What Is The Difference Between Vegans and Vegetarians?

With more and more individuals choosing to forego animal consumption, whether it be for environmental, ethical, or health reasons, the burgeoning interest has some people asking what the difference is between those who are vegans and those who are vegetarians. In this article, we will take a look at the core differences between the two, break down the various sub-groups of vegetarians, and what are some of the food considerations that each type of individual must make.

The Core Differences You Need to Know About

Let’s first start off by exploring what veganism is, what it is about, and what the vegan diet consists of. An individual who follows veganism is not only making a moral stand against the consumption and use of animals, but they seek to exclude all uses of animals and their secretions from their diet and life. This means that, in addition to omitting animal products like meat, poultry, seafood, animal milk, cheeses, creams, yogurt, and eggs, they also avoid using items produced by or from animals such as honey, gelatin, clothing, or products tested on animals. You will often see vegans refusing to buy items like wool, silk, and leather as well as lipstick or lip balm that is made with beeswax. Finally, they will also refuse to support the use of animals in entertainment venue settings like circuses and acrobatics shows. To put it simply, a vegan will not consume or buy anything that has come from an animal of any kind.

Vegetarians, on the other hand, are not necessarily vegan and actually have several categories that they are classified into. Vegetarianism is considered the practice of abstaining from the consumption of meat such as beef, pork, poultry, and seafood, but may also abstain from the use of animal by-products that come from animal slaughter specifically. To put this simply, a vegetarian does not consume anything that is directly correlated to animal slaughter such as gelatin and meat products.

What Are The Different Types of Vegetarians?

There are four different types of vegetarians which we have outlined below.

  • Lacto-ovo: you may come across this term as ovo-lacto, but both terms are interchangeable. This vegetarian diet chooses to forego consuming meat, seafood, and poultry but will consume milk and eggs. This is the most common type of vegetarian.
  • Lacto: this is a vegetarian who consumes milk but does not eat eggs, meats, seafood, or poultry.
  • Ovo: this is a vegetarian who consumes eggs but does not eat any type of dairy products, meats, seafood, or poultry.
  • Pesco: this is considered a semi-vegetarian diet as those who fall under this category do not consume poultry or meat, but will consume fish and other kinds of seafood.

The Bottom Line: A vegetarian may choose to consume animal products such as dairy and eggs but will not consume the actual animal in which these items come from, whereas, a vegan will not consume any animal products whatsoever.

Food Considerations Both Have to Make

Whether you choose to be vegan or vegetarian, both need to be very mindful of nutrition deficiencies that come with foregoing individual food items. If one does not consume dairy products which is a major source of vitamin D and calcium, they should incorporate a lot of dark leafy greens into their diet and foods that are fortified. Vitamin B12 is only found in animal products and is necessary for humans as it prevents anemia, so supplements must be taken to replace this. Luckily, there are plenty of vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, and beans that are suitable for both diet types and there are tons of plant-based substitutions that one can buy that are fortified with the appropriate nutrition.