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Answer: Yes. Dr Pepper is safe for vegans.
Dr Pepper is a composition of vegan ingredients suitable for a green lifestyle.
Being a vegan, you always take a second thought before putting anything in your mouth. With Dr Pepper having about 23 flavors blended in one, it is justified for you to wonder about animal products present in its formulation.
You don’t have to worry about any additives derived from animals as the formulation includes carbonated water and high-fructose corn syrup mostly. Other components in the drink are flavorings, caffeine, and coloring agents, and no trace of animal elements.
Why Is Dr Pepper So Special?
There is something about opening a can or bottle of Dr Pepper and hearing the fizz as the smell of a fusion of flavors opens your senses. The first taste that hits you is sweet and peppery. And a combination of a unique balance of many other flavors is bound to gradually get to your taste buds.
The bold flavor is a combination of what tastes like fruits, mint, licorice, and some spice. If I had to define the taste of Dr Pepper, I would say it is a spicy version of coke and a small reminder of cough syrup. Though I don’t mean to make you cringe with the thought of medicinal taste, Dr Pepper is indeed a result of an experiment in a pharmacy, and hence the taste.
Combining so many tastes in one container would start an intense debate on what taste is bolder than the others. Maybe that’s why it is a good thing Dr Pepper keeps his ingredients a secret.
Many Dr Pepper fans have given different ideas on what the 23 flavors are. The secret ingredient is unknown to this day, and one day I hope to crack it.
What Makes Dr Pepper Vegan?
Now that you know that Dr Pepper has no animal products or bi-products, I suppose you still want to know what makes it purely vegan. I am more than glad to break the good news that both regular Dr Pepper and Diet Dr Pepper are vegan-friendly drinks, and there are no traces of animal elements.
Take a look at the main fundamental ingredients in regular Dr Pepper:
- Carbonated water
- Caramel color
- Food coloring agents
- High fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
- Phosphoric acid
- Sodium benzoate (preservatives)
- Artificial and natural flavors
The mention of artificial and natural flavors might tingle a vague sense in your search for a vegan explanation. I am irked when there are no specifications of the derivation of flavors on the label. Maybe they are following specific labeling guidelines.
Like most vegans, you may hesitate to make a move to consume such products with the concern of potential animal components. Suppose you want to avoid any possibility of probable animal contents on artificial or natural flavors. In that case, you may want to stay away from highly processed foods and stick to whole plant foods.
Are You Concerned That The Preservatives Are Animal-Based?
Let’s talk about preservatives. Like most soda drinks, Dr Pepper has a substantial percentage of additives in its components, including sodium benzoate, sodium phosphate, and phosphoric acid. I am not getting all scientific here, but you may get unsure after hearing words you are not quite familiar with. Here are my explanations for these elements.
- Sodium benzoate: This is a common addition to most food products that act as the main preservatives of acidic foods. It has no issues with being derived from animals because it is a synthetic material.
- Sodium phosphate: You acquire sodium phosphate by the reaction of sulfuric acid with ground phosphate. It reacts further with sodium hydroxide. More confusing terms, I know! But since its derivation is not from animals, it is vegan.
- Phosphoric acid: This is added in soda composition to acidify the drink; it’s where you get the tangy taste from. Again, we get this element from phosphate rock, not animals, and also, it is a cruelty-free product.
Let me assure you that all unfamiliar ingredients found in Dr Pepper are all friendly to a vegan lifestyle.
What About Other Dr Pepper Drinks? Are They Vegan?
Now that you have seen the chemical composition of some odd-sounding names on the label of a regular Dr Pepper, here are the explanations of other drinks from Dr Pepper.
Diet Dr Pepper
Almost all components of both regular Dr Pepper and Diet Dr Pepper are the same. In the latter, the high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is replaced by aspartame.
Aspartame is a common artificial sweetener used in most diet soda with 200 times the sweetness of regular sugar or sucrose. It is a safe alternative for sugar in food and beverages, and just like you hoped, it is vegan-safe.
Diet Dr Pepper composition includes carbonated water, phosphoric acid, caramel color, caffeine, artificial and natural flavors, aspartame, and sodium benzoate.
Caffeine-Free Dr Pepper
Again, Caffeine-Free Dr Pepper is vegan. The composition here is the same as the regular drink minus the caffeine, which is, of course, a given. If you are keen to know the specific ingredients, they are carbonated water, caramel color, HFCS, Sodium benzoate, and phosphoric acid.
After mentioning caramel color so many times, let me clarify a familiar doubt concerning its derivation. The actual caramel you find in candies and desserts is from milk and lactose (milk sugar). Lactose is heated and, in the process, acquires its brown color.
