Hidden Animal Ingredients Vegans Should Avoid

Hidden Animal Ingredients Vegans Should Avoid
woman in supermarket

Always read the label

It is very important that you read the food labels before you buy any particular food item.  But it is even more important that you read the labels, especially if you are a vegan/vegetarian. Failing to read the food labels can result in your buying food that has animal ingredients.

A vegan is a person who eats a plant-based diet.  The vegan diet excludes animal flesh, eggs, milk, dairy by-products, all animal-by products and honey.

Sometimes a vegan will find hidden animal ingredients lurking in food items and you want to avoid those hidden animal ingredients as much as possible.

You’re probably thinking, that all you need to do, as a vegan is avoid milk, eggs, and other dairy by-products and you’ll be fine.

There are vegan and vegetarian foods that have animal ingredients hidden in them that you may not know come from animals.

And it is important that you know about these hidden animal-based ingredients before you buy.  Knowing what hidden animal ingredients to avoid will help you stay true to eating a vegan diet.

Hidden Animal Ingredients

Here is a list of hidden animal-based ingredients and the types of foods in which they are often found.

  • Albumin binds or thickens baked goods, soups, cereals, puddings and other products.  Albumin is a protein found in eggs, milk and blood.
  • Carmine, cochineal, or carminic acid a red food dye made from ground beetles.  Colors juices, baked goods, candies, and the processed foods.
  • Casein is a protein derived from animal milk used in dairy products such as sour cream and cream cheese.  It is also added to nondairy cheese to improve the texture.
  • Gelatin is a thickener made by boiling the bones, skin and other parts of cows and other animals.  It is found in gelatin desserts, marshmallows, candies, puddings and other products.
  • Lactose is also called milk sugar derived from cow’s milk and is found in baked goods and processed foods.
  • Lard is the fat taken from hogs.  It is an ingredient that is in crackers, pie crusts and baked goods, as well as refried beans and other fried or processed foods.
  • Suet is the hard white fat from cattle and sheep and is sometimes found in margarine and baked goods.
  • Whey, derived from milk and processed into cheese.  It is found in commercial food products such as crackers and breads.

The best way to avoid hidden animal ingredients is to read the labels.  Remember the more processed food is the more likely it is to contain animal products.

The longer you eat a vegan diet you will find that yourself gravitating towards eating more whole fresh foods such as vegetables, fruits, grains and beans.

Your taste buds will enjoy whole foods much more, than the processed foods.  Eating more whole foods will help you eat less processed foods that may have hidden animal ingredients in them resulting in you avoiding those hidden animal ingredients.

Information Source: Vegan Planet: 400 Irresistible Recipes With Fantastic Flavors from Home and Around the World

Image: Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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About the Author

Evelyn Parham started this site in 2010. She enjoys writing, reading, and dabbling in photography and video editing. Learn more about her here.

14 Enlightened Replies

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  1. How to Bring Out the Inner Vegan in You | September 13, 2011
  1. Luis Tovar says:

    Sorry, Evelyn, but you don´t say anything about my arguments.

    I repeat my previous comment, if you want to read it.

    Thank you.

    • Luis,

      I’ve read your comment, and replied…there is nothing to argue about, because I agree with you. I told you that I know what a vegan means and that I understand the terminology. There is no need for you to come on my blog and state this. I really don’t get why you want to make an argument about the terminology??? This is something you can easily defend on your own blog.

      Your previous comment has nothing to do with this blog post. I was kind enough to approve your comment and reply, which is something I did not have to do.

      This post is about hidden animal ingredients that vegans should avoid and I reference where I got my information in this post. I really don’t understand what the issue is and why you feel the need to argue about the terminology/labels. At the end of the day, I am a person who does not eat any animal foods…period, which makes me a person eating a vegan diet. And from what I know, people who do not eat animal foods, flesh or anything derived from an animal are considered vegans, so they definitely eat plant-based foods/plant-based diets. If they choose to go further with the animal rights, clothing, personal care products etc, then that’s on that person.

      This is all I have to say on this topic.

      Have a good evening, sir!!

  2. Luis Tovar says:

    A vegan is not “a person who eat a plant-based diet.”

    Veganism is not a diet. Veganism is a philosophy based on the moral principle that rejects the exploitation of sentient beings and claims for the recognition of all of them as persons, bearers of rights.

    A vegan is a person who reject the exploitation on animals and doesn´t exploit animals nor participate or consume that exploitation.

    A vegan diet is not plant based-diet. Unlike vegan diet, a plant-based diet can include animal products. “Based” doesn´t mean “only”. A vegan diet is without any ingredient from animals. Plant-only diet.

    • Hi Luis,

      It is my understanding that a Vegetarian (lacto, ovo, lacto-ovo) is one who eats plants and some animal based food products. So they would not have any problems eating some animal based foods. But the Vegan does not eat any animal based foods at all, only plant-based foods. I think you mention this in your comment.

      I do know the difference and I do know what the terms mean, sir! No argument, I’m just letting you know.

  3. Sean says:

    Hi Evelyn,

    Such a very informative post. I’m not a vegan but I’m a health conscious. Its good to know where these ingredients come from to be aware of what you’re eating.

  4. Hi Greg,

    Yeah, gelatin is one that sounds very yucky.

    Who wants to eat bugs? Not me. 😉

    Thanks for chiming in.


  5. Health Blog says:

    In many countries such as India, there is a green circle on the label (mandatory by law) for pure vegetarian food items and red circle for foods which contain animal products. This help in distinguishing vegetarian and nor veg products.

  6. Good, informative post, Evelyn. Thanks for sharing and shedding some light!

  7. TrafficColeman says:

    Evelyn..I see now its a full time job to be a vegan. here is a lot of items that contain things I wouldn’t have never imagined.

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

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