In the world of food and diet, two of the most recurring terms that you probably keep hearing are ‘vegan’ and ‘vegetarian.’
These are the two most popular food trends that have been making rounds ever since their initiation. For those who don’t follow either of the two, it can be quite hard for them to distinguish between veganism and vegetarianism. Although both are plant-based diets, given the numerous variations adopted by people, the difference can seem quite confusing.
Below, we’ll highlight the major differences between veganism and vegetarianism and draw a comparison between the two food trends.
Vegan vs. Vegetarian
Veganism involves complete abstinence of animals and animal-based products, which means no poultry, meat, or seafood of any kind. It further also excludes dairy products, eggs, and other animal-derived ingredients such as gelatin and honey.
Being vegan is more like an overall lifestyle that extends to a plant-based approach without using any animal-derived materials, ingredients, or products. This means that a vegan person will also omit things like clothes made of leather, fur, and wool, as well as household products like soaps and cosmetics that are made of animal by-products or are tested on animals.
In other words, it attempts to eliminate every form and type of animal cruelty and exploitation as much as possible.
On the other hand, vegetarianism also includes omitting animals, which means that a vegetarian doesn’t eat seafood, poultry, or meat. However, animal-based products like eggs and dairy can be included in this diet.
However, this inclusion of animal products greatly depends on the type of vegetarian you are and the diet that you follow.
There are mainly four types of vegetarians:
- Ovo vegetarians – they avoid all animal products except eggs
- Lacto-ovo-vegetarians – they consume egg and dairy products but avoid animal flesh
- Lacto vegetarians – they consume dairy products but avoid eggs and animal flesh.
- Pesco vegetarians – this is more of a semi-vegetarian group that doesn’t eat meat or poultry but does consume fish and other types of seafood
Benefits and Downsides Associated with Both Diets
While both veganism and vegetarianism are both super healthy and offer a great deal of benefits, they are also associated with a lot of health risks.
It is also essential to note here that the benefits and advantages offered by both will be almost similar, if not completely the same.
Veganism offers the following dietary benefits:
- Since this food trend heavily relies on plant-based whole foods, it is richer in certain nutrients such as antioxidants, potassium. Vitamins A, C, E, and folate.
- It greatly boosts the immune system, lowers blood sugar levels, and enhances kidney function in the body.
Some risks of this diet are:
- It lacks several essential nutritional compounds due to an omission of animal products.
- Going meatless means not consuming normal amounts of protein.
Compared to this, vegetarianism offers the following benefits for your body:
- Improves insulin response of the body, thereby stabilizing blood sugar levels.
- The inclusion of eggs and dairy products fills up the void typically created by the vegan diet.
On the other hand, here are some downsides of following this diet:
- It can lead to weight gain due to the increased consumption of dairy products.
- There’s a great risk of strokes and other similar conditions in this diet.
Both veganism and vegetarianism are popular trends that aim to adopt a plant-based lifestyle. If you are thinking of going vegan or vegetarian, it is best to carry out thorough research to understand what works best for you.