Now here is the good news! Caramel is derived from milk sugar, but the caramel color is not. What happens here is, sugar is taken from other vegan sources and caramelized to extract the brown color. Lactose has no role here; instead, sweeteners for this drink are from fructose, sucrose, invert sugar, glucose, molasses, and malt syrup, and all have successfully passed the vegan test.
Dr Pepper Cream Soda
Both regular and diet cream soda version of Dr Pepper are vegan friendly. The main composition includes carbonated water, HFCS, flavors, caramel color, caffeine, sodium benzoate, and phosphoric acid. Here too, the diet soda replaces HFCS with aspartame.
You may be concerned with the components of HFCS because most vegans consider it a tad unhealthy. But when it comes to the derivation, it is extracted from corn, so you know it has no animal ingredients.
Dr Pepper Cherry
Both regular and diet versions of Dr Pepper Cherry are purely vegan. The ingredients contain the same as that of the standard and diet Dr Pepper. With Dr Pepper Cherry, you will find fewer additives for taste and color.
Its composition includes carbonated water, HFCS, artificial and natural flavors, Sodium benzoate, caramel color, citric and malic acids, caffeine, sodium phosphate, phosphoric acid, and red 40.
This version of Dr Pepper contains Red 40, which is often confused with Red 4. Red 4 has similar red coloring, but the difference is it is derived from beetles. Now, Red 40 is a dye extracted from the petroleum industry, making it vegan friendly.
Cherry Vanilla Dr Pepper
Yes, Cherry Vanilla Dr Pepper is vegan, both regular and diet. Besides the original formulation, it contains additional flavors like cherry and vanilla, which is simple to comprehend from the name. It also has other vegan-friendly ingredients like red food dye and malic and citric acids (both organic).
Its contents include carbonated water, HFCS, artificial and natural flavors, caramel color, sodium benzoate, phosphoric acid, malic and citric acids, caffeine, and Red 40. The diet version replaces HFCS with aspartame.
Here the malic and citric acids are organic and are synthesized industrially for food and beverages. Malic acid comes from chemical synthesis, and citric acid is a product of yeast fermentation, yet again confirming their vegan nature.
Trouble For Dr Pepper
Some of its ads and slogans have riled the sentiments of a particular group of people.
- Losing some Christian fans over its evolution theory: Dr Pepper attracted massive love-hate feedback in its Facebook ads titled “The Evolution of Flavor.”
The ad featured an ape that turns into a man after drinking Dr Pepper, which sparked hot controversies with the Christian fan population. Whether you love it or hate it, this ad generated thousands of likes and comments. The purpose of the ad was half accomplished, I would say.
- Anti-women drink ad campaign: I learned from this backlash that it is never to poke the sentiments of a species that takes half of the world population. Whether you argue that it was a sexist ad or not, it did ignite an unpleasant fire amongst the womenfolk and those who support women in general.
The reason for this ‘all men’ drink being, the drink has lots of calories and sugar as opposed to the zero-calorie drink most “women” prefer, which is funny because women have had no reservations about sipping drinks that have both calories and sugar.
Is there anything called a “lady drink,” as the slogan of the ad claims? Fortunately for the ad creators, many women got the joke, and some did not bother to understand the joke. This slogan, however, did not stick for a long time.
Why Should You Drink Dr Pepper? Does It Benefit Your Health?
These statements may or may not apply to everyone who drinks Dr Pepper regularly, but here is a probable summation of how drinking this unique drink will benefit you.
- Dr Pepper has one common effect on anyone who drinks it. You go from lazy to preppy after a drink. It may be temporary but much needed when you need to get a job done ASAP.
- Besides its exciting taste, Dr Pepper will surely leave you feeling refreshed. I am sure one out of 23 flavors will do that.
Why Should You Avoid Dr Pepper?
Granted, Dr Pepper is a vegan drink, and there is no way you will find any animal-derived products or bi-products. However, I wouldn’t implore you to start drinking it regularly. Soda drinks are good to taste, and they also give an instant boost of energy. However, they come with a price that you have to pay, besides cash.
- The presence of sweeteners will make you prone to diabetes in the long run.
- Too much intake of soda drinks is likely to give you kidney troubles.
- The worst-case scenario of drinking Dr Pepper often is the probability of cancer.
The main question here is whether Dr Pepper is safe for vegans or not, and the answer is yes. But just because it is free from animal ingredients and animal cruelty, you don’t have to make it regularly on your diet.
Like any soda drink, have it in moderation, and you will be fine. But all in all, aren’t you glad that all versions of Dr Pepper are vegan?