figs on a tree

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Are figs vegan? What is the reason some vegans have excluded it from their diet? In this article we will try to explain with simple terms, why some vegans consider figs not to be a vegan food.

Figs (Ficus Carica) are one of the first cultivated fruits. People dried them and stored them for later consumption.

The general vegan philosophy refers to a lifestyle that tries to minimize the exploitation of animals as much as possible. Therefore, vegan diets lack animal products, including red meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products, as well as foods derived from these ingredients, such as milk or honey.

Related: The 15 Most Important Benefits of Vegan Diet

Few would expect, however, the above list to include… figs, since they are fruit. However, some argue that figs are a long way from this philosophy and should be avoided by those who choose a vegan lifestyle.

So, are figs vegan? Why do some people think it’s not?

The vegan status of figs has often been called into question and the reason is that this fruit, in order to grow and mature, is subjected to a process that is not in line with vegan culture.

The fig, although we have it in the fruit category, is actually a closed inverted flower. Thus, in order to grow it needs the help of the wasps, which pollinate its flower, i.e. its interior.

Related: What Vegans and Vegetarians Need To Know About Protein

Near the end of her life, a female wasp makes an effort to get through the tiny opening of the inverted fig to lay her eggs. In this effort, it breaks its antennae and wings, dying a little later inside.

Are figs vegan - Figs
source: ScienceWorld

Her body is digested by an enzyme inside the fig and converted into protein (check here for vegan proteins) while her eggs prepare to hatch. Once they do, the male larvae mate the females, which then come out of the fig, to continue the life cycle of both species.

Related: This Vegan Food Contains 3X Times More Calcium Than Milk

An interdependent relationship

It is this interdependent relationship that allows both species to survive. Most people, including vegans, do not resemble this process as animal exploitation or cruelty and therefore consider figs to be vegan.

However, a portion of people argue that this fruit should not be considered vegan because it is the result of the death of a wasp.

This process, of course, usually occurs in male figs – which are not edible. However, sometimes wasps can get confused, get into a female (edible) fig and get trapped there until they die.

Are Figs Vegan - Representation of the lifecycle of the wasp
source: Britannica

Tip: Regardless of whether you choose to consider figs vegan or not, whether you follow this dietary trend, keep in mind that not all products that come from figs are vegan.

For example, figs can be used as a sweetener in baked products, some of which contain eggs or dairy products. Figs can also be used to make jelly, which often contains gelatin derived from animal products such as skin or bones. Checking the food label is the best way to ensure that you are consuming fig products that don’t have such ingredients

Figs Nutrition Value

A serving of figs corresponds to 100g raw or 1/4 cup or 40g. dried. Their nutritional analysis of both fresh and dry is shown in the following table:

Nutrients100g Figs Raw100g Figs Dried
Total Fat0.3g0.52g
Saturated Fat0.1g0.0g
Total Carbohydrates19g66.16g
Dietary Fibers2.9g12.21 g
Sugars16 g49g
Proteins0.8g3.14 g

So, what do you think? Are figs vegan? Let us know in the comments section below. By the way, if you enjoyed reading the article, Are Figs Vegan? Why Many People Think Gigs Are Not Vegan, please hit the share button and help us spread the word.

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