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spohk
Dec 27th, 2008, 12:52 AM
Hello everyone!
A few weekends ago, I was at my partner's friend's home for breakfast. Nic, the friend, asked if I ate sugar, and I quizzically looked at him and said, "Of course." Then he enlightened me to the fact that charred animal bones are used to bleach the sugar. Having known about activated carbon and it's many uses, I figured Nic was mistaken and decided to do my own research. Sure enough, about 1/4 of all granulated sugar is processed with charred bones...of course I was shocked and a little unnerved when I looked through my vegan guide book to see an asterisk on the bottom of the page in the back of the book saying, "*Cane sugar is sometimes whitened using animal bones."
My partner tries to reassure me that only 1/4 of the sugar in the US is processed with animal bones, but that means one in four food items would be like this...I don't think it would be a bad thing to rid my diet of refined sugar...what do you all think about this and how important is this in your lives?

Om lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu

Fuhzy
Dec 27th, 2008, 01:43 AM
La Junta? I am originally from Canon City! (in Denver now)


Yes I recently eliminated all products that list 'sugar' as an ingredient, unless I know it's from a good source. A 1 in 4 chance of using animals is too high for my tastes.

Also, all 'pure cane sugar' and 'organic sugar' are vegan :)

spohk
Dec 27th, 2008, 01:50 AM
Yes, yes...La Junta, cow-country...I've spent the majority of my life in Pueblo though. Thanks for the info, I feel the same way as you!

Quantum Mechanic
Dec 27th, 2008, 06:53 AM
Yes I recently eliminated all products that list 'sugar' as an ingredient, unless I know it's from a good source. A 1 in 4 chance of using animals is too high for my tastes.

Also, all 'pure cane sugar' and 'organic sugar' are vegan :)

How do you do that??

I try to do that, but really, I always end up seeing that it has that as an ingredient anwyay.

Fuhzy
Dec 27th, 2008, 07:06 PM
Yeah I have had to give up some things (cereals, random dirty carb foods, sodas) but I think it's worth it. My food cravings have gone down as well, and there isn't really a negative side-effect to cutting sugar out of the diet. If I need something sweet I just reach for a fruit. :)

Quantum Mechanic
Dec 28th, 2008, 02:36 AM
Well, I mean more that, I rely so much on the foods that others buy and prepare for me. So with kitchen foods where I can read the labels, I do, but a lot of it is cafeteria food, and as I don't want to eat just salads, ;) I can't guarantee. But my school cafeteria is quite good about labelling vegan and such. On the food there.

Mahk
Dec 28th, 2008, 03:25 AM
Also, all 'pure cane sugar' and 'organic sugar' are vegan :)

I've seen that said about "organic sugar" from several sources, but not a single one seemed authoritative or gave any collaborative evidence in support and I've never seen any evidence that "pure cane sugar" is guaranteed not to be bone char filtered from anyone but you. Do you have any links? Thanks.

Quantum Mechanic
Dec 28th, 2008, 03:53 AM
I've seen that said about "organic sugar" from several sources, but not a single one seemed authoritative or gave any collaborative evidence in support and I've never seen any evidence that "pure cane sugar" is guaranteed not to be bone char filtered from anyone but you. Do you have any links? Thanks.

Yeah, I always heard that it was beet sugar that was not filtered through bone char, and that other sugar as long as it was in certain other countries (but certainly not the U.S., where a percentage of cane sugar is filtered through bone char).

Mahk
Dec 28th, 2008, 05:13 AM
The problem is when one buys plain or white "sugar" in an American super market it is never labeled as "beet" or "cane" sugar, in fact I read once that for some reason it is illegal to do so [sorry, no link]. Beet sugar is naturally white so it is never bone char filtered, whereas cane sugar is always filtered (unless being sold as "turbinado"/"raw"/ "evaporated cane juice" in which case it will have a beige color) but bone char filters aren't the only kind, however. Since 50% of US sugar is cane, and 50% of that is bone char filtered, the net result is around 25% is bone char filtered. True.
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Even knowing what brand makes the sugar is no guarantee either. Domino for instance uses bone char filtration for some of their cane refineries yet non-bone char at others. So Domino cane sugar made in NY is not the same as Domino cane sugar from LA! Imagine writing to a company "I need to know the batch number on the bag of the sugar that was used to make the wheat bread you made this month so that I can contact the sugar manufacturer to determine which refinery was used." [Our friends across the pond actually get responses to inquiries like this!:eek:]
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Consider a different scenario where you simply ask: "Is the sugar vegan in your wheat bread?" And the reply:

Mahk,

Thank you for contacting us regarding our all natural wheat bread. As the proud father of a vegan myself I am fully aware of your life-style's needs and am happy to announce that after contacting our exclusive sugar supplier (that I promise will never change due to expected price fluctuations between different vendors ;) ), I can confidently tell you that the sugar we use does not contain any bone char and is purified through the use of natural charcoal to remove any impurities.

-John at Natural Breads Are Us

Think you're safe? Guess again (http://www.veggieboards.com/boards/showthread.php?t=3736).;) read just the first response as to what "natural charcoal" means. Hint #2: If you stir your soup with a steel spoon does the soup "contain steel"?

