Is Life Cereal Vegan?

Life was my favorite cereal when I was younger. I ate it pretty much every morning before high school. Then when I went vegan back in college, I wondered: Can I still eat Life cereal? Is Life vegan?

Life cereal is generally considered vegan. However, it does contain sugar, which is a gray-area ingredient that some vegans avoid. The reason is that non-organic cane sugar is often filtered with animal bone char to make it whiter.

Below, I’ll talk about how to decide if Life cereal is vegan enough for you. I’ll also look at Cinnamon Life and other flavors. (It turns out, they actually contain some extra gray-area ingredients for vegans!)

Life Cereal Ingredients [Analyzed]

Let’s start off by taking a deep dive into the ingredients of Life cereal (the original multigrain flavor). Here I’ve bolded the one questionable ingredient in red:

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. (source)

Yep, it’s sugar. So what’s the deal with vegans and sugar? How can something like sugar—harvested from sugarcane or beet plants—be problematic? It’s not an animal ingredient.

Well, sugar is debated by vegans. The reason? Non-organic cane sugar is often filtered with animal bone char to make it whiter. And when reading a food label, you can’t tell the source of “sugar” and whether bone char was used. (source)

Some vegans avoid “sugar” in packaged foods for this reason—others don’t. Personally, I don’t worry about it. I think it’s probably ineffective to boycott ingredients that are only tangentially or potentially related to animals.

I think the signal you’re sending to companies is just not very clear when you boycott something like “sugar” due to a possible connection to an animal by-product. Meanwhile, it makes it much harder to be vegan if you’re super picky about that stuff.

That said, some vegans prefer to avoid sugar—and if that’s you, Life cereal is one to avoid!

Does Life Cereal Have Dairy?

Life Cereal does not contain dairy, milk, or lactose. In fact, on the Life Cereal box I have, there isn’t even a warning for “traces” of milk or “may contain milk.” So Life Cereal should be safe for those with milk allergies and lactose intolerance.

Life Cereal Flavors

But nowadays, there is not just one flavor of Life cereal. You can get Cinnamon, Chocolate, Strawberry, and more. So… what are the vegan status for each of those?

Is Cinnamon Life Vegan?

Cinnamon Life cereal is generally considered vegan. However, it does contain sugar, natural flavor, and artificial colors, which are gray-area ingredients that some vegans avoid.

So, there are more “gray-area” ingredients in Cinnamon Life compared to the Original flavor. Here’s what we’re looking at:

  • Natural Flavor: Gray Area. “Natural flavors” can include animal ingredients, and the exact recipe is secret. So we can’t know for sure that it’s vegan. That said, I have no reason to suspect that animal ingredients are used to flavor Cinnamon Life. So it’s probably okay.
  • Artificial Colors: Gray Area. Artificial colors are not always considered vegan due to ongoing animal testing concerns. In Cinnamon Life, these include Yellow 6, Yellow 5, Red 40, and Blue 1. (Click the individual colors for posts I’ve written on each.)

Most vegans would be okay with consuming these ingredients, but I wanted to mention them in case you’re a particularly picky vegan.

Cinnamon Life Cereal 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. (source)

Is Strawberry Life Vegan?

Strawberry Life cereal is generally considered vegan. However, it contains sugar, natural flavor, and artificial colors, which are gray area ingredients some vegans avoid.

Here’s the full ingredients:

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

Is Chocolate Life Vegan?

Chocolate Life cereal is typically considered vegan. However, it does contain sugar, natural flavor, and artificial colors, which are gray-area ingredients some vegans avoid.

Here’s the full list of ingredients:

Chocolate Life Cereal 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. (source)

Is Vanilla Life Vegan?

Vanilla Life cereal is generally considered vegan. However, it does contain sugar and natural flavor, which are gray area ingredients that some vegans avoid.

Here’s the full list of ingredients:

Vanilla Life Cereal 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. (source)

Two More Recommendations for Your Vegan Journey

1. This is the best vegan multivitamin I’ve found in 13 years of being vegan. It has vitamin B12, vitamin D, omega-3—and nothing else. Translation: It only has the nutrients vegans are actually low in. Read my full review of Future Kind’s multivitamin here (with 10% discount).

2. This is the best vegan starter kit I know of. It’s a bundle of 9 beautiful e-books that help you transition to a healthy plant-based diet—the right way. The advice is spot-on, and it has print-outs and checklists that make it easy to implement. Read my full review of Nutriciously here.

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