Difference Between Vegan And Vegetarian

Although most of us are aware that vegans and vegetarians do not eat meat, few of us actually understand the difference between vegan and vegetarian diets and beliefs. It is not uncommon for people to use the terms vegan and vegetarian as interchangeable terms to be applied to any person who abstains from eating meat; however this really isn’t an accurate use of these terms. There really is a difference between vegan and vegetarian beliefs and food choices and you can read about them below.

What is the Difference Between Vegetarian and Vegan

The word “vegetarian” is a generic blanket term used to describe anybody who does not eat meat, poultry, fish, or seafood. This encompasses vegans and also the various vegetarian sub-groups. Vegetarians are generally those people who have chosen a diet with far less restrictions than those chosen by a vegan.

Main Difference

Vegetarians are the ones that accept to eat dairy, eggs, honey, and other animal by-products that aren’t actual flesh or derived from flesh.  Some even eat fish.  There are a few that even consider themselves as vegetarians even though they consume chicken, but this is not true.

Vegans do not eat any animal by-products at all.  Their diet is entirely plant-based, and that even includes honey.

What are the differences of health benefits between both? 

Vegetarians, for not eating meat, mainly get away with having much fewer chances of having any form of cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity.  Those that eat plenty of a good variety of vegetables reduce their risks of certain forms of cancer.

Vegans, on the other hand, greatly reduce their risks of most industrial-country-related diseases. Although animal by-products as a whole are the source of quite a few types of cancer, casein, one of milk’s proteins, is the main reason for most types of cancer.  It is also THE main reason for type I diabetes.  Furthermore, any form of animal by-products cause other diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer, and several other chronicle diseases.

What is Vegetarian?

Although vegetarianism has been around for thousands of years, it has only become widely practiced and accepted around the world in the past century or so. Technically speaking, vegetarianism is the practice of abstaining from eating meat. Although you might have heard that in order to be considered vegetarian, one must never eat meat, this isn’t necessarily true. While vegetarianism may have, at one time long ago, been considered to be a black and white ordeal, modern times have made this practice much more varying and complex.

Indeed, there are actually several different sub-categories of vegetarianism, all of which are made up of different restrictions to one’s diet based on either a set of beliefs or because of distaste for the flesh of animals. Although there are several different kinds of vegetarian practices, there is often a difference of opinion as to what foods are allowed to be eaten for members of the different categories. The old fashioned practice of vegetarianism consisted of strictly eating only plant life and did not allow the consumption of any animal flesh or bi-products. Today, however, there are many varieties to choose from—whether one has health, religious, or moral reasons behind the choice.

What is Vegan?

Purely for the sake of classification, vegan is considered to be a sub-category of vegetarianism. Today, however, some would insist that the intensity of this lifestyle and the meaning attached to it would suggest that the difference between vegan and vegetarian lifestyles are severe enough to classify them as separate practices. The most common rule of veganism states that no animal flesh or by products should be consumed, including eggs and milk (and anything made from milk, such as cheese and yogurt). Granted, most of us feel that a diet without meat is limited in itself, but the vegan guidelines prohibit the consumption of anything that contains the flesh, blood, fat, or skin of an animal, as well as any by-products such as milk from an animal. If you will consider, this rules out most traditional recipes for foods like gravy, broth, and gelatin, and it even prohibits the consumption of honey.

In addition to the dietary restrictions, many people who adopt the vegan way of life also take on the moral or religious views that have a direct impact on their overall way of life. These beliefs include abstaining from using or wearing any products that have been made as a result of animal sacrifice. This ranges from everyday things like clothing made from the wool, fur, feathers/down, skin, or even silk from an animal to the complexity of avoiding products that are tested on animals, such as cosmetics. It’s true that veganism is not right for everyone, but those who feel a strong moral obligation to respect all conscious life may choose to act on these beliefs by not using any items that are made from animals or their by-products.

Other Sub-Categories of Vegetarianism
The differences between the various vegetarian sub-groups may appear to be small, but they are very important to the members who belong to each groups. In many cases the distinctions are important dietary or ethical decisions taken by the individual.

Vegan is only one of the different categories that vegetarianism can be broken down into. The others are:


Although some people in the vegetarian circle may believe that a person either is a vegetarian or they are not, there are some that argue that it is possible to be a semi-vegetarian. This type of vegetarianism is practiced with lest restriction of one’s diet. A semi-vegetarian is a person who mostly abstains from meat but will occasionally eat meat and other animal products. Most people who fall into the category are usually not particularly concerned about abstaining from products made with animal by-products and, in fact, the most common reasons behind choosing this diet are health concerns and pickiness towards food. This can be broken down further into two categories: pollo vegetarian (one whose meat intake is limited to chicken) and pesco-pollo vegetarian (one who eats chicken and fish, but no other meat).

Lacto Vegetarian

A lacto vegetarian is one who does not eat any meat but does allow his or herself to drink milk and to eat products that are made from milk. So, for instance, a lacto vegetarian will not consume meat or eggs, but they will be able to consume products like cheese, yogurt, and milk. This is one of the most common forms of vegetarianism, both from a health point of view as well as moral and religious ideals.


Ovo-vegetarians are people who would be classed as vegans if they did not eat eggs.

Ovo-Lacto Vegetarian

The ovo-lacto vegetarian is one who does not eat any meat but they consume eggs and dairy products. A person who practices the ovo-lacto vegetarian diet will not consume any actual meat but they will eat eggs and milk products.

So in a nut-shell, the main difference between vegan and vegetarian is that veganism is an entire lifestyle that prohibits the consumption or use of any products that contain animal parts or by-products; whereas vegetarianism primarily involves dietary restrictions on meat consumption.

Check other information as below:

Where does your protein come from if your vegan? 

Most people forget that although meat and dairy are the most complete form of protein, they are not the only ones.  Several vegetables contain not only a high amount of protein, but also several of the vitamins and minerals that help us absorb them to their full potential, which meat and dairy don’t have – or have had them added.  Most vegans turn to legumes such as lentils, garbanzos, beans, peas, mung beans, soy beans, and all other types of beans you can find, or any type of nut and some seeds (think of peanut butter or pumpkin seeds, for example), for their protein.  You can even find small amounts in broccoli, spinach, and most green vegetables.

When did these two diets begin and how have they evolved? 

Wow.  I don’t think that I could put a date on that because I am a firm believer that humans are vegans – we are a herbivore animal.  Therefore, if I were to answer that question, I would say that we should be eating like our furry ancestors that still climb trees.  I don’t think the human race as a whole ever stopped being vegan; some of us just adapted to new forms of diets due to need, and in some cases, this became tradition and later on we ended up believing that this is what we need since our civilization has been eating that way for a long time.

Can you elaborate on that?

Why do I believe that we are herbivores?  Our digestive system is surely the hardest evidence there is.  Carnivore animals need only about 3 to 4 hours to digest their meals and their systems are quick because if the meat stays any longer in a warm body, it will begin to rot.  Herbivores, on the other hand, need 12 hours to fully digest their food, partially because we need a slower system to absorb all the nutrients our bodies require from plants.

I will add that becoming vegan not only provides for a better health for us, it is also much more environmentally friendly.  As per the UN, the meat industry is second – only surpassed by ALL forms of transportation in the world – in environmental destruction.