Food and Facts

Vegan VS Vegetarian: What’s the Difference?


Vegan VS Vegetarian: It is interesting to observe that in the past few years, veganism has risen tremendously. And restaurants have been competing to come up with vegan and vegetarian menus to meet the growing consumer demand.

Perhaps you’ve been wondering just what exactly the difference between vegan and vegetarian diet entails. And some of the products that allow these groups to maintain a healthy diet. Let’s discuss.

What is vegetarianism?

In simple words, vegetarians do not consume the products or by-products of animal slaughter. The group does not eat meats such as; pork, beef, and game, fish, poultry such as turkey and chicken, insects, gelatin, and other types of animals, proteins, and stocks emanate from animal slaughter.

Vegetarians chiefly consume fruits, seeds, nuts, grains, vegetables, pulses, and meat substitutes derived from the listed food types. The diet is, however, less strict than veganism and comes with variations. These include:

  • The Ovo-Vegetarian: People on this diet consume eggs. But does not eat poultry, fish, and eggs. They also do not drink milk or eat any dairy products.
  • The Ovo-Lacto-Pescatarian: This vegetarian does not eat poultry and meat. But consume milk, eggs, fish, and dairy products.
  • The classical vegetarian: Commonly referred to as the Ovo-Lacto-Vegetarian, this vegetarian does not eat any meat type, fish, or poultry. They, however, include foods such as milk, eggs, and other dairy products in their diet.
  • The flexitarians: The group consists of the majority. The flexitarians observe a vegetarian diet but will occasionally eat high-quality meat.
  • Half-vegetarian: This group consists of people who only consume certain types of meat. In this case, the group only eats fish and poultry. And not any red meats.
  • The Lacto-Vegetarian: Individuals on this diet do not consume any meat type, eggs, or fish. They, however, consume dairy products.

Some of the most common reasons for vegetarians not consuming meat are; a sense of responsibility for animals (preventing animal cruelty), ecological and health concerns.

What is Veganism?

This diet is stricter than the former. Individuals in this category avoid eating or using any animal products or by-products. The group strictly avoids any beverages or foods that contain meat, eggs, poultry, dairy products, fish, insects, honey, fats, or stock derived from animals, gelatin, and other animal protein types.

The group also tries to avoid any products that directly or indirectly involve the use of animals. That includes; wool, down, leather goods, silk, candles, soaps, or products that contain animal fats, latex products with casein, beeswax, silk, and products tested on animals.

Just like the vegetarians, vegans also have a subgroup. These are the fruitarians, who have even stricter rules than the vegans. The individuals consume nuts, seeds, and fruits only. In rare cases, some of them will only eat fruits that have already fallen on the ground. And not pluck those on trees to avoid damage.

The fruitarians also forbid having vegetables such as carrots, arrowroots, potatoes, and sweet potatoes. That is because their harvest can damage the soil or plant altogether, which is unacceptable to this group.

Some people argue that the latter group is healthier. However, scientific research has shown that both diets are offering almost similar health benefits. That is because they generally encourage people to consume more nutrient-dense whole and antioxidant-rich foods.

Other benefits of these diets are that they may promote weight loss, reduce your risk of cardiovascular health by lowering cholesterol levels, manage diabetes and lower your chances of getting certain cancers.

The good news is, these groups of people have access to products made without any tests on animals or animal products. These companies care about animal life and the environment in general. And have products and recipes that allow vegans and vegetarians to maintain a healthy diet that includes their favorite foods, spreads, and sweets.

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