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What is the difference between a vegan and a vegetarian?

Vegan and vegetarian diets have continued to increase in popularity due to their many health benefits. In the current era of lifestyle diseases such as obesity, diabetes, cancer, and high blood pressure, people really want to understand the difference between these diets.

To clarify the mix-ups about these terms, we have uncovered everything you should know in this guide to help you move forward.

Who is a vegan?

A vegan is any person who dissociates themselves or avoids any form of animal exploitation for clothing, food, or any other use. Instead, vegans encourage an animal-free lifestyle for the good of society, the environment, and animal heritage.

In a nutshell, a vegan is anyone who abstains from eating animals or using any products made from animals, including eggs, dairy, honey, fish, and various animal-derived products and foodstuffs.

There are several reasons why somebody can choose a vegan lifestyle, including helping animals, protecting the environment, and health reasons. Vegans reduce their cholesterol and saturated fat intake, which is highly available in meat.

This cutback helps reduce the risks of heart disease and type 2 diabetes and boosts general health.

Who is a vegetarian?

A vegetarian is an individual who doesn’t eat meat, seafood, or poultry and lives only on plant-based foods. However, their diet may or may not contain animal by-products like eggs, dairy, and honey, which do not involve animal slaughtering.

Unlike vegans, vegetarians do not eat fish and meats but consume dairy and eggs. Some individuals choose to be vegetarians because they want to lose weight, get healthy, and conserve the environment, or they have problems with animal cruelty or killings for food, sacrifice, or religious reasons.

Although the term vegetarian might sound to the mind like a person who eats only plant based-diets, different vegetarians allow different foods in their plans.  

Types of vegetarian diets.

Regardless of the reasons you are considering this type of diet, you must know the different types available and how they can affect your lifestyle and health.

The different variations of a vegetarian diet include;

  • Lacto-ovo vegetarian: this is a group of individuals who avoid all types of meat and fish but take eggs and dairy products.
  • Lacto-vegetarian: people on this diet plan do not consume any type of egg, meat, and fish but take dairy products.
  • Ovo-vegetarian: this group does not eat fish, meat, or dairy products but consumes eggs.
  • Pescatarian: people who follow this type of food plan do not all types of meat except some seafood and fish. However, pescatarians do not meet the exact definition of vegetarians, and people often refer to them as flexitarian or semi-vegetarian.

Understanding veganism.

Veganism is a stricter type of vegetarianism. People who follow this diet plan avoid eating or using any animal product for whatever reasons. The vegan society says veganism is a means of life that aims at eliminating as far as possible all forms of killing and cruelty to animals for clothing, food, or religious purposes.

Vegans strictly do not eat any foods or beverages that have meat, fish, shellfish, poultry, eggs, honey, insects, stocks, fats, and various types of animal proteins.

People who follow a strict vegetarian diet also extend this belief past diet and will always strive to avoid products that directly or indirectly call for the use of animal products for human needs.

These products may include wool, leather goods, beeswax, silk, all products containing animal wax, cosmetics, latex, and other known animal product-based materials.

Health benefits of vegetarian and vegan diets.

Studies suggest that these two eating plans have a lot of health benefits, including;

  • Helps reduce high cholesterol levels,
  • Prevent various STIs in women, such as male yeast infections.
  • Relieve Ischemic heart disease.
  • Reduces high blood pressure.
  • Reduced oxidative stress and inflammation.
  • Help reduce cardiovascular diseases.

Both diet plans provide similar health benefits and mostly encourage people to consume more nutrient-dense and antioxidant-rich whole foods. Therefore, it is hard to say which version is more healthful than the other since they both have equivalent pros and cons.

Remember, following a vegan diet does not guarantee instant good health; sometimes, you can get it wrong by eating processed foods or leading an unhealthy lifestyle from following these diets. So, it is important to get professional guidance while you are doing it.


Vegans and vegetarians are people who follow a strict diet plan free from meat and focus majorly on plant-based foods. They both have health benefits for human beings and are ideal for those who want to lose weight, have chronic health problems, or are concerned about animal brutality, among others.