Vegan, Vegetarian, And Plant-Based: What Are The Differences?

Different types of diet have emerged over the past 30 years, and it’s mainly because of people’s intentions to stay healthy. Diets such as vegan, vegetarian, and plant-based are the buzzwords when it comes to healthy eating. However, did you know that these three terms are never the same? Understanding the differences between these three diets will help you appreciate what these diets are all about.

Plant-Based Are Vegans Who Cheat

Although there is no single definition for a plant-based diet, the general idea of this diet is to eat plants, but they do allow themselves to eat small amounts of animal products in rare situations. They are termed as “vegans who cheat” or in some circles, flexitarians. Eating less meat is on the rise due to its many health benefits, including reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes, better heart health, and longevity. More people are embracing this diet because they believe that it is doable compared to completely restricting the consumption of animal products. However, due to the popularity of this diet regimen, some industries were affected. The 2018 report released by Cargill showed that there was a decline in the dairy industry from 22% to 16% as more people decide to cut back on their dairy intake.  On the other hand, this particular diet regimen is popular among people who want to jumpstart with either the vegetarian or the vegan diet because it is less stringent so that most people can adopt this particular diet.

The Vegetarian Diet Comes in So Many Forms

Many people think that being a vegetarian means only eating fruits and vegetables. However, there are several categories of vegetarian diets, including (1) ovo-vegetarians who eat eggs, (2) lacto-vegetarian who eat dairy, and (3) pescatarians who eat seafood and plant food. Some people would also combine other categories, such as lacto-ovo-vegetarians who eat both dairy and eggs. Unlike the plant-based diet, vegetarianism is more restrictive in the types of animal protein sources they consume. This type of diet offers so many health benefits such as weight loss and generally reduced risk for metabolic diseases. It can benefit all kinds of people. However, the caveat is that because it is restrictive, supplementation may be required to avoid nutrient deficiencies. Moreover, careful meal planning should be considered, especially those who are new to this diet.

Vegan Diet Is the Strictest, Purist Veggie Diet

Unlike both plant-based and vegetarian diet, the vegan diet excludes or restricts all types of animal products including dairy, eggs, and seafood.  Anything coming from animals is banned from this diet. But more than a diet, veganism is also a lifestyle because people who follow this diet do not only restrict themselves from eating animal products but also using them. This includes not wearing fur, wool, as well as using products that have been tested on animals. Studies show that this particular diet lowers the risk of cancer development. It is also eco-friendly considering that the livestock industry produces tons of greenhouse gases and consumes too much water to produce for consumption. Since this diet is very restrictive, some people might find it difficult to adjust to the limited food choices that they have. Moreover, they may need to take supplements to avoid nutrient deficiency.

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