What is The Difference Between Vegan and Vegetarian? – Overview
Vegetarian diets date back to around 700 B.C. A couple of them exist, and individuals may start following them for a variety of reasons, such as conservationism, ethics, religion, and wellbeing.
On the other hand, vegan diets have sprung up more recently, but they have been garnering a good amount of publicity.
This article will mainly look at what both these diets entail, their differences, their nutritional considerations, and which is of the two is better.
What Is a Veganism?
Depending on who you ask, veganism is the strictest type of vegetarianism. As per the vegan society, veganism is a way of life that tries to eliminate all kinds of animal cruelty.
This comprises the utilization of food and any other purpose. Therefore, not only does veganism eliminate meat but also dairy, eggs, and other components are drawn from animals. Some of them include:
- Vitamin D3
Vegans and vegetarians often shun consuming animal products for similar reasons. The biggest difference is the degree to which they tolerate animal products.
For instance, both vegans and vegetarians may eliminate meat from their diets for environmental and well-being reasons.
Vegans also opt to eliminate animal by-products because these products have the biggest effect on the environment and their well-being.
Ethically vegans are opposed to slaughtering animals for food. Still, they consider it okay to take animal products such as dairy and eggs as long as the animals are raised in suitable conditions.
In addition, vegans believe that animals have a right not to be used by humans for clothing, entertainment, food, and scientific experiments.
Therefore, they aim to stay away from all animal by-products regardless of the conditions the animals used are being raised in.
The longing to shun all kinds of animal exploitation is the reason why vegans opt to eliminate dairy products and eggs that most vegetarians have no issue taking.
What Is Vegetarianism?
As per the vegetarian society, a vegetarian is a person who doesn’t consume any game, meat, fish, poultry, or by-products of animal butchery. Vegetarian diets comprise various kinds of fruits, grains, nuts, seeds, and veggies.
The incorporation of dairy, eggs, and honey is dependent on the diet you’re following.
The most popular kinds of vegetarians include:
- Lacto-Ovo vegetarians: These vegetarians don’t eat animals, but they eat dairy and eggs.
- Lacto vegetarians: These vegetarians don’t eat animals and eggs, but they take dairy.
- Ovo vegetarians: Vegetarians who stay away from all animal products apart from eggs.
Other Plant-Based Diets
While vegan and vegetarian are two of the most common plant-based diets, there are other variations that some individuals find to be better for their lifestyle and well-being.
Flexitarianism is the most flexible plant-based diet because flexitarians will regularly try to decrease consumption of animal flesh and other animal products while boosting the intake of more vegan and vegetarian meals.
Since flexitarians don’t eliminate animal flesh or fish from their diets entirely, this can be a good idea for people looking to transition into veganism and vegetarianism.
This plant-based diet is very similar to vegetarianism and depending on who you ask; it’s a subdivision of vegetarianism.
Pescatarians eliminate all animal flesh from their meals but occasionally consume fish and seafood. What’s more, pescatarians have the option of eating dairy and eggs.
What Are the Nutritional Considerations for Vegans and Vegetarians?
Studies who vegan and vegetarian diets tend to have low cholesterol and saturated fats. They also tend to have massive amounts of fiber, minerals, and vitamins. Both diets have massive amounts of nutrient-dense foods. These may include fruits, grains, nuts, seeds, veggies, etc.
On the other hand, poorly designed vegan and vegetarian diets can lead to low consumption of a couple of nutrients such as calcium, iron, vitamin D, and zinc.
Both diets also tend to comprise restricted amounts of B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids, although these nutrients are typically lower in vegan and vegetarian diets.
While vegan and vegetarian meal plans mostly lean towards fruits, legumes, and veggies, some of the foods might be animal product-free and dairy-free, but they still:
- Are highly processed.
- Comprise massive amounts of added sugars.
- Prepared using means that can add excess fat.
Candy, cookies, French fries, and even nut-based creams may fall under veganism or vegetarianism but are still deep-fried, highly processed, or contain massive amounts of added sugars and refined carbs. Therefore, such foods should be taken with caution.
Veganism or Vegetarianism: Which Is Better?
As per a study released by the AND (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics), both vegan and vegetarian diets are ideal for all life stages so long as the meal plan is well designed.
Any inadequate consumption of nutrients such as B vitamins, calcium, omega-3, and vitamin D can negatively affect various well-being aspects such as mental and physical well-being.
Both vegans and vegetarians can take lower amounts of these nutrients. However, research shows that vegetarians take slightly more B vitamins and calcium compared to vegans.
However, both vegans and vegetarians should pay attention to dietary approaches meant to boost the uptake of nutrients for plant-based foods.
It could be vital to take fortified foods and supplements, especially for B vitamins, calcium, omega-3, etc.
Vegans and vegetarians should consider:
- Evaluating their daily nutrient intake
- Measuring their blood nutrient levels
- Taking supplements
A couple of studies directly comparing veganism and vegetarianism indicate that vegans might have a slightly lower risk of contracting diabetes (type 2), heart disease, and various kinds of cancer compared to vegetarians.
That said, most studies have done so far have leaned more towards observing. This means that’s it’s difficult to tell exactly which kind of aspect of veganism generates these effects and to ascertain that diet is the only responsible factor.
Vegans and vegetarians can stop taking meat and animal by-products for similar reasons, but they do so to varying extents.
Both diets are suitable for all life stages, but veganism offers more well-being benefits. However, both vegans and vegetarians must design their diets well to avoid contracting health issues over the long term.