Dieting and Fasting

What is the Difference Between Vegan vs Vegetarian?

Last updated on October 20th, 2022 at 07:40 am

A vegetarian diet has been shown to lower cancer risk, cholesterol, and is more varied. Veganism may deliver more health benefits in terms of heart health, promoting weight loss and lowering BMI levels as well, apart from the above factors.

Vegan vs Vegetarian: What’s the Difference?

The difference between vegan and vegetarian is in the diet’s definition. Veganism avoids all animal-derived food such as meat, cheese, and eggs; while vegetarianism focuses on a diet that does not include meat. The terms vegan and vegetarian are often used interchangeably, but they have different meanings.

Vegan vs vegetarian, just when we thought vegetarianism was being the next ‘in-trend’ thing, came to the concept of vegan. With the current wave to switch to a healthier lifestyle and diet, millions of people across the globe are adopting not just vegetarian, but also the vegan way of life. So what really are vegans?

But there’s more to it. So let’s look at the differences between vegan vs vegetarian.

Vegans vs Vegetarians: Pros and Cons

A vegetarian is someone who does not eat meat or consume any kind of animal product. They exclude meat, poultry, and even seafood from their diet. However, they may consume dairy products such as milk and eggs. Likewise, vegans avoid meat, poultry, and seafood, but they take a brief step ahead by not consuming milk, eggs, honey or any product/by-product made from animal/ animal skin.

Now the range is not restricted to just vegans and vegetarians but also to the different sub-categories that fall under it.

Click To Know, How to Choose a Diet That Works?

Types of vegetarians

Clearly, the definition of a vegetarian does not stop at nonconsumption of meat, instead, it includes four different vegetarians

  • Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian: It refers to a diet that excludes meat or flesh but may include eggs and milk (dairy products).
  • Lacto-vegetarian diet: Eliminates meat, fish, poultry and eggs but allows dairy products.
  • Ovo Vegetarian: Those who consume only eggs as a single dairy product or those vegetarians who include all the dairy products such as milk, yoghurt, cream. But exclude eating eggs from their diet.
  • Pescetarian diet: Eliminates meat and poultry but allows fish and sometimes eggs and dairy products.
  • Flexitarian diet: A mostly vegetarian diet that incorporates occasional meat, fish or poultry.
  • Demi Vegetarian: They consume fish, eggs, other dairy products but not meat.
  • Semi Vegetarian: Another bunch of vegetarians who sometimes voluntarily control their meat intake.

A few healthy foods to eat on a completely vegetarian diet are;

  • Fruits: Apples, bananas, berries, oranges, melons, pears, peaches
  • Vegetables: Leafy greens, asparagus, broccoli, tomatoes, carrots
  • Grains: Quinoa, barley, buckwheat, rice, oats
  • Legumes: Lentils, beans, peas, chickpeas.
  • Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, cashews, chestnuts
  • Seeds: flaxseeds, chia, and hemp seeds
  • Healthy fats: coconut oil, olive oil, avocados,
  • Proteins: Tempeh, tofu, seitan, natto, nutritional yeast, spirulina, eggs, dairy products

The topic on a complete ayurveda diet may be interesting to read along with: Ayurveda Diet

Benefits of a complete vegetarian diet

Vegetarian diets are associated with several health benefits.

  • May Enhance Weight Loss
  • May Reduce Cancer Risk
  • May Stabilize Blood Sugar
  • Promotes Heart Health

Disadvantages of complete vegetarian diet

A well-rounded vegetarian diet can be healthy and nutritious. However, it may also increase your risk of certain nutritional deficiencies.

Meat, poultry, and fish supply a good amount of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, as well as micronutrients like zinc, selenium, iron and vitamin B12. Other animal products like dairy and eggs also contain plenty of calcium, vitamin D and B vitamins.

When cutting meat or other animal products from your diet, it’s important to ensure you’re getting these essential nutrients from other sources.

What is a vegan diet?

The vegan diet is an eating plan that eliminates all animal products, including meat, fish, eggs, dairy, and honey. People decide to adopt veganism for different reasons, such as ethical concerns or religious principles. Others may decide to become vegan to decrease their ecological footprint, as plant-based diets are thought to generate fewer greenhouse gas emissions and use fewer natural resources.

Vegans Vs Vegetarian
Vegans Vs Vegetarian

Still, the environmental impact of any diet depends on multiple factors, including how foods are produced, packaged, and transported. Some also decide to follow a vegan diet for health reasons, as veganism is associated with a multitude of benefits and may even help prevent certain chronic diseases.

