What is the difference between vegan and vegetarian? This is one question that has troubled every single person around, at least once during their lifetime.
While the answer is quite simple, the theory behind it is super interesting. If we look at it from a layman’s perspective, vegetarians are those people that avoid any meat in their daily meals.
On the other side, vegans avoid every food item that is sourced from animals i.e meat, eggs, dairy, honey, etc.
Speaking of a vegetarian diet, you can categorize the same into four types-
- Lacto-vegetarians – Consume only dairy products while avoiding meat, poultry, and seafood
- Ovo-vegetarians- Consume eggs while staying away from meat, poultry, seafood or dairy products
- Lacto-Ovo vegetarians- Consume eggs and dairy products while avoiding meat, poultry, and seafood.
- Pesco-vegetarians – Kind of semi-vegetarians who don’t eat meat or poultry nut consume fish and other seafood items
Now, just like people following other diet plans, even vegans and vegetarians get indulged in continuous debates regarding ‘ which diet plan is healthier than the other’.
Vegan diet vs vegetarian diet- which one is better for your health?
Even though both diets focus on consuming plant-based foods, vegetarians still have the upper hand on the vegans to secure the right nutrition for their bodies.
In a vegan diet, you are not allowed to consume any meat, eggs, or dairy. So, you may not fulfill your daily requirements of certain vital nutrients like Protein, calcium, Iron, or Vitamin B.
On the other side, the vegetarians do have the privilege of including options like eggs, cheese, yogurt, and milk that are sufficient to fulfill their daily nutritional requirements.
As per a study by a group of health and nutrition experts recently, it has been ascertained that vegans, on average, were consuming only 739 milligrams of calcium per day. Not many people know about this was well below the daily calcium requirements of an average adult, i.e. 1000 milligrams per day.
The same study also revealed that most vegans are highly deficient in Protein, Vitamin B12, and other vital nutrients.
Still, you cannot quote that vegetarians are always healthier than vegans. It’s all about the right food choices. Let’s understand this with the help of an example.
Let’s suppose that person A is a vegetarian, and person B is vegan. Now, Mr.A consumes only 2-3 portions of eggs and dairy during the week. So, technically, Mr. A is still not fulfilling his daily protein and calcium requirements.
On the other side, Mr. B consumes a sufficient amount of proteins from Soy, Legumes, and beans. On top of that, he also has some calcium and vitamin supplements to fulfill his nutritional requirements.
This perfectly confirms that it’s all about bringing the right nutrition to your platter, not just about being a Vegan or a Vegetarian.
Benefits of being a vegan or a vegetarian
Random studies and researches across various parts of the globe have confirmed that vegans and vegetarians come with a range of health benefits over there meat-eating counterparts.
Both vegans and vegetarians have been found with lower body mass index, blood sugar levels, and cholesterol levels than the non-vegetarian lot.
Another study claimed that vegetarians have a lower risk of falling to health issues like cancer or ischemic heart disease. Surprisingly, vegans were found to be at lower risk levels ( even lower than the vegetarians).
According to The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics observations, both vegan and vegetarian diets have their list of risks and benefits. Still, it’s all about the right planning of your meals and the right food choices, which is eventually going to make it work for your health.
Besides the right diet, you also need to indulge yourself in a hardcore exercising routine. This way, you can reap the best benefits out of any diet plan, and not just a vegan or a vegetarian diet.
Bottom line: ‘What is the difference between vegan and vegetarian.’
It all depends on your food choices and the right planning, and you can easily make either of the two diets to work well for your overall health and well-being. Still, its always recommended kick-starting a diet plan under the strict supervision of a qualified doctor or physician.