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What Is the Difference between Vegan and Vegetarian?

diff between vegan and vegetarian

The lifestyle of predominantly plant-based eating has really come into play especially within recent years. With many people making dietary transitions in their life, changing their diets to be more sustainable, and omitting or largely omitting animal-based products plant-based cooking has really taken over. However there are many questions asked relating to the difference between vegan and vegetarian, the pros and cons of each, and what each type of diet really consists of. While there are many differences between vegetarian and vegan diets it can become confusing and overwhelming to understand which one would be best suited to you and your lifestyle. In any event, putting vegan and vegetarian differences aside, each has many health benefits, environmental benefits and an overall step in the right direction towards creating less animal cruelty and more long-term sustainability.

Difference between Vegan and Vegetarian

So is there a difference between vegan and vegetarian? Yes in fact there are, these differences in diet may seem quite small however they do make quite the difference towards your overall dietary allowances. In short terms, the difference between vegetarian and vegan can be summed up by simply saying that vegetarians allow themselves some animal products which only include dairy and eggs whereas vegans consume no animal products whatsoever. Vegetarians while not eating meat, chicken or fish rely strongly on a plant-based diet together with the animal-derived products of dairy such as cheese, milk, pastries, and sauces as well as eggs to substitute along with other plant-based products. Vegans on the other hand rely only on a plant-based diet with no inclusion of any animal or animal-derived product at all. While the difference between vegetarians and vegans may seem quite small they are in fact large adjustments and make a big difference to the diet as a whole as well as the community based around each diet and lifestyle choice.

Vegetarians and Vegan Differences

differences between vegetarian and vegan

One must remember that not one of these diets is better than the other, they are both pretty progressive and a step in the right direction towards creating a more sustainable planet, however, the type of diet you pick must relate to your preferences, your particular lifestyle and at the end of the day what is most manageable and maintainable. While the difference between a vegetarian and a vegan may seem to be over one main addition there are in fact different types of vegetarians out there. These include

difference between vegetarians and vegans


A Lacto-Ovo vegetarian is someone who eats dairy products and eggs but completely avoids meat, poultry, and seafood, this is the most common type of vegetarian diet followed.


A Lacto vegetarian is someone who eats dairy products but avoids eating meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs.


An Ovo vegetarian is someone who consumes eggs but avoids dairy products, meat, poultry, and seafood.


A Pesco vegetarian or better known as a pescatarian is people that follow an almost semi-vegetarian diet as they consume fish as well as eggs and dairy.

Unlike veganism, vegetarianism has these options and different types of diets within the same category, however, veganism does not as it is one choice, one diet, one lifestyle and that is to completely avoid any animal products or any products that come from animals completely which is really the main difference between vegan and vegetarians.

The Main Difference in Vegetarian and Vegan Diets

difference between a vegan and vegetarian

The majority of the differences between vegan and vegetarian comes from the foods they do and don’t eat there are other lifestyle differences too. Some of the dietary foods you would find eat diet consuming include


  • Eggs- eggs in their whole form as well as eggs within baked goods, sauces, and pastries.
  • Dairy products- including things such as milk, yogurt, cheeses, dressings, sauces, and a variety of snack products.
  • Honey.

Along with these foods, vegetarians also consume a large variety of fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds as well as legumes and grains.

They do not consume

  • Meat- including beef, pork, and game.
  • Poultry- including chicken, turkey, and duck.
  • Fish and shellfish.
  • Gelatin- often found in sweets and desserts as a derived animal product.


is there a difference between vegan and vegetarian
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Legumes
  • Grains
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Nut milk
  • Plant-based meat alternatives

They do not consume

  • Meat
  • Poultry
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Dairy
  • Honey
  • Gelatin
  • Stocks derived from animal products or proteins

Some very strict vegans also do not purchase the following animal made goods

  • Leather
  • Wool
  • Silk
  • Beeswax
  • Latex products containing Casein
  • Cosmetics that have been tested on animals
  • Products such as soaps and candles that contain animal fats

So as you can see the main difference between vegans and vegetarians is the whole mindset, vegetarians eat fewer animal products whereas vegans omit any animal cruelty out of their lifestyle.

Health Benefits in the Vegetarian and Vegan Difference

the difference between vegetarian and vegan

While the two diets may slightly differ from one another there is also a difference between a vegan and a vegetarians diet and its health benefits. The main health benefit differences between vegan and vegetarian lifestyles include

  • Both diets tend to be lower in saturated fats and cholesterol.
  • Both diets have a considerably higher amount of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and plant compounds than that of a meat-laden diet.
  • Both diets contain high amounts of nutrient-dense foods.
  • Both diets may result n lower than average intakes of important nutrients including zinc, iron, calcium, and vitamin D if the diet is not planned properly.
  • A vegan diet tends to be lower in vitamin B12 than a vegetarian diet however this can be easily managed and supplemented.
  • Both diets need to pay special attention to what their daily diet consists of to ensure they are getting all amounts of nutrients needed for a healthy body and mind.
  • One diet is not better than the other except if your goal is to end animal cruelty.
  • A vegan diet is better than a vegetarian diet for weight loss and weight control.
  • Both diets are friendly for anyone at any stage of life.

Mindset Difference between Vegan and Vegetarian

difference between a vegetarian and a vegan

The difference between a vegetarian and a vegan in terms of mindset is really what sets them apart more than just the foods they do and don’t consume. While both vegetarian and vegan diets rely on omitting certain amounts or all amounts of animal products, in many cases a vegan diet stretches far beyond just the food they consume. For many vegans, the diet is more about a lifestyle choice over a choice for personal health benefits. This is because in most and many cases they are strong activists towards animal rights as well as environmental sustainability and thus choose to omit animal products out f their lives entirely, from not consuming their foods or purchasing products that have encompassed animal cruelty in the making and thus are considered to be more ethical, in many cases they too try to decrease their personal negative impact on the Earths environment and are usually pretty passionate about spreading their word.

Although there are a few differences vegetarian and vegan can find within their diets and lifestyles in an overall manner they are both a great option for living a healthy lifestyle, making small transitions towards savings the planet and in many cases great alternatives if you suffer from allergies. The main vegetarian and vegan difference really comes down to a few food groups and a mindset, not one is better or more beneficial than the other.

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