Is Pectin Vegetarian?

Green Apples in a Bushel
A bushel of apples is spilling over. (Image: MikeRega/iStock/Getty Images)

Vegetarians focus on eating a plant-based diet. You can choose from a number of vegetarian diets, one of which, the vegan diet, avoids all animal products, including meat, eggs, milk and cheese. Some vegetarians continue to eat dairy products or eggs. If you follow a vegetarian diet, you’ll need to know which food products fit into a vegetarian eating plan. Some vegetarian foods may seem obvious, such as vegetables, but you will also consider other products, such as pectin.

Pectin

Pectin is a product that derives directly from the cells in plants, so this is considered a vegetarian food. Even though pectin comes from plants, this food product does not provide much in the way of nutrients. Pectin does provide a good source of fiber.

Sources

In most instances, manufacturers extract pectin from fruits such as apples and citrus fruits. Citrus fruits may include oranges, grapefruits and lemons.

Use

Pectin is commonly used to thicken jams and jellies, and these products fit into a vegetarian diet. Pectin may also have some medicinal qualities as well. Some purported uses of pectin include preventing certain types of cancer and high cholesterol and as an anti-diarrheal. However, using pectin as a treatment or prevention may come with side effects such as abdominal pain and diarrhea.

Considerations

If you follow a vegetarian diet, you can consume products that contain pectin. You should not take pectin for a medical condition without first consulting with your doctor to make sure that pectin is the appropriate treatment or method of prevention. Pectin use could interfere with the action of certain medications, such as drugs used to lower your cholesterol levels. Your doctor may not recommend pectin if you take these or other medications.

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