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Cheerios are a great, staple breakfast cereal to kick start your day the right way. With deliciously crunchy whole grains in every little O, Cheerios contain 7 vitamins, iron, and calcium which is needed for the maintenance of normal bones as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle and come in a variety of flavors.
However, although they are a cereal loved by many, people that are curious or are new to the vegan diet might be wondering: are Cheerios vegan?
Unfortunately, the majority of Cheerios aren’t vegan, and whether you eat them at all will depend on your morals as a vegan. This is because Cheerios contain refined white sugar, which is manufactured with the use of animal bone char to remove impurities and whiten the sugar.
Therefore, although it’s not directly an animal product, white sugar technically isn’t vegan either, leaving a bit of a grey area depending on the vegan’s preferences.
The majority of strict vegans avoid foods that are manufactured using animal products, such as white sugar, and animal-derived ingredients such as honey, vitamin D3, and lactic acid.
However, this does depend on the individual, as white sugar is in so many foods some vegans might not want to limit their diet so strictly. For instance, where one vegan might avoid honey, they may be less strict and still eat white sugar.
In this article, we look into the few flavors that you can eat as a vegan if you eat white sugar, as well as some flavors that you are more likely to avoid.
Let’s begin by examining the few packages of Cheerios that are vegan friendly, with a caveat that ‘vegan friendly’ in this context means that they still contain sugar.
Non-strict Vegan Cheerios
As a low sugar alternative, oat Cheerios are vegan friendly. As oat Cheerios are significantly lower in sugar at 1.4%, it is arguably a more suitable cereal option for vegans than an alternative that has a higher sugar content.
Containing 98% whole grain as its number one 1 ingredient, oat Cheerios are high in fibre and low in sugar.
As a result, oat Cheerios cereal is an excellent addition to breakfast in your varied and balanced diet as part of a healthy lifestyle for those in the market for a plant-based replacement of the regular Cheerios.
Multigrain Cheerios are also vegan friendly.
There are no animal sourced ingredients in multigrain Cheerios, as their ingredients include whole grain oats, whole grain corn, sugar, corn starch, corn bran, whole grain rice, whole grain sorghum, whole grain millet, brown sugar syrup, salt, Vitamin E, color and preservatives.
If you eat sugar, you’re safe to eat this type of Cheerios cereal!
Yellow Box Cheerios
Not to be confused with honey nut Cheerios, which definitely are not vegan, yellow box Cheerios are in fact vegan friendly! This cereal provides plenty of fiber from whole grain oats and is a great addition to a healthy, balanced diet.
With only 1 gram of sugar per serving, no artificial colors or flavors, the yellow box Cheerios are an excellent gluten-free and vegan-friendly breakfast cereal.
However, depending on how strict you are as a vegan, there are more options of Cheerios that you should try to avoid as a vegan.
Unsuitable for vegans
Honey Nut Cheerios
It goes without saying that honey nut Cheerios contains, as the name implies, honey, therefore making this cereal unsuitable for vegans. As honey is taken from bees, it is considered to be an animal product which unfortunately is not suitable for vegans.
The majority of vegans consider honey as the exploitation of bees, as it is produced by them and then harvested by humans. However, honey is typically much easier to avoid than sugar is, so depending on your morals, try to avoid this type of Cheerios.
It is also worth noting that honey nut Cheerios cereal and the original Cheerios are fortified with Vitamin D, which is derived from wool grease. This means that, though the ingredient list appears as vegan, since they are fortified, honey nut Cheerios are not suitable for those on a plant-based diet.
It’s as simple as this: if you typically avoid honey as it is not vegan, you will avoid honey nut cheerios for the same reason.
Cheerios Oat Crunch
Cheerios oat crunch is not suitable for vegans, as it is also fortified with Vitamin D.
Cheerios oat crunch also contain honey, so if you tend to avoid that in your vegan diet, this cereal is definitely one to leave on the shelf when you’re choosing at the store.
Being vegan can be a bit of a minefield, especially when it comes to foods such as breakfast cereals, that are often packed with sugar.
In summary, yes – Cheerios can be considered vegan, with the caveat that white sugar isn’t technically considered to be vegan.
Also, you need to also consider the packages that are fortified with Vitamin D and other animal derivatives such as honey, which also are not vegan. These ingredients are somewhat easier to avoid than sugar is.
That being said, unless you’re a raw vegan that doesn’t eat any processed food, it is next to impossible to adhere to a strictly vegan diet, as refined sugar is an ingredient that is so commonly present that it is almost impossible to avoid.
A large proportion of your sugar intake will be taken up by processed foods, so this is something to consider as a vegan.
Whether you eat Cheerios will come down to you as a vegan. If you’re a flexible vegan that still eats white sugar, there are a few options of Cheerios that are suitable for you to eat.
However, you’ll need to ensure that you pair them with vegan milk substitutes, such as oat or almond milk as opposed to standard dairy milk.
If you’re stricter with your vegan diet, there are definitely better alternatives to Cheerios out there.