Vegetarians and vegans choose not to eat meat. However, veganism is stricter and also not allowed eggs, dairy, honey, and different animal product such as silk and leather.
Both vegetarianism and veganism are growing in popularity. However, some people may feel the differences between these two diets are a little confusing, especially as there are many vegetarianism variations.
What Is Vegetarianism?
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According to the vegetarian society, vegetarians are people who do not consume by-products or products of the animal.
Vegetarians do not consume:
meat, such as pork, beef, game
poultry such as turkey, chicken, and duck
Shellfish and fish
Gelatin, rennet, and different types of animal protein stock or fats that derive from animal slaughter
However, different vegetarians do consume a product that does not involve animal slaughter. These include:
dairy products, such as cheese, milk, and yogurt
Vegetarians typically eat a range of fruits, vegetables, grains, pulses, nuts, seeds, as well as “meat substitutes” that get from these food types.
Vegetarianism is commonly strict than veganism, so there are many well-known variations of the vegetarian diet. These include:
People who follow this diet skip all types of fish and meat but do eat eggs and dairy products.
People on this diet avoid eating fish, meat, or eggs but do eat dairy products.
Individuals following this diet do not consume any fish, meat, or dairy products but eat eggs.
Those who follow this diet skip all meats except fish and different types of seafood. However, this does not meet the traditional definition of vegetarianism, and different people refer to the pescatarian diet as being semi-flexitarian and vegetarian.
What Is Veganism?
Veganism is a stricter type of vegetarianism. Vegan’s skip using or eating animal by-products or products. The vegan society defines veganism as a way of living, which seeks to remove, as far as is practicable and possible, all types of exploitation of and cruelty to clothing, animals’ food, or another purpose.
Vegans strictly skip eating any foods or drinks that consist of:
- fish and shellfish
- dairy products
- rennet, gelatin
- other kinds of animal protein
- goods or fats that originate from animals
Strict vegans also develop these principles beyond their diet and will try, where possible, to skip any product that directly or indirectly involves the human utilize of animals. These products can add:
- leather goods
- latex products consisting of casein sourced from milk protein
- Cosmetics or different products that created tests on animals
Different vegetarians also use some of these principles to their lifestyle, for example, by skipping leather goods and products that have animal testing.
Which Is Better For Weight Loss?
A cross-sectional involving 21,966 participants and a 2014 review of three prospective cohort research involving Adventists in North America both recommend that vegans commonly have a lower BMI than meat-eaters and vegetarians.
A possible explanation for this trend due to vegans does not eat dairy products or eggs.
The 2006 study also discovered that vegans gained low weight than both vegetarians and meat consumers over 5 years. However, people who changed their diet to lower their animal products consumption gained the least weight during the study.
In a 2018 study involving 75 adults who were overweight, researchers randomly assigned participants to either follow a vegan diet with low fat or continue the current diet, which could have animal protein. After 16 weeks, participants in the vegan group had lowered significantly more fat around the abdomen than those in the control group.
Nutrition Reviews for Vegetarian and Vegan Diets
Research indicates vegan and vegetarian diets tend to be low in cholesterol and saturated fat. They also tend to consist high amount of minerals, vitamins, healthy plant compounds, and fiber(Source).
What is more, both diets consist of a high number of nutrient-dense foods. These may include vegetables, fruit, nuts, whole grains, soy products, and seeds.
On the other hand, poorly planned vegan and vegetarian diets could cause low nutrient consumption, specifically iron, zinc, calcium, and vitamin D.
Both diets also tend to have a limited quantity of vitamin B12 and long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, although levels of these nutrients are commonly lower in vegans than vegetarians.
While vegetarian and vegan diets tend to lean heavily on legumes, fruits, and vegetables, some items might be diary and meat-free but still have high added sugars
Cooked with extra fat methods
french fries, Cookies, ice creams, candies, may fall under the vegetarians and vegan category yet still consist of refined carbs, are highly processed are high deep-fried food and extra sugary food.
Which Is Healthier?
According to one report from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and many scientific reviews, both vegan and vegetarian diets can be considered right for all stages of life, as long as the diet is planned well.
Insufficient consumption of nutrients such as calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, B12, and vitamin D can negatively affect different aspects of health including physical and mental health.
Both vegans and vegetarians may get low consumption of these nutrients. However, research shows that vegetarians tend to eat slightly more vitamin B12 and calcium than vegans.
Nonetheless, both vegans and vegetarians should pay extra attention to nutrition strategies meant to raise the absorption of nutrients from plant foods. It may also be important to eat fortified supplements and foods, especially for nutrients like calcium, iron, vitamin D, and omega-3.
