Vegan vs Vegetarian: What’s the Difference and Benefits
We all know who a vegetarian is, but did you know the difference between a vegetarian and Vegan? When we consider the various benefits of being a Vegan, it leads to a discussion on vegetarian vs vegan and is it better to be a vegetarian or vegan.
Let’s see what these two words mean and the benefits of each of them.
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What is a Vegetarian / Vegetarianism?
- A vegetarian is one who does not consume meat, fish, poultry or any other by product of slaughtered animals.
- Their diet consists of fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and pulses.
- What type of vegetarian are you? There are different types of vegetarians, such as ovo; lacto; lacto ovo; and pescatarians.
- The ovo’s will eat eggs; the lacto will consume dairy products; the ovo lacto will consume both; and the pescatarians will eat fish but avoid meat, beef, chicken etc.
What is a Vegan / Veganism?
A vegetarian need not be a vegan, but a vegan is also a vegetarian plus more!
- A vegan, on the other hand, can be considered a stricter form of vegetarian. Vegans avoid dairy products and honey as well, so there are differences in a vegetarian vs vegan diet.
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- Veganism is more of a moral or ethical attitude rather than just a diet. It includes all the principles of vegetarians and a lot more.
- Vegans avoid as far as possible, all types of exploitation and cruelty to animals, and keep away from consumption and use of animal food, clothing etc.
- It is more of a moral objection to abuse of animals.
- In addition to avoiding animal food, vegans also avoid products like leather, wool and silk.
An important aspect of vegetarian and vegan difference is that a vegan would avoid a lipstick that contains beeswax. They will even avoid going to the circus, as it means cruelty to animals!
- A vegan is also a vegetarian, but it also includes a way of life where the person excludes all kinds of animal exploitation or cruelty, as far as possible. In addition to avoiding meat, fish, eggs etc. a vegan also avoids the use of gelatin, honey, leather and many other animal products.
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Basic Difference Between Vegans and Vegetarians
While the line between a vegetarian and a vegan is rather murky, there are some basic differences of vegetarian vs vegan.
- Both vegetarians and vegans don’t eat animals, but the former might consume food that is produced from some animals, like milk and eggs, whereas vegans don’t.
- Some vegetarians do consume animal products like eggs and fish, as mentioned earlier.
Remember: In a vegan diet, vegans can only eat vegan cakes!
If you are wondering amongst vegetarian vs vegan which is healthier, then it all depends on your nutritional plan and balance of vegetarian foods! Both are healthy so long as you include the entire spectrum of essential nutrients for your body!
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Benefits of Vegetarian Diet
You can enjoy better health if you avoid meat and follow a well planned vegetarian diet!
- A well planned vegetarian diet can reduce the risk of heart problems, obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and even some cancers.
- Vegetarian diet is also beneficial for reducing cholesterol levels, as it reduces LDL or bad cholesterol that clogs the arteries.
- Vegetarian foods have lowered saturated fats and are high in fiber as compared to animal foods. They are beneficial during pregnancy, infancy, lactation and also for athletes.
However, a vegetarian must make planned and careful choices in diet, so that they consume all varieties of food and meet their nutritional requirements.
Benefits of Vegan Diet
Many people opt for a vegan diet out of ethical and moral concerns or for losing weight. However, it does have a lot of other benefits as well!
- When you opt out of animal products, you will naturally rely on healthy food like whole grains, fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds and beans, which will provide the body with a lot of nutrients not found in animal food.
- You will benefit from more fiber and antioxidants as well as essential elements like potassium, magnesium and vitamins.
- A vegan diet can help you lose excess fat or weight.
Studies have shown that those following a vegan diet are thinner and have lower BMIs as compared to the standard western diet.
- Reduced blood sugar level, so it can help prevent type 2 diabetes!
- Vegan diet improves kidney functioning.
- Protection against some cancers. According to the WHO, some cancers can be prevented by following a controlled diet. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of cancer.
- Protection against heart diseases. Fresh fruits, fiber, vegetables and legumes, all of which form a major part of a planned vegan diet, are linked to lower risk of heart diseases.
- Relief from arthritis. A vegan diet that is rich in probiotics and raw food can relieve the pain from rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
However, not all vegan diets are the same, you cannot benefit from a poorly planned vegan diet.
Not to opt for fast food vegan options and instead base your diet around whole plants. Make sure that you get all the nutrition that your body needs.
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Wrap Up – Vegetarian and Vegan Difference
Both vegetarians and vegans choose not to eat meat, but vegans are stricter and avoid all animal products, such as honey, dairy products and eggs.
Vegans follow an animal friendly lifestyle by avoiding products like leather, silk, beeswax, soaps, candles, cosmetics made from animal fat, wool etc. Vegan is more a way of living than just dietary regulations.
They wish to avoid all forms of cruelty to animals and even avoid using household products like clothing and other items that are made from animal skins or hair or even tested on animals.
However, it is important that both vegans and vegetarians ensure that they meet the entire spectrum of nutritional requirements, such as calcium, zinc, iron and protein in their diet. Without proper guidance, it could cause nutritional deficits. Be wise, be healthy!