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Choosing vegan cheese based on ingredients and labels

How to Choose a Vegan Cheese: Reading Labels and Understanding Ingredients

Choosing vegan cheese can be an exciting journey into the realm of plant-based culinary delights. With so many options available, it’s essential to consider factors like taste, texture, and ingredients. Begin by exploring different types of vegan cheeses, each offering unique flavors and melting properties. Pay attention to labels, opting for products such as Nuttino with natural, recognizable ingredients and minimal additives.  Additionally, consider nutritional value, seeking options with essential vitamins and minerals. Whether you’re melting it over pizza or sprinkling it on salads, choosing a vegan cheese opens up a world of delicious possibilities while aligning with ethical and environmental values.

Table of Contents

Reading and Understanding the Labels

What to Look for on the Label

When perusing labels for vegan cheese, there are several key factors to consider to ensure you’re selecting a product that aligns with your dietary preferences and health goals. Look for clear indicators such as “vegan” or “plant-based” prominently displayed on the packaging. Check the ingredients list to verify that there are no animal-derived components like milk, casein, whey, or other dairy derivatives. Instead, opt for cheeses made from a plant-based source, such as nuts. Additionally, scrutinize the list for any artificial flavors, oils, colors, or preservatives, aiming for products with minimal additives. Consider the nutritional profile, seeking options that provide essential nutrients. By paying attention to these label details, you can confidently select vegan cheese alternatives that meet your taste preferences and ethical standards.

Understanding Ingredients List

While opting for vegan cheese might seem like a healthier choice, it’s essential to recognize that not all vegan cheeses are created the same. In today’s food landscape, so many ingredients are used in commercial products whose origins can be ambiguous. Here, we delve into the ingredients commonly found in mainstream commercial vegan cheeses, shedding light on what they consist of. By understanding these exact ingredients, we can make more informed choices about the foods we consume and ensure they align with our health and dietary preferences.

Tricalcium Citrate

It’s commonly used as a calcium supplement and acidity regulator in food products. The synthetic nature and production process, often involving chemical reactions with calcium carbonate and citric acid, might result in impurities that could be detrimental to health. Additionally, concerns have been raised about the potential for excessive calcium intake, as tricalcium citrate is used not only for nutritional purposes but also as a firming agent in certain processed foods. It is also found in the cosmetics and personal care industry as a pH adjuster and stabilizer. You can find more information here:

Tricalcium Phosphate

Tricalcium phosphate, commonly used as an anti-caking agent, stabilizer, and calcium supplement in the food industry, has faced criticism for its potential health drawbacks. Some studies suggest that excessive intake of tricalcium phosphate may be associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular issues and kidney damage. Critics argue that the widespread use of this compound in processed foods raises concerns about cumulative exposure to high levels of phosphorus, potentially disrupting the delicate balance of minerals in the body. Furthermore, tricalcium phosphate is criticized for being a synthetic additive, and its use in various food products has prompted questions about the long-term health implications of regular consumption. It is used in the pharmaceutical industry as a binder for tablets, in the agriculture industry as a fertilizer, and as a polishing agent for toothpaste.

Read more here: https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/24456#section=Use-Classification

Canola Oil

Canola oil, widely used in the food industry, faces criticism for several reasons. While marketed as a healthier cooking oil due to its low saturated fat content and high omega-3 fatty acids, it undergoes extensive processing, often involving heat and chemical extraction, which may lead to the oxidation of its polyunsaturated fats. This oxidation can produce free radicals that might contribute to inflammation and other health issues. Additionally, concerns have been raised about the genetic modification of canola plants and the potential presence of pesticide residues in the oil. Beyond the food industry, canola oil is used in non-food applications, such as biodiesel production and industrial lubricants. However, its prevalent use in processed foods and the potential health drawbacks associated with its consumption have led some consumers to seek alternatives with more stable fatty acid profiles.

