The Difference Between the Vegan and Vegetarian Diets

While vegan and vegetarian diets are considered "plant-based", there are subtle differences between the two.

While veganism is completely devoid of animal products, vegetarianism includes animal by-products like dairy, eggs, and honey. Both diets have considerable health benefits and are gaining popularity.

But before diving into a vegan or vegetarian diet, it's important to learn the difference between the two and determine how to make either option work for you.

What is a vegan diet?

A vegan diet restricts the consumption of any meat or animal by-products, such as poultry, beef, pork, fish, shellfish, dairy, eggs, and honey. Certain supplements such as whey protein, collagen, or gelatin are also prohibited on a vegan diet.

While it may seem restrictive, there are many foods to eat on a vegan diet.

For example, a vegan can consume all fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, oils, and soy products.

Additionally, vegans can get plenty of protein from plant sources like soy-based foods like tofu, tempeh, and edamame, as well as beans, legumes, and whole grains. Nuts and seeds also contain small amounts of vegan protein and contribute healthy fats to the diet.

People choose a vegan diet for a variety of reasons, such as animal welfare, environmental impact, or health.

Many vegans also avoid other products made with animals, such as leather or suede, as well as cosmetics that have been tested on animals.


What is a vegetarian diet?

Similar to a vegan diet, a vegetarian diet includes all plants, as well as animal foods, such as dairy, eggs, and honey. Vegetarians do not eat meat from animals such as chicken, turkey, beef, or pork.

They consume whey protein because it is a by-product of milk, but avoid collagen and gelatin.

Some vegetarians may even eat shellfish, but they are often called "pescatarians" if they do.

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, there are four types of vegetarians. A vegetarian may or may not eat dairy and eggs, while a lacto-ovo vegetarian includes dairy and eggs in their diet.

Meanwhile, lacto-vegetarians eat dairy products like yogurt, milk, and cheese, but don't eat eggs. Lastly, an egg vegetarian consumes non-dairy eggs. Most of the people who fall into these categories simply call themselves "vegetarians."


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