As someone who has been a vegan for a long time, whenever I’m dealing with something artificial, I have to raise an eyebrow and wonder, “Is this truly vegan?” Artificial sweeteners are no exception. Anything that’s made in a lab is likely to be animal-tested, and for an ethical vegan, that’s a big no-no. However, dietary vegans, or strict vegetarians, might not have any problem with animal testing so long as the product in question doesn’t actually contain any animal products or by-products.
Sweet’N Low (“The Pink Stuff”)
The main ingredient in Sweet’N Low is saccharin – an artificial sweetener that comes from coal tar. The second ingredient in Sweet’N Low is dextrose – a simple sugar that comes from corn. So, as far as ingredients, Sweet N’Low is vegan; but what about animal testing? The good news is that Sweet’N Low does not test its product on animals.
Equal (“The Blue Stuff”)
Equal is made of aspartame, dextrose, and maltodextrin – a simple carbohydrate. All of the ingredients are vegan; however, aspartame raises some pretty serious considerations when it comes to your health, so you might want to look into that for yourself. Equal does not say on their website if they test on animals or not, but aspartame has been tested on animals.
Splenda (“The Yellow Stuff”)
Spleda is sucralose. In simplest terms, sucralose is just ordinary sugar that goes through a process that turns it into something your body does not recognize as sugar and therefore does not break down into energy. Since sucralose comes from a plant, it is technically vegan; however, it is now fairly well known that Splenda took the lives of over 12,000 animals while developing their product.
Stevia, which is now being sold under brand names, such as Truvia, is catching on and seems to be becoming quite popular. Stevia is considered a “natural” sweetener, but I’m adding it to this list because in no way can it be compared to honey, maple syrup, raw sugar, or anything else that I think most people would consider to be truly natural — It goes through a process. Stevia is made of rebiana, which is an extract that comes from the leaves of the stevia plant. As for animal testing, the FDA actually rejected a request to test this substance on animals. However, Cargill, the company that markets Truvia, tested it on animals in the past.