When discussing veganism, the first thing that comes to mind is how much healthier it is than other diets. But what about vegan gummies? Without using animal products, what kinds of chemicals or alternatives are we putting into our bodies?\n\n\n\nMany vegan candy makers have begun to use agar-agar powder or plant-based pectin to substitute for gelatin, a protein obtained from animal bones, skin, tendons, and ligaments used as a thickening agent. \n\n\n\nBut what exactly are these substitutes? What is the effect they have on our bodies? And are they easy to find, make, and eat with friends and family? \n\n\n\nKey Ingredients \n\n\n\nWhen we talk about what vegan gummies contain then there are three key ingredients. Stay with me and keep reading if you want to know exactly what they are and how they can react in your body.\n\n\n\nAgar-agar Powder \n\n\n\nAgar-agar is a combination of carbohydrates and starches found in the cell wall of red algae which can be used for a variety of applications in food, medicine, and fabrics. \n\n\n\nAgar-agar has a long history, starting in Japan in the 15th century where it became a common staple in Southeast Asian desserts and soups. \n\n\n\nAgar-agar has almost no calories, has been reported to be the most powerful gelling agent, and will not modify the color, taste, or smell of the food you are making. \n\n\n\nDue to the chemical composition of agar-agar, it can help regulate the human intestinal system. It is made of 80% of dietary fiber helping feel fuller, aiding in weight loss, and helps ease constipation and digestive problems. Who knew eating vegan gummies could help you poop? \n\n\n\nAgar-agar also contains a multitude of vitamins and minerals that can aid one's health. It is a source of B vitamins, potassium, iron, magnesium, and calcium. \n\n\n\nStudies show that it can help prevent osteoporosis, protect joints, skin, nails, and hair, and is a great moisturizer. \n\n\n\nPectin\n\n\n\nPectin is a complex carbohydrate that helps bind the cells in a plant\u2019s cell walls. Pectin has always been a natural part of the human diet, as it is most commonly found in fruits and vegetables. \n\n\n\nFruitPectin %Apples1-1.5%Apricots1%Cherries0.4%Oranges0.5%-3.5%Carrots1.4%Citrus peels30%Rosehips15%\n\n\n\nSimilar to agar-agar, it is also a dietary fiber that thrives in the human gastrointestinal tract. \n\n\n\nStudies have shown that pectin slightly reduces cholesterol levels and has a positive effect on gut health. \n\n\n\nPectin\u2019s chemical composition allows it to bind to cholesterol and slow glucose absorption by trapping carbohydrate molecules that are being digested in our intestines. This allows the molecule to reduce the cholesterol from our bodies and free short-chain fatty acids that allow for our gut to increase its microbial activity, which can act as a mood booster!\n\n\n\nPectin can also keep you cancer-free! A small study conducted by WebMD reported that pectin was able to slow the growth of cancer cells in men with prostate cancer. \n\n\n\nIn terms of usage, Pectin has been used as a thickening agent since the 17th century in jams and jellies. \n\n\n\nPectin can also improve the mouth-feel and pulp stability in juices while acting as a fat substitute in baked goods. \n\n\n\nMultivitamins and Supplements\n\n\n\nAs multivitamins and other supplements become more popular, many are left to wonder if the products they buy are vegan.\n\n\n\n While most vitamins and supplements are not vegan, many brands are beginning to make vegan versions. The thickening agents used are agar-agar and pectin with added vitamins such as A, C, D, and iron.