Caramel Side Effects and Benefits

By Adriane Marie •  Updated: 01/03/23 •  9 min read

What are caramel side effects? Benefits? Is caramel vegan? Gluten free? Acidic or alkaline? Low fodmap? Good for you? Healthy? Sustainable? Here is all the info on caramel that every ethical consumer wants to know…

caramel benefits and side effects

Food is something we consume every day and if you’re like me, you do all the research you can to make sure you don’t hurt yourself, the planet, animals or others when shopping. As an ethical consumer myself, I am giving you all the info I’ve found on caramel benefits and side effects.

You are going to learn all about caramel benefits and side effects. This will include caramel benefits for your health and potential risks, caramel water footprint and caramel carbon footprint, caramel sustainability, if caramel is vegan or impacts animals in other ways, and much more. 

After learning if caramel is good or bad for you, the environment, animals and human rights, you will be prepared to make the best choices you can the next time you buy food.

This post is all about caramel benefits and side effects that every ethical consumer should know.

Caramel Benefits and Side Effects


Caramel side effects may include:

Additionally, caramel is…


Water footprint: low, It takes 1,666 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of raw sugar / 200 gallons of water used to produce 1 pound of raw sugar

Carbon footprint: high, It takes around 3.93 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of processed, refined cane sugar, a car driving equivalent of 9 miles or 14.5 kilometers

Caramel is…





Where does most caramel come from?

The world’s top caramel producing country is Kenya, followed by Somalia and Mali.

The world’s top caramel exporting country is Germany, followed by Mexico, Spain, USA, Canada, Netherlands, Belgium, UK, China and Turkey.

Is caramel alkaline or acidic?

Is caramel alkaline or acidic?

Caramel is acidic.

When you eat food, it breaks down to an ash residue that can be neutral, acidic or alkaline. Minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, silver, copper and iron produce an alkaline ash; whereas sulfur, phosphorus, chlorine and iodine, which are in meat, coffee, dairy and alcohol, leave an acid ash.

Going alkaline easier than ever with this: Acidic and Alkaline Foods List

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Is caramel gluten free?

Is caramel gluten free?

Yes, caramel is gluten free. Caramel does not contain gluten. Caramel is a type of dessert flavoring comprised of sugar, water, vanilla, milk and salt, therefore making it a gluten free food. 

While celiac disease may not be as rampant as many marketing trends lead us to believe, you may have a gluten sensitivity…

Celiac and gluten sensitivity symptoms are similar and may include:

There are hundreds of potential symptoms, many of which are also symptoms of other conditions.

Going gluten-free easier than ever with this: Gluten and Gluten Free Foods List

Is caramel a common food allergen?

Is caramel a common food allergen?

Possibly. Caramel cubes often contain a common food allergen: milk. Many people may experience allergic reactions to caramel.

A group of the eight major allergenic foods, AKA the Big-8, include:

These foods account for about 90% of all food allergies in the United States.

Severe food allergies can be life threatening. Following ingestion of a food allergen, a person with food allergies can experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. 

Persons may still be allergic to and have serious reactions to foods other than the eight foods identified by the law.

Be aware of common dietary restrictions and food allergens with this: The Big 8 Most Common Food Allergens List

Water footprint of caramel?

Water footprint of caramel?

Does caramel have a high or low water footprint?

Caramel likely has a low water footprint compared to other foods.

What is the water footprint of caramel?

It takes 1,666 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of raw sugar / 200 gallons of water used to produce 1 pound of raw sugar.

Did you know that water is a finite, non-renewable resource? Once it’s gone, it’s gone!

We must do what we can to conserve fresh water and a major way to reduce needless water consumption is to change the way we eat. That’s not to say we need to reduce our water intake….quite the opposite. It’s important for our health to drink lots of water and eat foods that hydrate. The kind of water conservation we’re talking about here is behind the scenes.

How much water does it take to produce an apple? A serving of rice? A steak dinner?

