What Is Better Being Vegetarian or Vegan?

Medically Reviewed on 10/11/2021
veg vs vegan
Both plant-based diets offer health benefits, however, vegetarianism offers more protein-dense food options over vegan diets, along with calcium and vitamin D sources.

Both diets can provide a lot of nutrition in a day, but vegetarian diets have an advantage because they can provide more protein-dense options, as well as calcium and vitamin D from dairy and eggs. Vegan and vegetarian diets are two types of plant-based diets in which people choose to get most of their protein from plant sources and limit or restrict their consumption of animal-based foods.


  • A vegan diet excludes the consumption of animal protein as well as animal products. Meat, seafood, dairy, milk, eggs, cheese, and honey are all examples of foods that are prohibited.
  • Most vegans prefer uncooked and unprocessed foods. Their protein is entirely derived from plant sources, such as beans, nuts, seeds, and soy products.


  • A vegetarian diet, like a vegan diet, excludes animal protein and meat. However, vegetarians may consume some animal products, such as dairy, milk, eggs, cheese, and honey.

Vegetarianism is typically a diet, whereas veganism is a lifestyle. Vegetarians frequently choose their diet for religious or political reasons, as well as for the reported health benefits. Vegans have much stronger ethical and environmental beliefs about their diet in general, with some believing that animals should be protected like humans.

What could be a common vegetarian and vegan diet?

Humans are omnivores, which means they can eat a wide range of foods. While some people thrive on eating meat, others prefer plant-based diets and avoid eating animal products. Such diets can be completely healthy, provided people take required health supplements and consume the recommended amount of protein.

Common vegan diet

Veganism is defined as not consuming any animal products or by-products. This avoidance of animal-based foods is frequently motivated by a philosophical opposition to the use of animals for profit, and it may extend to not wearing leather or wool or using any products derived from animals. Even foods derived from insects, such as honey, are forbidden to most vegans.

A typical vegan diet may include plant-based foods, such as:

  • Whole grains, such as brown rice, oats, barley, and millet
  • Legumes, dried beans, and peas, including lentils, black beans, garbanzo beans, pinto beans, and split peas
  • All fruits and vegetables
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Whole soy foods, such as tempeh, tofu, edamame, and miso

Common vegetarian diet

A vegetarian diet does not include meat, fish, or poultry, but may include some animal products. There are various types of vegetarians, with the most common distinctions based on what is included in the diet.

  • Lacto vegetarians: These individuals eat dairy products, such as milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, and cottage cheese.
  • Ovo vegetarian: Refrains from eating red or white meat and dairy products but eats eggs.
  • Lacto-ovo vegetarian: Refrains from eating red or white meat but consumes dairy products and eggs.
  • Pescatarian diet: Does not eat red meat but fish and seafood are okay.
  • Semi-vegetarian or flexitarian diet: Reduced consumption of animal protein.

A well-balanced vegetarian diet will include an intake of a variety of plants and whole grains, as well as dairy, beans, legumes, and eggs.


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What are the pros and cons of employing a vegetarian and vegan diet?

Extensive studies on the nutritional sufficiency of plant-based diets have revealed that a well-planned vegetarian or vegan diet can include all the nutrients needed for optimum health, but little is known about the long-term health benefits of vegetarians and vegans.


  • Help lose weight.
  • Provides cardiovascular benefits, such as lower cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as a lower risk of stroke.
  • Reduces the risk of developing diabetes.
  • Improves the ability to manage type II diabetes.
  • Reduces cancer risk.
  • Improves bowel function (reducing or eliminating constipation or other bowel disruptions) due to high fiber content.
  • In a study, vegetarians and vegans had 12 percent lower deaths over the course of six years.


  • Any diet that excludes specific foods has the danger of leaving a person deficient in vital nutrients. These diets may deplete vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids, necessitating supplementation.
  • Soy products and raw vegetables, such as cabbage, cauliflower, and kale, are goitrogenic and may cause thyroid hormone imbalances.
  • Vegan diets may not be suitable for babies because their brains and bodies are growing at a rapid pace and require high protein, good fat, and vitamin B12.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

Medically Reviewed on 10/11/2021
Cedars-Sinai. Is a Vegetarian or Vegan Diet Healthy? https://www.cedars-sinai.org/blog/is-vegetarian-or-vegan-diet-healthy.html

Harvard Health Publishing. Is a Vegetarian or Vegan Diet for You? https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/is-a-vegetarian-or-vegan-diet-for-you

BetterHealth. Vegetarian and Vegan Eating. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/vegetarian-and-vegan-eating