In particular, vegan diets have been shown to improve heart health, increase weight loss, and support blood sugar control.

Types of vegans 

Vegans are also categorised into different types –

  • Ethical Vegans: They are the most common ones who evidently put their ethics forward instead of their stomach and inherit their love and care for animals and the environment. Ethical Vegans do not consume any dairy product, be it milk, eggs, cheese, honey, and avoid the usage of any product made by animal skin or parts.
  • Plant-Based Vegans: They live on plants based foods, which grow from the ground only.
  • Raw Vegan: They do not eat any animal by-product and anything that is cooked above the temperature of 115-degree Fahrenheit, as they believe that such food will lose its nutrients and enzymes completely.

Health benefits of veganism

Research shows that a well-rounded vegan diet may improve several aspects of your health.

  • Vegans have a 75% lower risk of developing high blood pressure than omnivores, or those who eat both meat and plants
  • Vegans also have a lower body mass index (BMI) and lower levels of total and LDL (bad) cholesterol. High levels for these markers are all risk factors for heart disease.
  • Vegan diets may also aid in weight management
  • Some research also suggests that veganism may be beneficial for blood sugar control and could help reduce your risk of diabetes
  • A vegan diet may also reduce osteoarthritis symptoms, including joint pain and swelling and your risk of certain cancers, such as those of the breast and prostate

Vegan food list


  • Fresh produce: asparagus, bell peppers, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, garlic, kale, onions, potatoes, spinach, tomatoes, zucchini, etc.
  • Frozen produce: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, carrots, cauliflower, corn, green beans, peas, vegetable medley, etc.


  • Fresh produce: apples, bananas, blueberries, grapes, grapefruit, lemons, limes, kiwis, oranges, peaches, pears, pomegranates, strawberries, etc.
  • Frozen produce: blackberries, blueberries, cherries, mangoes, pineapples, raspberries, strawberries, etc.

Whole grains

  • Barley, brown rice, buckwheat, bulgur, farro, oats, quinoa, sorghum, teff

Bread and pasta

  • Brown rice pasta, whole-wheat pasta, sprouted bread, brown rice wraps

Protein sources

  • Nuts, seeds, legumes, soy products, protein powders

Dairy alternatives

  • Milk substitutes, yogurt substitutes, vegan cheese

Egg alternatives

  • Arrowroot powder, chia seeds, cornstarch, flax meal, silken tofu, aquafaba

Healthy fats

  • Avocado oi, avocados, coconut oil, flax oil, olive oil, tahini

Snack foods

  • Dark chocolate, fruit leather, nut butter, popcorn, trail mix, dried fruit, hummus, seaweed crisps


  • Coconut sugar, dates, maple syrup, molasses, monk fruit, stevia

Spices and condiments

  • Chili powder, cinnamon, cumin, garlic powder, turmeric, ginger, etc..

Vegan vs vegetarian benefits

Nutrition Level 

Nutrition level varies on three major factors: carbohydrates, fats, and protein. A diet of a vegetarian and a vegan can be healthy only if it contains these basic nutrients. According to Nutritionist, “Vegetarian and vegan diets are low in saturated fatty acids and cholesterol”.

Carbohydrates and fats get easily consumed by a vegan because of the intake of cereals and pulses, but proteins often get neglected. Though the intake of proteins can be cured by eating soya and other products. Hence, a vegan diet may be better for weight control, but without proper guidance, it could lead to a nutrient deficit.

Food’s carbon footprint

Food’s carbon footprint, or footprint, is the greenhouse gas emissions produced by growing, rearing, farming, processing, transporting, storing, cooking and disposing of the food you eat.

Diet Carbon Foodprint
What Is The Difference Between Vegan Vs Vegetarian? 5

Carbon footprint ranking of major foods human consumption

The following table shows the greenhouse gas emissions produced by one kilo of each food. It includes all the emissions produced on the farm, in the factory, on the road, in the shop, and in your home. It also shows how many miles you need to drive to produce that many greenhouse gases. For example, you need to drive 63 miles to produce the same emissions as eating one kilogram of beef.

Meat, cheese, and eggs have the highest carbon footprint. Fruit, vegetables, beans, and nuts have much lower carbon footprints. If you move towards a mainly vegetarian diet, you can have a large impact on your personal carbon footprint.

RankFoodCO2 Kilos EquivalentCar Miles Equivalent

Read about: What is DASH Diet?

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