Is Cellulose Gum Vegan? It’s Up For Debate

The vegan lifestyle goes beyond diet. It is a lifestyle that requires a commitment to consume cruelty-free products that are produced humanely.

Every person following the vegan lifestyle remains vigilant and thorough when it comes to making everyday choices. They want to ensure their values are not compromised even by accident.

This brings us to the topic of cellulose gum. Is cellulose gum vegan? It’s a debatable question, but the consensus leans towards yes, it is vegan. But to answer this question fully, let’s explore every ingredient and ensure it aligns with a vegan’s lifestyle values.

What Is Cellulose Gum, and Where Is it Used?

Toothpaste

Before we start exploring the truth about cellulose gum, let’s first talk about its common uses. Cellulose gum is most commonly used to:

  1. Stabilize foods and other products by retaining moisture
  2. Provides texture 
  3. Improves recipes

Cellulose gum is used in products like toothpaste to provide texture and keep the oil and water from separating. It is more commonly used in vegan recipes to give them a thick and creamy texture and add flavor. 

The Common Opinion

The most common answer to this question is “yes.” According to registered nutritionist Robert Van De Ville and Drew Davis, who has a BS in Nutrition and Dietetics, cellulose gum is indisputably vegan. This view is corroborated by The Vegetarian Resource Group, which has listed cellulose gum as a vegan ingredient.

In addition to these, there are various blogs by vegans or ones that talk about veganism, which have held onto the stance that cellulose gum is vegan.

Sources of Cellulose

Wood Pulp

To explore this topic further, let’s consider the sources commonly used to derive cellulose. The following sources are used for obtaining cellulose:

  1. Wood Pulp
  2. Cotton Seeds
  3. Plant Fibers

Cellulose is primarily obtained from wood pulp and cotton seeds but can also be derived from plant fibers. Since it exists is a plant-based compound, there is no need to derive it from a non-plant source. For better understanding, you can check out this informative short video, which explains the basics about cellulose: 

Preparation of Cellulose Gum

The preparation of cellulose gum is a simple process. According to this article by the International Food Additives Council, the cellulose extracts from wood or cotton are mixed with acetic acid and salt. The mixture is filtered to obtained dry powder, which is called cellulose gum. 

Since this process is exceptionally transparent, it cancels any further questions about whether cellulose gum is vegan. Since it is obtained entirely through plant-based sources and is processed with ingredients considered vegan, the ingredient is vegan.

Items That Appear Vegan but Aren’t

Cellulose gum is vegan. However, the same cannot be said for several daily use items that seem vegan. To help you stay more aware of what to look out for, we have included a list of routine items that are not vegan.

  1. Collagen
Collagen

Collagen is a regular ingredient in many beauty products. Since it’s a protein found in skin, bones, tissues, etc., collagen is non-vegan due to its animal source. Collagen is also a common ingredient in gelatins, which is also non-vegan, and used in many food products like jelly and marshmallows. Hence, it is a substance you need to look out for.

  1. Glycerol

Glycerol is often used in artificial sweeteners and soaps. It goes by other names like glycerine or glycerin. Glycerol is derived from both animal and plant sources. However, one cannot be certain if the product containing glycerol is vegan as the distinction is not made obvious regarding the source. There have also been synthetic productions of this ingredient. However, due to the lack of a specific label declaring the source of the glycerol used, it is safe to avoid it.

  1. Ghee

Mostly used in South Asian or Southeast Asian cuisines, ghee is clarified butter. It is a dairy product and not suitable for vegans.

  1. Keratin

Keratin, a very common element of popular hair treatments, is not a vegan ingredient. This protein is obtained from animal-based sources like hair, nails, claws, shells, bones, and beaks. If you are buying hair care or beauty product, you need to ensure it does not contain Keratin.

  1. Oil Pastels

One surprisingly non-vegan item is oil pastels. One of the most popular art materials used by artists across the globe, oil pastels are often made using animal fat. However, there is no need to worry about not being able to do oil painting. There are vegan options available for oil pastels now, so you can paint away without any trouble.

  1. Parchment

An item that is mostly out of use in the modern age, parchment was made using animal skins. You can still see its use in books that are hard to find and a few centuries old at least. Modern paper is sourced entirely through wood and, therefore, vegan.

You can also find check out the following video to check out some regularly overlooked ingredients that are not vegan:

Conclusion

To sum up, the answer to the question, ‘is cellulose gum vegan?’ is ‘YES.’ Cellulose gum and cellulose-based products are suitable for vegans. Hence, all vegans can continue using cellulose gum without worries to get that nice, thick, and creamy consistency in their foods.

Still, you should keep a lookout for other ingredients that might be sneaking into your diet one way or another. There is always a need to be vigilant.Curious about what else is or isn’t vegan? Learn if other snacks like doritos or tootsie rolls are vegan.

Want to Learn More

We have a lot of guides that are suitable for both beginners and expert vegans.