Is Soda Vegan-Friendly? What Sodas are Vegan?

can vegans drink soda

What’s the perfect beverage to complement a yummy dishes like vegan lasagna or Mexican dishes like zucchini on a lazy Sunday? Most of you might agree with the unanimous favorite drink – soda. Nothing completes a meal better than this sweet frizzy beverage that tastes absolutely refreshing and triggers that instant feel-good emotion within.

However, if you are, or have recently started following a vegan diet, you might be a bit concerned about can vegans drink soda and is soda vegan. So here we reveal to you the vegan and not-so-vegan soda drinks.

About Sodas

can vegans drink soda

There are varieties of sodas available in the market and some most common ones are Coca Cola, Sprite, Pepsi, 7up, and many more. These soda comes with different sweeteners, coloring and many more that makes them tasty. But, are they vegan.

Vegan Soda Ingredients

Note that even though these sodas are vegan in nature, they aren’t necessarily healthy. These are ingredients that are included in carbonated water or soda:

These are what make your soda sweet and addictive. Some of the most commonly used natural and artificial sweeteners added to sodas include –


Derived from fruits and berries, it generally gives the impression that it’s safe to consume; however, research shows that fructose in fizzy drinks is more harmful than sucrose.


A natural substitute to sugar, it’s generally considered a safe sweetener obtained from a South American plant. Sprite uses it to lower the number of calories and sugar content in their drink.


One of the most commonly used artificial sweeteners in popular soda drinks, not many people know that it’s nearly 200% sweeter than sugar! This also means that it’s the common cause for a number of diseases such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, and also results in weight gain.

Acesulfame potassium

According to some scientists, this artificial soda sweetener can lead to cancer and even negatively impact the foetus in a pregnant woman.

Caramel Color is very commonly used in soft drinks to lend color to the drink and though harmless, its main component sugar isn’t very healthy itself. Caramel color has been known to trigger allergies and even provoke cancer symptoms.

Another common component of soda beverage, several of them are used in these drinks, some of which are:

Citric Acid

All citrusy flavoured drinks come with this acid which is bad for your teeth because it damages the tooth enamel and also bad for your health, leading to higher calories and weight gain.

Phosphoric or Orthophosphoric Acid

Research suggests that the acid can seep into the calcium present in the body, thereby resulting in osteoporosis and urolithiasis.

Erythorbic Acid

A relatively healthier additive, intake of this acid on an everyday basis can be unlimited. Serves as a colour fixative in sodas.

Malic Acid

Higher intake of soda containing Malic acid is not recommended because the latter has the potential to disrupt the normal functioning of the digestive system.

It’s common knowledge now that preservatives in any edible food or drink item are harmful to the body. Likewise, their presence in sodas isn’t good news either. Here are some of the harmful ones to watch out for in your soft drink:

Carbon Dioxide

This is used to create the fizzy effect in soda and is generally considered safe. However, higher intake of soda containing carbon dioxide may trigger digestive problems such as abdominal swelling and burping.

Sodium Benzoate

Considered one of the most harmful preservatives, it may even damage the body’s DNA and result in diseases like Parkinson’s syndrome, liver cirrhosis, and neurodegenerative disorders.

Potassium Sorbate

Helps increase the shelf life of soda drinks and is generally safe and permissible for use across the globe. However, daily intake should be limited to 12.5m mg per 1 kg of body weight; overdose may trigger allergy.

Sodium Citrate

Generally found in carbonated drinks that are lime or lemony in flavour. Considered potentially harmless to health.

Commonly found in a number of soft drinks such as Coca Cola, Pepsi, and Mountain Dew, it’s added to give instant energy upon drinking. However, this effect starts wearing off in a short time, after which you might start feeling lethargic and irritable.

Non-Vegan Ingredients in Sodas

Now coming to the ingredients which aren’t vegan-friendly and may not be suitable in case you are or have decided to go completely vegan:

  • Ester Gum – Comprising glycerol, which is believed to be derived from animal products or animal-derived products, this may be present in some sodas therefore making them non-vegan.
  • Cochineal – Also popularly known as carmine or carminic acid, it’s derived from female cochineal insects or their eggs. It’s therefore 100% non-vegan in nature.
  • Vitamin D3 – Derived from fish oil or lanolin (wax obtained from the wool of sheep).
  • Honey – Made by bees for themselves, honey, unlike popular belief, isn’t quite suitable for vegan humans.

Which Sodas Are Vegan?

sodas that are vegan -  is mountain dew vegan

Now that we’ve understood in detail into what ingredients does and doesn’t go into the manufacture of fizzy sodas we so lovingly drink in summer (or any season for that matter). We did a detailed analysis and found that Sprite, Mountain Dew, Dr Pepper, Monster Energy, Red Bull, are some of the vegan- friendly sodas available in market.

It’s worth noting that some sodas may contain artificial colors or flavors that are not vegan-friendly. Additionally, some sodas may be produced using animal-derived processing aids or contain sugar that is not vegan. Therefore, it is always a good idea to check the ingredient list before consuming any soda.

Drinks That Aren’t Vegan

Here’s a peek into the non-vegan versions of major soft and hard drinks

  • Guinness Beer – Its production involves the use of isinglass made from a fish’s swim bladders
  • Barefoot Wine – Gelatin, made from bone and can also include the hooves of cows and pigs, is used in the wine-making process, along with proteins from animal products or fish products, and milk or eggs too.
  • Sunkist Orange Soda – Ester gum is the main ingredient
  • Tropicana Heart Healthy Orange Juice – Comprises fish oil and fish gelatin, such as tilapia, sardine, and anchovies
  • Minute Maid Ruby Red Grapefruit – The ruby red color of the drink comes from cochineal


while soda itself may not contain animal products, the use of certain ingredients in its production process may raise questions about its vegan status. Some sodas may contain additives like refined sugars, which may be processed using bone char, a product made from animal bones.

Sodas are not the only one popular candies like Welch’s Fruit Snacks, Mike and Ikes, Salt Water Taffy, Skittles might use sugar processed from bone char which arises a major question on their vegan status.

Therefore, it’s important to carefully read ingredient labels and research the production methods of the brands of food products that you consume if you follow a vegan lifestyle.

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