Vegan vs Vegetarian – What’s The Difference?

Vegan vs Vegetarian – What’s The


By Alina Petre,

MS, RD |

Alina is a registered dietitian with an expertise in sport

nutrition.She completed her nutrition undergrad in Canada, received her

Master’s degree in the U.K. and currently calls the Netherlands home.In her

free time, Alina loves exploring new corners of the world, especially if they

include a good wave to surf or a nice slope to descend.Alina loves wholesome

foods, working up a sweat, and taking care of our planet.

She speaks about vegetarian and vegan diet as under::

Vegetarian diets have reportedly been around since as early as

700 B.C.Several types exist and individuals may practice them for a variety of

reasons, including health, ethics, environmentalism and religion. Vegan diets

are a little more recent, but are getting a good amount of press. According to

the Vegetarian Society, a vegetarian is

someone who does not eat any meat, poultry, game, fish, shellfish or

by-products of animal slaughter. Vegetarian diets contain various levels of

fruits, vegetables, grains, pulses, nuts and seeds. The inclusion of dairy and

eggs depends on the type of diet you follow.

The most common types of vegetarians include:


Lacto-ovo vegetarians: Vegetarians who avoid all animal flesh, but do consume dairy and

egg products.


Lacto vegetarians: Vegetarians who avoid animal flesh and eggs, but do consume

dairy products.


Ovo vegetarians: Vegetarians who avoid all animal products except eggs.


Vegans: Vegetarians who

avoid all animal and animal-derived products.

Those who do not eat meat or poultry but do consume fish are

considered pescatarians,

whereas part-time vegetarians are often referred to as flexitarians.

Although sometimes considered vegetarians, pescatarians and flexitarians do eat

animal flesh. Therefore, they do not technically fall under the definition of


A vegan diet can be viewed as the

strictest form of vegetarianism. Veganism

is currently defined by the Vegan Society as a way of living that attempts to

exclude all forms of animal exploitation and cruelty as much as possible.

This includes exploitation for food and any other

purpose. Therefore, a vegan diet not only excludes animal flesh,

but also dairy, eggs and animal-derived ingredients. These include gelatin, honey, carmine, pepsin, shellac, albumin,

whey, casein and some forms of vitamin D3.

Vegetarians and vegans often avoid

eating animal products for similar reasons. The largest difference is the

degree to which they consider animal products acceptable.

For instance, both vegans and

vegetarians may exclude meat from their diets for health or environmental

reasons. However, vegans also choose to

avoid all animal by-products because they believe this has the largest impact

on their health and the environment.In terms of ethics, vegetarians are opposed

to killing animals for food, but consider it acceptable to consume animal

by-products such as milk and eggs, as long as the animals are kept in adequate

conditions.On the other hand, vegans believe that animals have a right to be

free from human use, be it for food, clothing, science or entertainment.

Thus, they seek to exclude all animal by-products,

regardless of the conditions in which animals are bred or housed.

The desire to avoid all forms of animal

exploitation is why vegans choose to forgo dairy and eggs — products that many

vegetarians have no problem consuming.

Research shows vegetarian and vegan

diets tend to be low in saturated fat and cholesterol.

They also tend to contain high amounts

of vitamins, minerals, fiber and healthy plant compounds.What’s more, both

diets contain a high amount of nutrient-dense foods. These may include fruit,

vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and soy products.On the other hand,

poorly planned vegetarian and vegan diets could result in low intakes of some

nutrients, particularly iron, calcium, zinc and vitamin D.Both diets also tend

to contain limited amounts of vitamin B12 and long-chain omega-3 fatty acids,

although levels of these nutrients are generally lower in vegans than


According to a report from the Academy

of Nutrition and Dietetics and several scientific reviews, both vegetarian and

vegan diets can be considered appropriate for all stages of life, as long as

the diet is planned wellAn insufficient intake of nutrients such as omega-3

fatty acids, calcium, and vitamins D and B12 can negatively impact

various aspects of health, including mental and physical health Both

vegetarians and vegans may have lower intakes of these nutrients. However,

studies show that vegetarians tend to consume slightly more calcium and vitamin

B12 than vegans Nonetheless, both vegetarians and vegans should pay special

attention to nutrition strategies meant to increase the absorption of nutrients

from plant foodsIt may also be necessary to consume fortified foods and

supplements, especially for nutrients such as iron, calcium, omega-3 and

vitamins D and B12 Vegetarians and vegans should strongly consider analyzing

their daily nutrient intake, getting their blood nutrient levels measured and

taking supplements accordingly.

The few studies directly comparing

vegetarian to vegan diets report that vegans may have a somewhat lower risk of

developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and various types of cancer than

vegetarians In addition, vegans tend to have a lower body mass index (BMI) than

vegetarians and seem to gain less weight as they age

Source: remaining

1 Reply

  • Vegans stick to plants veggies nuts non dairy only vegetarians eat like a vegan mostly but have eggs, dairy or some other non vegan food that does not cause them to step outside of being a vegetarian like eating beef or twizzlers. Hopes this makes sense.