Read more about canola oil concerns –  https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/2015/04/13/ask-the-expert-concerns-about-canola-oil/.

Guar Guar Gum

This is an agrochemical derived from the seeds of the guar guar plant. It is a low-cost and highly processed ingredient used in the food industry as a stabilizer, thickener, and preservative to enhance shelf life. It is also widely used in industrial processing for paper, textiles, explosives, and oil well drilling. Read more here: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38630030/

Lactic Acid

Lactic acid, or E number E270, is a food additive and preservative. It is produced commercially by fermentation of carbohydrates such as glucose, sucrose, and lactose or by chemical synthesis. Carbohydrates include corn, beets, and cane sugar. Read more here: https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/612

Powdered Cellulose

Cellulose (C6H10O5) is refined wood pulp. It is a white, free-flowing powder. Chemically, it is an inert substance. It is not degraded during digestion and has no appreciable absorption. It may lead to a laxative effect.
Cellulose is commonly used in the pharmaceutical industry. It has compressibility properties and is used in solid dose forms, such as tablets. It is also found in many processed food products and may be used as an anti-caking agent, stabilizer, texture modifier, or suspending agent, among other uses. Read more here: https://www.drugs.com/inactive/cellulose-powdered-450.html

Xanthan Gum

Xanthan gum, a common food additive and thickening agent, has faced criticism for its potential adverse effects. Some individuals report digestive issues such as bloating and gas after consuming products containing xanthan gum. Additionally, there are concerns about the manufacturing process involving bacteria that produce xanthan gum, raising questions about the purity of the final product. You can read more here:

These ingredients are far from natural and have no place in our food. The long-term health implications are still being unraveled, leaving us to wonder what they might do to our bodies over time. These substances aren’t even natural food ingredients; they’re chemical concoctions added to food solely to prolong shelf life, tweak texture, and cut production expenses.

Identifying Quality Vegan Cheeses

Identifying a quality vegan cheese involves considering several factors contributing to its taste, texture, and nutritional value. Firstly, examine the ingredient list to ensure it’s made from wholesome, recognizable plant-based ingredients such as nuts. Look for cheeses that are free from artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives, as these can detract from the overall quality and taste. Texture is another crucial aspect—opt for cheeses that melt, stretch, and crumble similarly to dairy cheese, indicating a well-crafted product. Lastly, consider the brand’s reputation and read reviews to gauge consumers’ overall satisfaction. Considering these factors, you can confidently select a high-quality vegan cheese that satisfies your culinary preferences and dietary needs.

Avoiding Artificial Additives

Avoiding artificial additives in vegan cheese products is paramount for several reasons. Firstly, these additives can compromise the overall quality and flavor of the cheese, detracting from the natural taste of plant-based ingredients. Artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives may impart a synthetic or chemical aftertaste, diminishing the enjoyment of the cheese-eating experience. Moreover, many artificial additives have been linked to adverse health effects, including allergic reactions and digestive issues. Individuals can enjoy a cleaner, more wholesome product that aligns with their dietary preferences and promotes overall well-being by opting for vegan cheeses free from artificial additives. Additionally, choosing natural, minimally processed alternatives supports sustainable and eco-friendly practices, further contributing to a healthier planet. Overall, prioritizing products devoid of artificial additives enhances the taste and quality of vegan cheese and promotes a healthier lifestyle and environment.

Disclaimer: The information provided about specific ingredients is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice.

Explore Nuttino Products

With just six ingredients in our cheeses and five in our spreads, cashew nuts take center stage. Here, you’ll find no mysterious chemicals or artificial additives—just wholesome, natural ingredients bursting with flavor. There are no added oils such as canola oil, coconut oil, or vegetable oil.  Our creations are a dairy-free, lactose-free, sugar-free, oil-free, and additive-free delight. Purely creamy, nutty, and delicious flavors await, brimming with essential nutrients and protein. Harnessing a unique fermentation process, we conjure up the most divine cheesy goodness imaginable.