Most people may think that a vegan, vegetarian and a plant-based diet is the same when in reality they are three different things. Each diet comes with its own specific set of perks and shortcomings and is motivated by different reasons.
To start off, let’s see how the above mentioned differ from one another. Vegetarian vs. Vegan vs. Plant-Based: What’s the Difference?
What is a Vegan Diet?
A vegan stays away from and avoids not only animal meat but everything that comes from an animal source. This includes eggs, honey, fish and dairy products. Vegans have certain political as well as ethical beliefs abstaining them from not only eating animal based foods but also using products that come from animal sources such as leather or wool or cosmetic products with animal ingredients. Vegans also avoid brands that indulge in unethical practices such as animal testing.
Being vegan can best be defined as someone who stays away from foods and products that are animal related and don’t contain any animal related materials. Vegans primarily rely on a variety of whole plant foods such as vegetables, fruits, legumes, seeds and nuts to meet their nutritional needs.
What is a Plant-based Diet?
Fruits, vegetables, grains, mushrooms, and nuts are some examples of plant foods. Plant based diets also do not include animal based foods such as meat, dairy and eggs. However, some versions of this diet may allow the consumption of eggs and dairy.
Following a plant-based diet also includes avoiding junk foods as these are unhealthy and can lead to weight gain. This diet also focuses on avoiding oil, white flour and refined sugar as these options are highly processed and refined.
The idea is to stick to whole foods that are minimally processed and abstain from having junk foods. People following this kind of diet will also avoid refined foods and therefore will focus only on minimally processed food.
Applesauce, oatmeal, peanut butter are some examples of minimally processed foods. Having fruits is recommended and although vegan desserts are allowed, the use of sugar should be avoided.
People who rely on plant-based diets, however, have no issue purchasing non-food items made from animal skin, unlike vegans who are strict in this regard as well.
Both diets also differ in the sense that while veganism is dictated by ethical reasons along with eating healthy, the plant based diet is primarily followed for health reasons alone.
What is a Vegetarian Diet?
A vegetarian is defined as someone who doesn’t eat any kind of animal-related products including chicken, cow, fish, turkey and other meats. However, vegetarians do have dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt along with eggs and keep it part of their diet.
Being a vegetarian focuses on increasing the intake of healthy vegetables and whole grains that provide all necessary nutrients required by the body. The diet differs from vegan and plant-based diet in the sense that dairy products are allowed.
I hope this article helped you understand the differences. No matter your choice, remember it is important to add fresh whole foods in your diet as much as possible!