Answer: It depends.
Life cereal is conditionally vegan due to sugar content and other questionable ingredients.
You probably grew up eating Life cereal every morning until high school. If you’ve switched to being vegan and are wondering if Life cereal is vegan, I’ve researched this product to give you a thorough answer. There are vegan flavors you can try as well as other cereal brands that are suitable for vegans like you.
Life cereal can be considered vegan depending on the flavor, but it generally contains sugar and artificial colors. These controversial ingredients set vegans back when choosing a cereal brand that is vegan-friendly. White sugar is filtered with bone char, making it a non-organic cane sugar that carries animal by-products.
To help you understand how Life cereal may not be suitable for your vegan diet, I have looked at the flavors currently available including Cinnamon and Vanilla. I’ll share with you the problematic ingredients that are not ideal for vegans.
Is Quaker Life Vegan?
Quaker Life is a fortified cereal that can be a nutritious and easy-to-prep breakfast meal. This is even much healthier when you add fortified organic milk. When it comes to nutrients, this cereal contains calcium, iron, and B vitamins.
If you want to get more protein from this food, you can add fortified soy milk to your bowl. To boost the flavor, it’s also good to add some flaxseeds, dried fruits, or other preferred toppings that contain more vitamins and minerals.
Recently, Quaker has updated its original recipe to replace artificial colors with annatto. This means the original Quaker Life cereal is the most suitable flavor for vegans. All the ingredients are basically vitamins and minerals except for the disodium phosphate.
On the other hand, it still has sugar in it, which might be processed with animal bone char. Therefore, it’s a personal preference whether this cereal is reasonable to avoid or not if you’re going vegan.
Are Other Flavors Of Life Cereal Vegan?
While the original flavor is already questionable for its sugar content, other flavors of Life cereal are even more problematic for vegans. The Strawberry, Chocolate, and Cinnamon flavors contain BHT, a synthetic antioxidant used so that vegetable oils don’t go rancid.
BHT is a common ingredient used by many cereal brands in the United States. Some add it directly to their cereal, while other manufacturers only add it to the wax paper or plastic liner. From the packaging, BHT attaches to the cereal, making it questionable for vegans.
If you don’t agree with animal testing, it’s sensible to avoid products that contain these controversial ingredients. These specific flavors or varieties of Life cereal are not good for vegans, especially when it comes to nutrients and animal-based ingredients.
Life Cereal Ingredients
Perhaps, your main concern is that Life cereal may contain animal-derived ingredients. This is tricky because there are some ingredients that are not clear how they are processed. There are controversies that point out that non-organic cane sugar is filtered with bone char.
According to the brand, there are no animal-based ingredients used in their cereal products. However, some of the ingredients are considered problematic for vegans such as the following:
- Sugar – often refined with animal bone char. Refined sugars can increase the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.
- Artificial Colors – Red 40, Yellow 5 & 6, and Blue 1 are artificially made and they are considered non-vegan because these artificial colors are tested on rabbits, dogs, and mice.
- Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT) – is not healthy and is also tested on animals for safety and health purposes.
- Natural Flavors – there’s no way to determine whether this ingredient is vegan or not because they can either be extracted from animals or plants. Quaker Life cereal, however, mentioned that the natural flavors in their products are extracted from herbs, veggies, fruits, and spices.
The good news is that the Original Life Cereal offers a good option for vegans looking to enjoy a healthy bowl of delicious cereal in the morning. The original flavor contains these nutritious ingredients:
- Whole grain oat flour
- Folic acid
- Pyridoxine hydrochloride
- Thiamine mononitrate
- Reduced iron
- Disodium phosphate
- Calcium carbonate
- Whole wheat flour
- Corn flour
This long list of ingredients may be intimidating, but they are all healthy to eat except the disodium phosphate. Instead of artificial colors, they used annatto for their original Life cereal so that vegans have an option.
Why Are Sugar And Artificial Colors Problematic For Vegans?
Sugar and artificial colors might be vegan because not all are created equal. White sugar, for instance, may or may not be refined using bone char. This should be clarified by the brand.
For the artificial colors, some cereals contain annatto rather than artificial colors. Check the label before you buy a box of breakfast cereal, make sure it says annatto instead of artificial coloring to ensure you are eating a vegan-friendly bowl of cereal.
How Can You Tell If A Cereal Is Vegan?
The rule of thumb is to only include plant-based ingredients. However, even non-organic cane sugar that is extracted from beet plants or sugarcane is questionable. The debate is that sugar is commonly processed with bone char in order to make the final product even whiter.
When you read the food label, there’s no way to tell if the source of sugar is from a plant or if it’s not filtered with animal bone char. This is why a lot of vegans don’t buy products that contain sugar to avoid animal-derived ingredients that may be present in the cereal.
On the other hand, some vegans don’t mind eating cereals with sugar and artificial coloring. Generally, this is a personal choice; it’s up to you whether you will consider it vegan or not. But if you’re going to follow the rule book, anything that contains animal ingredients is considered not vegan-friendly.
What Cereals Are Vegan–Friendly?
The Quaker Life Cereal Original Flavor is the most vegan-friendly among other flavors such as Strawberry, Chocolate, Cinnamon, and Vanilla. However, there’s a chance that you can still enjoy these flavors despite their gray-area ingredients. So, are these Life cereal flavors really suitable for vegans like you?
Cinnamon Life Cereal is typically considered vegan, but it contains the most controversial ingredients such as artificial coloring, natural flavor, and sugar. These questionable ingredients may be okay for some, but they would be particularly avoided by picky vegans.
Same concerns with the Strawberry, Chocolate, and Vanilla flavors. If you’re looking for more vegan options other than Life cereal, here’s a list of the best vegan-friendly cereals you can try at home:
- Organic Puffed Brown Rice is like Rice Krispies but without the non-organic ingredients. There are no artificial inputs included in this food such as added preservatives, and this is non-GMO.
- Nature’s Path cold cereals that contain organic whole grain. This brand is known for its organic movement, promoting organic farming and food production to help consumers live healthy while caring for the planet.
- Farina hot cereals that can be eaten with chopped walnuts and dried fruits. The Creamy Hot Wheat Cereal is fat-free, sodium-free, and enriched with essential nutrients to keep your body lean and healthy. This hearty breakfast hot cereal is an excellent source of folate and iron.
- Bob’s Red Mill Cream of Buckwheat contains omega 3s and other nutrients. This is made of buckwheat grains that are full of flavor and gluten-free. This nutlike flavor cereal is rich in protein and doesn’t contain sodium. It is good for your digestive health and heart health, which is perfect for diabetics as well.
All these vegan cereal options contain less to no sugar. It’s important to avoid sweetened breakfast cereals as much as possible. If you can abstain from adding sugar to your diet, it would make great sense to live a vegan lifestyle.
If you’re prone to higher blood sugar upon waking up, limiting sugary foods in your breakfast meals can help your pancreas prevent the development of diabetes. Avoiding sugar can help you with your overall health in the long run.
There are so many vegan cereals available in the market that don’t contain controversial ingredients such as refined sugar, animal-based ingredients, and natural flavors. If you can find them in your local grocery stores, grab them because they are the best options for a healthy and nutritious breakfast cereal.
If not, you can still eat Life cereal because it contains essential nutrients. However, you will have to deal with sugar content and the gray-area ingredients. All in all, this cereal brand is incredibly nutritious and can be a good option for vegans who are not overly picky.