\n\n\n\nCultural Advantages of Vegan Gummies\n\n\n\nAs most vegans know, preparing food for guests who have dietary restrictions can be tricky and it does not feel good to always have to bring your own food or eat boring meals because of your host's lack of knowledge about your dietary needs. Luckily, agar-agar and pectin provide solutions to accommodate everyone's lifestyle. \n\n\n\nMy best friend has celiac disease, an autoimmune disease that prevents you from consuming gluten. Even the slightest amount of gluten will cause her discomfort for weeks on end. But eating vegan gummies made with agar-agar or pectin is not a problem for her because agar-agar and pectin are naturally gluten-free.\n\n\n\nIf you want to give your Jewish friend some vegan gummy bears, that\u2019s totally acceptable because agar-agar and certain pectins are kosher. \n\n\n\nAccording to Rabbi Sholom Ber Hendel, agar-agar is naturally kosher and pectins with a reliable kosher certification are also safe to use. \n\n\n\nHowever, certain pectins are not, if the ingredients used for enzyme extraction and standardization of the product are not kosher. \n\n\n\nOther religious diets, such as halal, are also tricky in regards to vegan gummy snacks. However since agar-agar and pectin are plant-based, they are halal!\n\n\n\n Vegan gummies of all kinds are great for anyone practicing Islam and who wants to enjoy a sweet snack without having to check to see if the gelatin is made from beef or fish. \n\n\n\nThe Truth on Vegan Gummy Bears\n\n\n\nVegan gummy bears are a healthy, sweet treat that can aid with digestion and cancer prevention while tasting good too. \n\n\n\nThey are a great candy for all people, no matter what dietary restrictions you might have. Agar-agar and pectin have proven that the benefits of eating vegan gummy bears are too good to pass up on.\n\n\n\nWhile you may be wondering how to get vegan gummy bears, brands like Surf Sweets, The Organic Candy Factory, and even Sour Patch Kids are available to consumers. \n\n\n\nIf you don\u2019t want to buy gummy bears, make them on your own! Vegan gummy bears are super easy to make and channels like Ela Vegan and Tastemade have great easy-to-follow recipes.\n\n\n\nFor me, gummy bears have always been a treat to enjoy with friends and family, either on Halloween, a casual movie night, or just a pick-me-up. Knowing that I can easily get my hands on some gummy bears that, not only fit for my vegan lifestyle but have so many benefits to my overall gut health just leads me to believe that vegan gummy bears are going to be the next big trend, #goodforyourgutbears.\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nReferences \n\n\n\nBuilder, Maxine. \u201c7 Gelatin-Free Gummies to Eat If You\u2019re Looking for Ethical Gummy\n\n\n\nBears.\u201d The Strategist, 27 Oct. 2017,\n\n\n\nnymag.com\/strategist\/2017\/10\/ethical-gummies-haribo-gummy-bear-vegan-subs\n\n\n\nitutes.html.\n\n\n\n\u201cCan Probiotics Improve Your Mood?\u201d Johns Hopkins Medicine, 2018,\n\n\n\nwww.hopkinsmedicine.org\/health\/wellness-and-prevention\/can-probiotics-impro\n\n\n\ne-your-mood.\n\n\n\nHendel, Rabbi Sholom Ber. \u201cWhat Is Pectin? - Kosher Spirit.\u201d OK Kosher Certification,\n\n\n\n2021, www.ok.org\/article\/what-is-pectin.\n\n\n\nIslamic Council of Victoria. \u201cWhat Is Halal? A Guide for Non-Muslims.\u201d Islamic Council\n\n\n\nof Victoria (ICV), 3 Apr. 2016,\n\n\n\nwww.icv.org.au\/about\/about-islam-overview\/what-is-halal-a-guide-for-non-muslim\n\n\n\n\u201cPectin: Uses and Risks.\u201d WebMD, 23 Jan. 2013,\n\n\n\nwww.webmd.com\/vitamins-and-supplements\/pectin-uses-and-risks.\n\n\n\nThecanadian. \u201cAgar-Agar: All the Properties and Benefits of \u2018super-Filling\u2019 Vegan\n\n\n\nGelatin.\u201d The Canadian, 5 Jan. 2021,\n\n\n\nthecanadian.news\/2021\/01\/05\/agar-agar-all-the-properties-and-benefits-of-super\n\n\n\nfilling-vegan-gelatin.\n\n\n\nWikipedia contributors. \u201cAgar.\u201d Wikipedia, 5 Aug. 2021, en.wikipedia.org\/wiki\/Agar.Wikipedia contributors. \u201cPectin.\u201d Wikipedia, 8 Aug. 2021, en.wikipedia.org\/wiki\/Pectin.