Surprising Foods You Think Are Vegan But Aren't

By: Kara Lydon, R.D.N.

Is wine vegan? What about bread? Here are a list of foods you might want to watch out for.

is chocolate vegan?

Pictured Recipe: Vegan Chocolate-Dipped Frozen Banana Bites

Sure, you know to avoid meat, dairy, eggs and fish when you're vegan. But it's not always easy for a vegan to tell which foods are safe and it can be even harder for someone new to vegan eating to decide which foods are truly vegan. It's important to double-check labels and ingredient lists to avoid hidden animal-based ingredients in your foods and beverages.

Here are 13 foods that aren't always vegan that you might want to watch out for.

Read More: 4 Reasons Eating Vegan Is So Good for You

1. Chocolate

Cocoa itself is vegan, but sometimes milk or milk products are added—even to dark chocolate. Many chocolate brands call out if their product is vegan, but check the ingredient list for dairy (including whey and casein).

2. Beer and wine

Isinglass, a gelatin-based substance derived from fish, is used as a clarifying agent in some beer and wine. Other non-vegan ingredients sometimes used are casein (from milk) and egg whites. Since those ingredients aren't listed on wines and beers you should ask a store employee or contact the brand if you have questions.

3. Candy

Sugary sweets like gummies, sour candies and marshmallows may contain gelatin. Gelatin is derived from animal collagen and would be listed as an ingredient. Many candies are made with other vegan thickening agents, such as agar-agar.

4. Sugar

Table sugar is made from either sugarcane or sugar beets, both completely plant-based ingredients. Some sugar is processed with bone char, which is used in the refining process and helps whiten sugar. Sugar certified as USDA organic is not allowed to use bone char, and many brands have started calling out when they are vegan.

5. Non-dairy creamers

Don't be fooled by the nondairy description—many of these creamers contain small amounts (less than 2 percent) of sodium caseinate, a milk-based derivative.

6. Red foods

Some red-dyed food and drinks (e.g., yogurt, juices, sodas and candies) may contain an ingredient called carmine (or cochineal or carmic acid), which is derived from an insect, cochineal scale. Look at the ingredient list on foods made with red dye.

7.Worcestershire sauce

Although vegan-friendly brands are available, traditional recipes for this condiment include anchovies.

8.Veggie burgers

Many veggie burgers contain eggs or dairy, so check the labels. Luckily, you can easily find vegan varieties at the store.

9.Honey

Honey is a little controversial among the vegan community. Because it comes from bees, many—but not all—vegans choose to avoid honey.

10. Miso soup

Many restaurants use a fish-based broth (dashi) to make their miso soup, so ask if there is a vegetarian version on the menu. However, the ingredient miso is vegan-friendly and you can make vegan miso soup at home.

11. Bread

Some breads may contain milk, eggs, butter or other animal byproducts.

12. Soy-based yogurts and cheeses

You would think these products would be vegan, but not always. Read the label to make sure these soy-based products do not contain the milk-based protein casein.

13. Omega-3 fortified products

Heart-healthy orange juice boasts omega-3s because it contains fish-based ingredients like tilapia, sardine and anchovy. Make sure to check other foods with an omega-3 promise to see if they're vegan.

Watch: How to Meal-Prep a Week of Vegan Lunches

Related:
22-Day Vegan Meal Plan
Easy Vegan Lunches for Work
9 Healthy Tips to Start Eating a Vegan Diet