Some vegetarians–usually strict vegans–will not consume sugar. This is because sugar is often whitened with bone char from cows.
If you are a vegetarian and you want to continue eating products that contain sugar, but do not want to cause suffering in the process, you have a number of options.
Your first option is to only consume products made with beet sugar. There are two major sources of sugar in the
United States: beet sugar and cane sugar. Cane sugar is often whitened with bone char from cows; in contrast, beet sugar is never whitened with bone char.
So, if you want to completely avoid the bone char, you can do so by eating only beet sugar. The only challenge–and it
is a big one–is finding out which foods contain beet sugar and which foods contain cane sugar.
To make things more complex, you can also consume a number of types of cane sugar, as long as you are willing to find
out what the source of the sugar is.
You can do this in a lot of cases by looking at the nutritional panel on food before you buy it. If it says
fructose or dextrose, the sugar is from a plant source (either beet or corn). If it says sucrose, it could be from
a number of sources, which could include bone char-whitened cane sugar.
Now, if you are cooking with sugar, you can personally verify that is bone-char free by purchasing from the
following companies, which have publicly-stated that they do not use bone-char: Florida Crystals Refinery, Imperial
Sugar Company, Irish Sugar Ltd., Sugar In the Raw (which is also less-refined), and American Crystal Sugar Company.
If you can’t find these brands, but want to avoid consuming bone-char sugar if possible, you can avoid these brands,
which have publicly-stated that they do use bone-char: Domino, Savannah Foods, and C&H Sugar Company.