We need to be aware of something referred to as a “water footprint”. That is, the amount of fresh water utilized in the production or supply of goods we consume. As it turns out it takes significantly more water to yield foods that come from animals than foods that come from plants. Imagine how much water a cow needs to consume to generate a piece of beef. Not only how much water a single cow drinks, rather all the water that went into producing the crops that the cow ate.

Find out how much water your food consumes with this: Water Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

Carbon footprint of caramel?

Carbon footprint of caramel?

Caramel likely has a high carbon footprint compared to other foods.

What is the carbon footprint of caramel?

It takes around 3.93 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of processed, refined cane sugar, a car driving equivalent of 9 miles or 14.5 kilometers.

Food not only has a water footprint but also a carbon footprint, known as CO2e, which stands for carbon dioxide equivalent. Since carbon measurements are a bit more difficult to comprehend, it is common to equate CO2e to the distance which a car drives in miles or kilometers.

When calculating product emissions, some factors that may be included are… farm equipment, animal feed production, hothouses (greenhouses), food processing, packaging, transport, refrigeration, freezing, package waste, and more.

But that’s not all!

It’s best to keep the following in mind when grocery shopping:

Find out how much carbon your food emits with this: Carbon Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

Is caramel sustainable?

Is caramel sustainable?

Caramel production is relatively unsustainable.

A 2018 Oxford University study – which is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet – found that ‘avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth’ as animal farming provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of our farmland.

Consuming animal products and byproducts is not environmentally friendly and is one of the worst things for the Earth. Not only is meat production wasteful, it causes enormous amounts of pollution. The industry is one of the biggest causes of climate change.

A 2010 United Nations report said that a global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world the worst impacts of climate change.

Is caramel vegan?

Is caramel vegan?

Possibly. The ingredient caramel is usually totally vegan and is produced by heating carbohydrates like corn, beet sugar, cane sugar, wheat, or potatoes. Caramel cubes however, often contain dairy in the form of milk.

Animals of factory farms and the livestock industry are suffering. They live in horrific conditions that often include confinement, physical abuse and unnatural environments…so much so that they need to receive antibiotics to keep from getting ill or spreading disease. They’re also injected with growth hormones to become fatter faster and live short lives, being slaughtered as soon as they finish growing and are killed prematurely, well before their natural lifespan.

Because we cannot see for ourselves how these animals live and what they endure does not mean it isn’t happening. The meat, poultry and dairy industries do everything they can to distance us from knowing how our food comes to be in order to keep us in the dark about what we support each time we buy animal derived products and byproducts.

Go vegan for animals!

It’s the best way to help animals and it’s not as difficult as you may think. Speak for animals with your actions, for they cannot speak at all.

Going vegan is easier than ever, at a glance with this: Vegan and Non Vegan Foods List

Does caramel have human rights issues?  

labor rights, human rights and workers rights issues

At this time, there are no known specific reports of worker mistreatment regarding sugar farming but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. Caramel may or may not have labor issues.

Did you know the single largest employer in the world is agriculture? The labor involved behind each and every product cannot go unrecognized. 

Some known problems include workplace health and safety, child labor, gender inequality, inadequate pay, wage theft and exploitation. Workers can even be subjected to harassment, humiliation and violence and unfair employers often fail to provide laborers with access to shade, drinking water, restrooms and breaks. Consequently, laborers can face nausea, dizziness, heat exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke -the leading cause of farmworker death! 

Such mistreatment has been likened to modern day slavery. Workers are often afraid to report issues because they fear it will result in losing their jobs or deportation. 

Fair trade organizations fight to ensure better social, environmental and economic standards. 

We can improve people’s lives with foods we eat every day simply by buying products that are certified fair trade.

This post was all about caramel side effects and benefits.


organic caramel sauce – FoodData Central

Questions & Answers About 4-MEI | FDA – US Food and Drug 

Caramel Sauce | MyPlate

Immunotoxicity of the colour additive caramel colour III – PubMed

Food caramels: a review – NCBI

Adriane Marie

Hi, I'm Adriane, creator of HEALabel! I organize info for you to comprehensively see how purchases impact health, environment, animals and laborers. Stay aware because you care! Subscribe below to get my weekly newsletter with tips, new info and other ethical consumer insight.