Is Life Cereal Vegan? Here’s What You Should Know

Life was (and continues) to be one of the most popular cereals in United States households. In fact, it’s one of the most reviewed cereals on Amazon, with over 15,000 customer reviews. This tells me a a lot about the popularity of the cereals and why vegans would be interested in knowing whether they’re vegan.

Life cereal is vegan. It doesn’t contain flagrant animal ingredients like milk, gelatin, or honey. However, it does contain sugar, an ingredient that is controversial within the vegan community. The reason is that non-organic cane sugar may be filtered with bone char, a property obtained from the bones of cattle. 

In this article, we’ll look at the ingredients in Life cereal, and we’ll also cover other flavors, including cinnamon vanilla, and the chocolate flavors. These contain other controversial ingredients that I believe are important to speak about. 

Life Cereal Ingredients [Analyzed]

life ingredients

Let’s look at the full list of ingredients in the Life cereal (the original multigrain flavor), and determine whether the product is truly suitable for vegans.

Life Cereal Ingredients (Original Multigrain): Whole grain oat flour, corn flour, sugar, whole wheat flour, salt, calcium carbonate, disodium phosphate, tocopherols (to preserve freshness), reduced iron, niacinamide, annatto (color), thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin, folic acid.

Fortunately, the product doesn’t contain any flagrant animal ingredients, or other controversial ingredients that may set some vegans aback, with the exception of sugar, which may or not be vegan depending on how it’s processed. 

Sugar May Be Processed With Bone Char

It was surprising when I found out about it, but it seems that sugar (particularly cane sugar), is often processed with a decolorizing agent called bone char. 

Bone char is a porous, black, granular material produced by charring animal bones. The animal bones are originally obtained from cattle slaughtered in countries like Argentina, India, and Pakistan, and sold to other foreign countries like Brazil, Egypt, and Scotland that re-sell the bones to sugar refineries in the U.S. 

However, it’s let me point out that only cane sugar is refined using bone char – beet and coconut sugar are never processed with bone char. Brown sugar is typically created by adding molasses to refined sugar, so suppliers that use bone char to make white sugar will also use it to make brown sugar. 

bone char

Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to know whether a given product contains sugar processed with bone char because companies often use a mixed pool of sugar suppliers. Companies like Oreos and Ghirardelli do that.  

The good news is that an increasing number of sugar refineries are beginning to use other types of filters, including granular carbon or an ion-exchange system. 

Because we don’t know whether Quake has used bone char in the production of Life Cereal, it’s really up to you whether you decide to avoid it. Personally, I would continue to consume it, as there’s too much uncertainty, and the industry is also adapting to more cruelty-free alternatives, so that practice is likely to vanish. 

Is Cinnamon Life Vegan?

Cinnamon Life, for some vegans, can be considered vegan. However, it does contain ingredients such as sugar, natural flavor, and artificial colors, which are also known as gray-area ingredients. 

Compared to the Original Life cereal, there are two additional controversial ingredients in Cinnamon Life.

Natural flavors:

While it’s not often the case, “natural flavors” can sometimes refer to animal ingredients. However, because manufacturers are not obliged to reveal what they are, we don’t know if they’re vegan.

Personally, I don’t feel like Cinnamon Life has any animal ingredients, so it’s probably safe to consume it. It’s important to point out that companies generally have to reveal an allergen, so unless they’re using meat or castoreum (unlikely), the “natural flavors” in Cinnamon Life should be okay for vegans. 

Artificial colors:

Artificial colors are generally not considered vegan because of ongoing animal testing concerns. In Cinnamon Life, you can find the following artificial colors: Yellow 6, Yellow 5, Red 40, and Blue 1. If you search the Internet you can easily find recent research on food colorings where mice are being used as subjects.

I wouldn’t dare assume most vegans are okay with eating these ingredients, but I’d say that sugar, natural flavors (in most cases), and artificial colors are perhaps a minor offense when compared to more flagrant ingredients like meat, dairy, honey, and so on. 

Cinnamon Life Ingredients: Whole grain oat flour, sugar, corn flour, whole wheat flour, rice flour, calcium carbonate, salt, cinnamon, disodium phosphate, caramel color, reduced iron, yellow 6, niacinamide, BHT (to preserve freshness), yellow 5, red 40, natural flavor, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin, blue 1, folic acid.

*List of ingredients taken from Amazon.

Is Chocolate Life Vegan?

Chocolate Life, for some vegans, is considered vegan. However, like Cinnamon Life, it contains gray-area ingredients such as sugar, natural flavors, and artificial colors. 

Here is the full list of ingredients:

Chocolate Life Ingredients: Whole grain oat flour, sugar, corn flour, whole wheat flour, rice flour, cocoa (processed with alkali), calcium carbonate, salt, disodium phosphate, natural flavor, reduced iron, niacinamide, BHT (to preserve freshness), yellow 5, thiamine mononitrate, yellow 6, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin, folic acid. 

*List of ingredients taken from Amazon.

Is Vanilla Life Vegan?

Vanilla Life cereal, like the aforementioned versions, is also considered vegan. It also contains gray-area ingredients like sugar and natural flavors.

Keep in mind that while rare, castoreum can be made to create vanilla flavoring. Castoreum is a chemical compound that mostly comes from a beaver’s castor sacs, located between the pelvis and the base of the tail, so definitely keep that in mind when considering this product. 

Here is the full list of ingredients:

Vanilla Life Ingredients: Whole grain oat flour, corn flour, sugar, whole wheat flour, calcium carbonate, salt, natural and artificial flavor, disodium phosphate, tocopherols (to preserve freshness), reduced iron, niacinamide, annatto (color), thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin, folic acid.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Life Cereal Contain Dairy?

Life cereal does not contain any ingredient derived from milk. If you analyze Life cereal’s entire label, you’ll also be able to note that there isn’t a potential for cross-contamination either. Therefore, it’s safe to assume that Life cereal is dairy-free. 

Does Life Cereal Have Gluten?

No, unfortunately, Life cereal is not gluten-free, as it contains whole wheat flour. Gluten, as you know, is a protein that can be found in several cereals, including wheat, barley, rye, and triticale. 

Does Life Cereal Make You Poop?

Life cereal, and cereals in general, have dietary fiber. Dietary fiber increases the size and weight of your stool, while also softening it. Having a bulkier stool means you feel less constipated, so you’re likely to poop more.

Conclusion

Life cereal is available in, at least, 4 different flavors: Original Life, Cinnamon Life, Chocolate Life, and Vanilla Life, which are generally considered vegan.

However, every flavor contains gray-area ingredients, which include sugar, natural flavors, and artificial colors.

For some vegans, such ingredients are not off-boundaries, but for others they pose an ethical problem, therefore, the decision on whether you eat Life cereals is up to you. 

Alexandre Valente

Hey there! My name is Alex and I've been vegan for more than five years! I've set up this blog because I'm really passionate about veganism and living a more eco-conscious life. Hopefully, I can use this website as a channel to help you out on your own journey!

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