Answer: Yes. Dr Pepper doesn’t contain animal-derived ingredients, making it suitable for vegans.
Did you know that Dr Pepper contains several natural and artificial vegan-friendly ingredients?
But who doesn’t love Dr Pepper, though? It’s one of my favorite carbonated drinks that has more than 20 flavors to choose from!
Among the key ingredients are high-fructose corn syrup, caramel color, and carbonated water, among others. These are all vegan-friendly, which makes Dr Pepper suitable for anyone who’s following a vegan diet.
Let’s find out more about Dr Pepper, shall we?
Table of Contents
Dr Pepper, ‘Out Of The Ordinary’
Pharmacist Charles Alderton, in the 1880s, created Dr Pepper in Waco, Texas, as a kind of pop soda.
He then offered it to Wade Morrison, who owned the Morrison’s Old Corner Drug Store in Waco.
The store had a soda fountain where Alderton’s new drink was offered, and as soon as the locals learned about it, Dr Pepper became a huge hit.
The drink was advertised as a healthful one with a slogan that says “aids digestion and restores vim, vigor, and vitality.”
Many theories have emerged about its name. One says that it was named Dr Pepper due to its medical claims that the term “Dr.” was included.
Another theory also suggests that it was named after a real doctor, Charles T. Pepper, in Rural Retreat, Virginia,
It’s said that the doctor gave Wade Morrison his first job, which the latter was thankful for, and decided to name the drink after him.
However, Census records show no evidence that Morrison worked for the doctor in Rural Retreat, especially since he lived 40 miles away from the town in Christiansburg, Virginia.
Another possible story also tells that a certain Dr. William Alexander Reed Pepper of Christiansburg was tied to Morrison, who was working as a pharmacy clerk.
Therefore, many patrons believe this was the possible theory of why the drink was named Dr Pepper.
The iconic Dr Pepper has 23 flavors, which are all vegan-friendly.
Its advertisement slogans include ‘Out of the ordinary, ‘Be You, Hold out for the out of the ordinary, and Wouldn’t You Like to Be a Pepper Too?’
Today, Dr Pepper and all its flavors are sold not only in the United States but also in Europe, Asia, North and South America, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa,
Dr Pepper was sold commercially in the U.S. in 1885.
Dr Pepper Is Vegan
All varieties and flavors of Dr Pepper are vegan-friendly. Looking at the ingredients, none of them seem to be connected to animal by-products.
Although there are several natural and artificial ingredients included in making the drink, they’re all vegan-friendly.
Let’s take a closer look at the ingredients of the original Dr Pepper.
- Carbonated Water
- High-fructose corn syrup
- Caramel Color
- Phosphoric Acid
- Natural and Artificial Flavors
- Preservative (sodium benzoate)
Other Dr Pepper flavors also include the following ingredients.
- Acesulfame potassium
- Sodium phosphate
- Citric Acid
- Malic Acid
- Red 40
Natural and Artificial Flavors can be questionable for some vegans, especially since there’s no specification on what kind of ingredient is included.
According to the FDA, Natural and Artificial Flavors can be sourced from plants, fruits, vegetables, poultry, meat, fish, dairy products, and more.
However, most Natural and Artificial Flavors used in many food and drinks are vegan-friendly, which puts many vegans at ease.
Another controversial ingredient is sugar, which can be either processed with bone char or not.
Refined sugar is non-vegan as it’s made with bone char during its filtration process. However, coconut sugar and beet sugar are not processed with bone char.
Many vegans, though, would consider this ingredient unquestionable. They believe they’ve been helping the animals and the environment way more than the others who eat animals straight from their plates.
For the Caramel Color, it’s also vegan-friendly as it’s derived from plants. The only time caramel isn’t vegan is when it’s made with milk and butter to give its rich, velvety texture.
But the Caramel Color itself is suitable for vegans and the like.
Dr Pepper Varieties and Flavors
There are more than 23 flavors of Dr Pepper that have been introduced in the market. All of which are vegan-friendly.
Check out these flavors and varieties that you may come across at your local grocer or supermarket.
