The Difference between Veganism and Vegetarianism

Both diets require a big lifestlye change (Image by Mikhail Nilov / Pexels)
Both diets require a big lifestlye change (Image by Mikhail Nilov / Pexels)

Vegetarian and Vegan diets have become increasingly popular with people who want to improve their health and protect animals.

While there are obvious similarities between the two types of diets, the differences are more pronounced than their usages might suggest. These terms are often used interchangeably and many people are yet to understand the difference between them. Let's take a closer look at these differences, so that we can all make an educated choice.

What is a Vegeterain Diet?

In this, you avoid all animal products, such as meat, poultry, and seafood. You also avoid by-products of animal slaughter, such as bacon fat and bouillon cubes. In return, you eat mostly grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and healthy fats like avocados or olives.

Different people follow this lifestyle in different ways, but they all exclude at least some animal products from their diet. Some of them eat eggs and dairy products, while others don’t consume any animal products at all.

Lacto-ovo-vegetarians only eat plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes (beans and lentils), nuts and seeds. They avoid meat, poultry and fish but may use dairy products and eggs.

Ovo-vegetarians only eat plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes (beans and lentils), nuts and seeds. They avoid meat, dairy products and poultry but may use eggs.

Pescatarians avoid all animal flesh except fish; they do not consume poultry or red meat but may consume dairy products or eggs.

What's a Vegan Diet?

This diet is more restrictive than a vegetarian diet because it eliminates all animal products from the diet.

This includes beef, poultry, fish, and seafood. Additionally, they do not consume eggs, dairy products or seafood.

This diet does not allow for the consumption of any food made with animal-based ingredients or by-products. This includes whey protein, collagen, gelatin, and honey, among others.

A true vegan lifestyle extends beyond just food choices. It may include refraining from using products derived from animals such as leather clothing or cosmetics tested on animals.

The Key Difference between Veganism and Vegetarianism

The main difference between the two diets is that the former is more restrictive than the latter. Vegans can't eat any animal products, while a lacto-ovo vegetarians can eat animal products like eggs and dairy.

Vegans would need to make some changes to their diet if they wanted to eat a brownie with eggs in it, for example. Meanwhile, a lacto-ovo vegetarian could eat their favorite brownie or egg dish without changing anything about their diet.

Which is more healthier: Vegan or Vegeterian Diet?

You've probably heard from many people that the vegan diet is healthier than the vegetarian diet—and vice versa. But what does the science really say about which one is better for your health?

Here's a quick video where Lucette Talamas, a Registered Dietitian at Baptist Health, South Florida, explains the difference between the two diets:


Technically speaking, both types of diets are healthy, assuming you get enough important nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and vitamins D and B12. However, there are some key differences to keep in mind when choosing which type of diet is best for you.

Vegetarians tend to consume slightly more calcium and vitamin B12 than vegans. However, this doesn't necessarily mean they're getting enough of either nutrient. Typically, vegetarians eat eggs and dairy products, while vegans do not. Both can struggle to get enough omega 3s in their diet if they don't supplement or eat foods high in omega 3s.

Health Benefits

Both diets can be healthy for all stages of life, from childhood through old age. Diets that consist of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and vegetables/legumes provide both important nutrients and antioxidants.

Some shared benefits of these diets include a reduced risk of many diseases like cardiovascular disease, some cancers, and diabetes. Where is can promote an anti-inflammatory diet.

As long as a person has a balanced plan in place, vegan and vegetarian diets can be healthy for athletes, too.

If you try out a vegan diet, you might find you lose weight more easily than if you stick with a vegetarian diet. But it’s hard to tell whether the reason for your weight loss is the diet or the other lifestyle changes you may be making.

To guarantee you get enough vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, you should supplement your diet.

Bottom Line

Both diets appear to be growing in popularity, particularly among younger generations. They offer great potential for overall health, environmental stewardship and animal protection. Hence, more people are becoming interested in these lifestyles.

In the end, it is a personal choice that requires sacrifice and commitment.

However, if you can manage it, you will obtain immense benefits in terms of health and wellness. This includes being more energetic, healthier, stronger, and more disease-free than most people. If that sounds like an ideal lifestyle for you for any number of reasons, go for it! The rewards are worth the effort.

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