glycerine, its production can be from both animals and plants. Again, unless otherwise mentioned, it’s best to steer away from gums that don’t mention its source of derivation.
The last item on this list is lecithin, which is used in a variety of foods like bread and chocolate. It usually comes from rapeseed, sunflower, and soy, as well as animal products like egg and milk. Just like stearic acid, lecithin is used as a softener in gums.
So, there you have it- the reasons why some gums are considered non-vegan. And unless you spot these ingredients in the chewing gum label, it’s safe to assume that it’s vegan.
Gum Alternatives for Vegans
- Dubble Bubble
- Hubba Bubba
- Juicy Fruit
- 5 Gum
- Mentos Gum- Note that Mentos Strawberry Squeeze, 3 Layer, and Juice Burst gum are non-vegan
If you love chewing gum and can’t seem to get enough of it, you can always choose from these brands. Also, gums that have spearmint, peppermint, sweet watermelon, winter mint, and bubble gum flavors also fall under the category of vegan gums.
So, the next time you want to give your mouth some exercise, take extra caution, and remember to read the label. This way, you can assure yourself that you’re not breaking the rules and sticking to a vegan diet! Share this piece of information with your vegan friends, too, so that they will also know which gums they can opt for.