Dr Pepper Dietary Brands
- Dietetic Dr Pepper or Sugar-free Dr Pepper
- Diet Pepper-Free
- Caffeine-Free Dr Pepper
- Dr Pepper Ten
Dr Pepper Flavors
- Original Dr Pepper
- Red Fusion
- Cherry Vanilla
- Diet Cherry Vanilla
- Berries and Cream
- Cream Soda
- Cream Soda Zero Sugar
- Diet Cherry Chocolate
- Cherry Zero Sugar
- Made with Real Sugar
- Vanilla Float
- Dark Berry
- UK Variation (manufactured with sugar)
- Zero Sugar
- German Variation (reduced sugar and artificial sweeteners)
Is Dr Pepper Healthy?
Excessive eating or drinking has been linked with many health problems, which is the case with most food and drinks that you consume every day.
As for Dr Pepper, several ingredients cause health issues when they’re excessively taken.
The ingredient Aspartame, for instance, is an artificial sweetener that’s sweeter than sugar, which is widely used in many food and beverages.
Rumors are rife that Aspartame is linked to cancer, obesity, and heart disease, among others.
However, the American Cancer Society says that Aspartame isn’t associated with cancer or other health issues, according to the FDA and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
In fact, Aspartame is among the food ingredients that were thoroughly or rigorously tested to ensure its safety.
But what about high-fructose corn syrup?
Another artificial sugar or sweetener is high-fructose corn syrup, which is present in Dr Pepper.
It’s made from corn syrup, widely used in many food and beverages.
What makes it dangerous to consumers is its connection to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, among others, according to several studies.
When taken excessively, high-fructose corn syrup also increases liver fat, cancer, gout, and inflammation.
Top Vegan-Friendly Soda Brands
Apart from Dr Pepper, there are also other soda or carbonated drinks that are suitable for vegans. Many are probiotic, gluten-free, caffeine-free, or with little to zero high-fructose corn syrup.
If you’re looking for a few more vegan-friendly soda brands, check out the list below. You can find them on Amazon or at your local grocer.
Some of them are my personal favorite. You should also try them out if you haven’t.
- Culture Pop Sparkling Probiotic Soda
- Wild Bill’s
- Zevia Soda
- Green Monké Hemp Infused Extract Soda
- Health-Ade Pop Soda
- Zenify Zero Sugar
- DRY Sparkling Soda
- Big Easy Tepache Sparkling Prebiotic Soda
- Revive Organic Blackberry Grape
- Llama Mama
- Mountain Dew
Important Note: It’s worth noting that Mountain Dew has a Yellow 5 ingredient, often tested on animals. This doesn’t bother other vegans, but it may bother you or not at all. So it’s up to you how you’d deal with it.
Ingredients To Look Out For In Carbonated Drinks
There are a few ingredients included in some sodas or other carbonated drinks that are not suitable for vegans.
They’re either sourced or tested on animals, which makes them non-vegan.
So if you’re on the lookout for vegan-friendly soda brands, you’ll have to check the following possible ingredients that you need to avoid.
- Easter Gum. This is a stabilizer made from glycerol, which is a sweetener. Some companies would use Easter Gum that’s made in a lab, but most of them use one that’s derived from animals. So unless it’s stated that it’s a vegan Easter Gum, it’s safe for you. Otherwise, you should avoid it.
- Cochineal. Most vegans don’t eat or drink anything that has cochineal in it, which is a red dye that’s sourced from crushed bugs or insects.
- Vitamin D3. One of the most common vitamin content in many food and beverages, Vitamin D3, is sourced from sheep’s wool. It’s widely used in many energy drinks.
- Honey. While this is rare for most sodas, there are a few that have honey in them. It’s derived from what bees produce, which they try to store, so they have something to eat during the winter or cold season.
So if you come across any of these non-vegan ingredients when you check for soda brands, you must avoid those drinks. They’re not vegan-friendly or animal-friendly.
The Bottom Line
Dr Pepper is one of the most popular carbonated drinks that are sold throughout the world, especially in the United States.
One good thing about it is that it doesn’t contain any notable animal-derived ingredients except for sugar and natural flavors that many vegans consider as safe for a vegan diet.
Dr Pepper, for instance, offers Cream Soda flavor, which is vegan-friendly. I have a detailed write-up about Cream Soda in this separate article if you wanna check it out.
You only have to avoid binge-drinking excessively, especially since Dr Pepper contains high-fructose corn syrup, which is linked to many adverse health issues.