Plant-based diets are gaining wide popularity for the minimal adverse effects they cause to the animal population and the health benefits they offer. Vegan diet and vegetarian diet are two popular plant-based diet styles.
In this article, we cover the similarities and differences between vegan and vegetarian diet:
What Is A Vegan Diet?
A vegan diet is one that does not include any animal-derived foods. Even minute amounts of animal-derived ingredients cannot be added to foods for vegan dieters. Even if an ingredient is made without killing an animal but harming it in some way, that ingredient is considered non-vegan.
Vegan dieters have to avoid eating the following foods:
Massive dairy farming involves various practices that harm cows and calves. The same applies to honey production that uses various practices like clipping the wings of the queen bee. Hence dairy and honey are regarded as non-vegan even though they are not obtained by killing animals.
What Is A Vegetarian Diet?
As per the definition given by the Vegetarian Society, a vegetarian is a person that does not eat meat, fish, poultry or any products of animal slaughter.
Vegetarian diets are primarily based on plant foods like fruits, grains, and vegetables. Dairy and eggs are optional foods in the vegetarian diet where you can take it or avoid it at your convenience.
The common types of vegetarian diets include:
- Lacto-ovo vegetarians: Lacto-ovo vegetarians avoid all animal foods except dairy and egg.
- Lacto-vegetarians: They are vegetarians that consume dairy.
- Ovo-vegetarians: They avoid all animal foods except eggs.
The Nutrient Profile Of Vegan And Vegetarian Diets
According to research, vegan and vegetarian diets are low in cholesterol and saturated fats. They are also rich in vitamins, minerals, healthy plant compounds, and fiber.
Although plant-based diets offer various health benefits, they have to be planned appropriately, lest you might develop nutrient deficiencies. A poorly planned plant-based diet might be deficient in iron, vitamin B12, zinc, and vitamin D.
You have to ensure that you include the right foods containing these nutrients in your diet or consider taking supplements.
Both vegan and vegetarian diets are suitable for all stages of life as per research. Although both diets might be low in vitamin B12 and calcium, vegetarian diets contain more of these nutrients than vegan diets.