When you look at most mainstream brands of chips on the market, you’ll quickly realize that most of them are pure junk. They’re deep-fried, full of chemicals, acids, sugar, and artificial dye and flavors.
However, Sunchips have always been hailed as a healthier alternative to all of the artificial chips found in most vending machines.
But, are Sunchips vegan?
Yes – the Original flavor of Sunchips is vegan! Unfortunately, though, the other flavors of Sunchips are NOT vegan, as they contain both dairy and/or honey ingredients, which are animal-derived.
In fact, the only questionable ingredient in the Original flavor of Sunchips is white sugar, as it’s refined through animal bone char. While this may be a problem for strict ethical vegans, most dietary vegans don’t find an issue with the otherwise plant-based sweetener.
In today’s post, I’m going to answer some of the most common vegan-related questions I’ve been asked about Sunchips and give you a full rundown of the ingredients!
Are Sunchips Dairy-Free?
Oddly enough, dairy is one of the most common ingredients you’ll find in chips. While the chips themselves usually aren’t made with milk, the seasoning blends used on most chips contain milk powder, dairy, or casein (which are all dried forms of milk or milk protein).
Dairy is added to seasoning blends to help it bind to the surface of the chips. It also improves the texture of the chips, giving them a softer texture on the surface of your tongue.
The Original flavor of Sunchips is 100% dairy-free!
However, all of the other flavors of Sunchips do contain some form of dairy additive. This means that both vegans and lactose intolerant individuals should avoid most of the Sunchips line.
Which Sunchips Are Vegetarian?
Wondering which flavors of Sunchips are vegetarian? Well, they ALL are!
Most Sunchips flavors are off-limits for vegans as they contain dairy and/or honey. Vegetarians, on the other hand, are allowed to consume both dairy and honey.
Here’s the full list, so you can see it for yourself!
|Vegan Sunchips||Vegetarian Sunchips|
What Are Sunchips Made Of? A Look At The Ingredients
Compared to most other brands of chips, Sunchips are actually fairly healthy! They don’t contain a bunch of artificial ingredients, preservatives, and other problematic chemicals. Take a look for yourself:
As you can see, it’s a pretty simple list.
Now, I’ll take a couple of minutes to break all of the ingredients down!
1) Whole Corn
Sunchips are, first and foremost, corn chips. This is why they have a similar taste and texture to tortilla chips (which are also vegan).
What’s cool about Sunchips, though, is that they use whole corn instead of simple cornflour. This is healthier, as whole corn contains more natural fiber than flour.
Fiber is great for your digestion and helps your stomach stay full for longer. In other words, it makes the chips more filling, so you don’t need to eat as much.
Eating fiber also helps your intestines move quicker, which helps your body get rid of toxic buildup and can prevent colon cancer!
2) Sunflower or Canola Oil
Sunchips are fried in either sunflower or canola oil. Both of these natural cooking oils are vegan-friendly, as they’re both sustainably sourced from sunflower seeds or canola flower seeds.
Unlike palm oil (the most common type of frying oil), sunflower and canola oil don’t contribute to rainforest deforestation and don’t displace wildlife. So if you see these oils in other foods, just remember that they’re 100% vegan!
3) Whole Wheat
Whole wheat is mashed in with the whole corn, giving you a whole bunch of whole grains.
How’s that for a tongue-twister?
Anyways, whole wheat is 100% vegan and is a natural grass that’s been grown and eaten by humans for thousands of years. It’s a great source of fiber, complex carbs, and natural minerals.
That being said, whole wheat does contain high amounts of gluten, so if you have gluten sensitivity, then you may want to avoid this one!
4) Brown Rice Flour
Brown rice and oat flour (see below) are both used to create the doughy mash that the whole corn and whole wheat are mixed into. Brown rice flour is an excellent plant-based baking additive that contains complex carbs and high amounts of natural fiber.
Brown rice flour is also minimally processed. It’s not enriched or bleached in any way, making it a pure, all-natural baking additive. It’s often added to vegan protein bars and other vegan protein foods.
5) Whole Oat Flour
Whole oat flour is another whole flour used in Sunchips. Like brown rice flour, whole oat flour is minimally processed, making it more wholesome and natural than the bleached corn and wheat flour used in some brands of chips.
Sugar (in particular – refined white sugar) is the only problematic ingredient found in Sunchips. Although sugar is a plant-based sweetener that’s extracted from sugar cane, it goes through a refining process that involves animal parts.
To remove the natural brown color and malty flavor of natural cane sugar, it must first be filtered through animal bone char. This process removes the color and flavor of the cane sugar, leaving behind a purer (sweeter) sugar product.
Understandably, this process has led many vegans to boycott white sugar in favor of natural unrefined cane sugar (commonly known as turbinado sugar)
If you’re a dietary vegan who’s not following the diet for ethical reasons, then this may not be an issue for you. However, I’ll leave that up to you to decide!
Salt is added to most dough-based recipes (which chips are) in order to strengthen the dough. Otherwise, the chips would fall apart and crumble too easily! Salt is always vegan and is obtained through lab synthesis or from natural oceanic salt deposits.
8) Natural Flavor
Sunchips are naturally flavored with the manufacturer’s signature blend of natural flavors. They aren’t forthcoming about the specific flavors they use in their chips, but I assume that they’re plant-based, as the chips don’t have any type of meat flavoring.
Maltodextrin is a super-processed starch that’s extracted from corn. In some cases, it’s added to food as a sweetener or thickening agent. However, in Sunchips, it serves as a drying agent and natural preservative.
Are Sunchips Healthy?
Compared to some of the other mainstream brands of chips (Takis, Doritos, etc.), Sunchips are a lot more wholesome. At the end of the day, they’re still empty carbs.
However, they don’t contain all of the acidic additives that damage your stomach and also have a higher fiber content, which makes them more filling.
You should still be careful about consuming too many chips. However, I’d definitely reach for a bag of these over a bag of Cheetos!
The Verdict – Are Sunchips Vegan-Friendly?
The Original flavor of Sunchips is 100% vegan. Other than the refined white sugar (which many vegans abstain from), they’re made from 100% all-natural, plant-based ingredients.
That being said, all of the other flavors of Sunchips are non-vegan and contain dairy, so stay away from those.
If you’re looking for some more delicious snacks, be sure to check out my list of the best plant-based chips next!