Calcium chloride is an inorganic compound salt that is a white crystalline solid at room temperature. It is used for a variety of different purposes, including de-icing, road surfacing, and as an additive in some plastics. Yet, most people will recognize it as an additive in many food products consumed throughout the world. One of the most commonly asked questions concerning the additive is, “is calcium chloride vegan?”. This article provides the answer to this question and will look at different calcium chloride sources and benefits.
Calcium Chloride Sources and Benefits
When most people think of salt, they imagine the sodium chloride (NaCl) that is commonly used as table salt. Yet, there are a number of similar compound salts that exist; one of which is calcium chloride (CaCl2).
Calcium chloride is typically made in two different ways. Firstly, it is acquired from a chemical reaction involving limestone. Secondly, it is made from purifying brine. The latter is the most widely used method.
The benefits of calcium chloride in the food industry are that it can add firmness to certain foods, it can enhance the saltiness of conserves and pickles, and it can lower the pH of certain drinks to enhance the taste.
One of the main sources of calcium chloride in food products is sports drinks. The compound is used in sports drinks as it produces a more efficient electrolyte than sodium chloride and, when added to water, it splits negative chlorine ions and positive calcium ions. The salty taste that this provides makes it theoretically suitable for use as a table salt alternative. Yet, its strong hygroscopic properties (ability to retain water) make it a risk for human consumption in high quantities.
Is Calcium Chloride Vegan?
Is calcium chloride vegan? The simple answer is yes. In fact, one of the major benefits of calcium chloride is that it is used as a firming agent in many vegan products, such as tofu and canned vegetables. It is sometimes referred to as calcium dichloride or E509 in food products. Yet, despite calcium chloride being used in different products, there are plenty of other sources of calcium available in the world of vegan food.
Other Vegan Sources of Calcium
A common concern among vegans, or people wanting to switch to a vegan diet, is that they won’t get enough calcium. Milk is widely regarded as one of the best sources of calcium, but there are a number of vegetables that provide an equal measure, or more, calcium – these include Chinese cabbage, almonds, beans, and broccoli. Look out for these foods when searching for your next healthy meal delivery in Toronto.
Before continuing, it’s important to understand the required nutritional intake (RNI) of calcium. Men and most women require around 1000 mg of calcium per day. Women over 50, however, require between 1200 to 1500 mg of calcium per day.
The Importance of Protein and Sodium
Proteins derived from animal sources cause some of the calcium to be disposed of when urinating. This means that vegans may require less calcium than a person not following a plant-based diet.
Sodium has a similar effect. For every 1000 mg of sodium consumed, around 30 mg of calcium is disposed of in urine. If the average person consumes 4000 mg of sodium every day, that can lead to over 1000 mg of calcium being lost. Cutting back on salt, therefore, is a good way to increase your body’s capacity for holding calcium.
When it comes to cutting back on sodium, don’t only consider the amounts used as table salt or when added when cooking to cooking – processed foods are often where most of the sodium in people’s diets lie, and it is important to check food labels to ensure that the levels of sodium is in accordance with the rest of your diet.
Vegan Foods Rich in Calcium
The following foods are rich sources of calcium for vegans:
· Almonds. 50 mg per 1/3 cup.
· Quinoa. 50 mg per 1 cup.
· Wakame. 104 mg per ¼ cup.
· Hummus. 80 mg per ½ cup.
· Blackstrap molasses. 130 mg per 1 tbsp.
· Tahini. 128 mg per 2 tbsp.
· Tofu w/o added calcium. 67 mg per ¼ cup.
The absorption level of calcium in vegan food is also worth considering. Many deep green vegetables (such as broccoli, kale, and green cabbage) have a higher absorption rate than milk – 50 to 70% as opposed to 32%. Almonds and beans also have a good level of absorption – 21% and 17%, respectively.
Benefits of Calcium in Our Diet
Getting a sufficient quantity of calcium in our diets is essential for many reasons. The health benefits it provides include building strong bones and teeth, maintain a regular heartbeat, aiding the release of hormones, and sending and receiving nerve signals.
Moreover, as around 99% of calcium in our bodies is found in the bones, sufficient intake of calcium can greatly reduce the risk of osteoporosis – a medical condition characterised by bones becoming fragile and brittle as a result of nutrient deficiencies and hormonal changes.
Is Calcium Chloride Vegan FAQs
Where can vegans get calcium?
Sources of calcium for vegans are numerous and wide-ranging. High quantities can be found in many deep green vegetables (including kale, Chinese cabbage, and broccoli), almonds, and tofu. It can also be acquired from calcium chloride sources such as sports drinks, tofu, and canned vegetables.
Is calcium chloride healthy?
When used as an additive, the levels of calcium chloride found in food products is minimal and can be considered safe. Yet, the hygroscopic properties of calcium chloride mean that it should never be consumed in other circumstances. Excessive consumption can lead to extreme thirst, abdominal pain, and severe dehydration.
Are calcium supplements vegan?
Whether a supplement is vegan or not depends on the form in which it is supplied. Most calcium supplements are vegan, yet some may be encased in a gelatin capsule, rendering them not vegan. Most calcium supplements will provide this information on the label.
Is calcium stearate vegan?
Calcium stearate is a carboxylate of calcium that is found in many foodstuffs as an additive. It is generally considered vegan-friendly, but it should be consumed in low amounts due to its toxicity effects when consumed in large doses.