Because of this and other reasons I don't worry about sugar while I live here in the US. If I had a watchdog group that regulated and certified food as vegan safe with an emblem like the Vegan Society in the UK does, maybe I'd feel differently, but I don't.

squigaletta
Dec 29th, 2008, 03:44 PM
Does anyone know the deal re british sugar?

cobweb
Dec 29th, 2008, 08:37 PM
i think the leading brands are safe here, squigaletta, - personally i always used unrefined sugar though.

Mahk
Dec 29th, 2008, 09:13 PM
"Some refined sugars use bone charcoal as a decolourant. In the UK Tate and Lyle and Billingtons sugars are free of animal substances. British Sugar, trading as Silver Spoon (the largest UK supplier) state that their white sugar is vegan but they cannot guarantee their brown sugars as some bone charcoal may be used by their suppliers."

Source (http://www.ivu.org/faq/food.html)

Buying unrefined sugar here in the US is quite easy, it's the "hidden" sugar used in small amounts in many: pretzels, breads, crackers, salad dressings, ketchups, mustards (e.g. Grey Poupon Dijon), salsas, tomato pasta sauces, pizza doughs, bagels, canned vegetables (e.g. almost all peas), soups, champagnes, “typical” peanut butters, etc., none of which are considered “sweets”, which is a logistical nightmare considering knowing what brand they use isn't even sufficient data in some cases, one needs to know the batch number. Note that list doesn’t even contain any of the traditionally sweet/dessert foods like candy, cookies (biscuits), cake, soy ice cream, sorbet, mints, chewing gum, pie, donuts, jam, jelly, pastry, muffins, pancakes, waffles, syrup, many breakfast cereals, puddings, soy yogurts, granola bars, or soda pop. All of which you would expect to contain sugar.

[Much of this post is me quoting earlier remarks I've made in previous posts.]

Fuhzy
Dec 30th, 2008, 02:33 AM
Buying unrefined sugar here in the US is quite easy, it's the "hidden" sugar used in small amounts in many: pretzels, breads, crackers, salad dressings, ketchups, mustards (e.g. Grey Poupon Dijon), salsas, tomato pasta sauces, pizza doughs, bagels, canned vegetables (e.g. almost all peas), soups, champagnes, “typical” peanut butters, etc., none of which are considered “sweets”, which is a logistical nightmare considering knowing what brand they use isn't even sufficient data in some cases, one needs to know the batch number. Note that list doesn’t even contain any of the traditionally sweet/dessert foods like candy, cookies (biscuits), cake, soy ice cream, sorbet, mints, chewing gum, pie, donuts, jam, jelly, pastry, muffins, pancakes, waffles, syrup, many breakfast cereals, puddings, soy yogurts, granola bars, or soda pop. All of which you would expect to contain sugar.
Exactly, it's just one more hassle to make sure you are being a 'good' vegan...

DiaShel
Dec 30th, 2008, 02:39 AM
I feel like it's impossible to shop in a "regular" store and avoid sugar, with is why I avoid them at all costs. Also processed foods in general when I can. I actually cut out refined sugar for health reasons and never felt better.

Mahk
Dec 31st, 2008, 03:20 AM
Oh another thing I verified today. White rice made in Asian restaurants in those large rice cookers often has sugar added in very small quantities. (also salt and a tiny amount of lemon juice they told me.) Why? I have no idea but I asked at the sushi restaurant I was at today. She was adamant that it was very little though.:)

squigaletta
Dec 31st, 2008, 03:11 PM
Is it all kinds of white rice in asian restaurants or just sushi rice? Because sushi rice is seasoned (with a variety of things, salt sugar sushi vinegar lemon juice etc) but I have never heard of sushi seasoning being added to other kinds of rice.

Mahk
Dec 31st, 2008, 05:09 PM
Don't know. It would seem odd to me that an Asian food restaurant would have two separate rice cookers; one for making sushi rice and one for making rice rice, but who knows. The moral of the story to me is that what appears to be plain, unflavored white rice may actually have a very small amount of sugar in it. She seemed insistent that the amount used is so minuscule that it doesn't actually flavor the rice at all, so it seems one wouldn't be able to tell by taste either, you have to ask instead.

bradders
Dec 31st, 2008, 06:19 PM
best thing to do of course is where possible use beet based and raw sugars.

with the rice they often add sugar to help make it sticky

clueless
Jan 7th, 2009, 10:57 AM
I try to avoid refined sugar wherever possible. I use agave nectar in tea and stuff, and if I buy sugar I always buy raw or unrefined.

Quantum Mechanic
Jan 8th, 2009, 03:05 AM
I try to avoid refined sugar wherever possible. I use agave nectar in tea and stuff, and if I buy sugar I always buy raw or unrefined.

Yeah, my approach (living in the US) is that for products that I buy that may contain sugar I won't worry so much about sourcing every single thing, but I will not myself go out and buy a bag of sugar that has that 1/4 chance of being processed through bone char; I'll choose the raw sugar or some such. Unfortunately, as has been noted, there isn't sugar sold in the US as "beet sugar". Well, I mean that of course it's sold, but that it's not sold in such a way that it's labeled that way.

Mahk
Jan 8th, 2009, 04:23 AM
^ Agreed 100%.