Vegans and Vegetarians should strongly consider:
- exploring their everyday nutrient intake
- getting their blood nutrient levels counted
- carrying supplements accordingly
Some studies directly comparing vegan to vegetarian diets report that vegans may get a low risk of increasing type 2 diabetes, different cancer, and heart problems than vegetarians. Most research so far has been observational. It means that it is not possible to say exactly about the vegan diet produces these effects and to confirm that diet is the only factor for determination.
Veganism: It is about more than what you eat
Although vegans and vegetarians may choose to skip animal products for similar purposes, this choice often goes beyond diet for vegans. Veganism is often considered a lifestyle powerfully anchored in animal rights. For this reason, different vegans also skip buying clothing items consisting of wool, silk, suede, or leather.
Different vegans boycott companies that the animals test and buy only cosmetics that are free of animal by-products. People are known as ethical vegans also tend to steer clear of circuses, rodeos, zoos, horse races, and different activities involving animal use for entertainment.
Risks And Considerations
According to the writer of an article Journal-of-the-American-Dietetic-Association, cautiously planned vegan and vegetarian diets are healthful, nutritionally enough, and may offer health benefits in the treatment and prevention of some diseases. However, vegans and vegetarians need to assure that they are consuming a balanced and healthy diet that meets all of their nutritional needs.
For example, plant-based foods do not naturally consist of vitamin B-12, which is an important mineral that balances the nervous system and cardiovascular system.
Vegetarians and vegans can get vitamin B-12 from fortified foods, like breakfast cereals and some plant-based milk.
Vegans and vegetarians can also take supplements of vitamin B-12.
However, some B-12 supplements can consist of animal products, so it is essential to check the labels of products carefully and only buy from reputable manufacturers.
According to one study of 2017 from Switzerland, some vegetarians may not get sufficient vitamin B-6 and niacin from their diets, while vegans may get a higher risk of omega-3 and zinc deficiency than those who consume some animal products.
As we mentioned above, consuming a plant-based diet does not guarantee the best health. A large 2017 study discovered that plant-based diets containing unhealthy foods can boost a person’s risk of coronary heart diseases.
Examples of harmful plant foods include:
- French fries
- refined grains
- sweetened beverages
- prepackaged or processed
- snack foods
This unhealthy plant-based eating often leads to lower fiber consumption, micronutrients, and vegetables alongside increased consumption of sugar and processed products.
Mistakes to Avoid on a Vegan or Vegetarian Diet
A balanced vegan or vegetarian diet can offer different health benefits. These diets have been linked with better blood sugar, weight loss, low heart disease risk, and some cancer types.
However, it can be difficult to manage a well-rounded vegetarian diet that offers all the nutrients your body needs.
Thinking That Vegetarian or Vegan Products Are Automatically Healthier
Unfortunately, because a food product is labeled vegan or vegetarian does not mean it is healthier than the regular alternative.
For example, almond milk is famous, plant-based milk that is often a staple to vegan diets.
However, while almond milk has low calories and is enriched with many essential minerals and vitamins, it is not necessarily healthier than cow’s milk.
For example, one cup of low-fat milk (cow milk) provides 8 grams of protein, while a similar amount of unsweetened almond milk has only one gram.
Sweetened almond milk can also have high added sugar with 16 gm of sugar in only one cup.
Other vegetarian products like soy-based veggies burgers, meat alternatives, nuggets, are often highly processed with a long list of artificial ingredients. Therefore, they are often not healthier than other processed vegetarian foods.
Despite being vegetarian, these products also have high calories, yet lack protein, a necessary nutrient, and fiber for a balanced meal. While these products may help your transition to a vegetarian or vegan diet, it is best to eat them in moderation with a diet rich in nutritious whole foods.
Not Getting Sufficiently Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 plays many essential roles in the body. It is necessary for the creation of DNA and red blood cells among other processes. Unfortunately, the primary source of vitamin B12 is animal products, like poultry, meat, eggs, shellfish, and milk products.
For this reason, vegetarians have a high risk of vitamin B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to fatigue, numbness, and memory problems. It can also cause megaloblastic anemia, which is a condition caused by getting lower than normal amount of red blood cells.
Unfortunately, high consumption of folate can mask a vitamin B12 deficiency, hiding symptoms till the damage becomes irreversible.
However, there are foods and supplements found that can help vegetarians meet their needs of vitamin B12.
Apart from animal products, fortified foods and some types of edible algae also consist of vitamin B12. Vegetarians should monitor their vitamin B12 consumption carefully and consider consuming the supplement if their needs are not met from diet alone.
Substituting Meat with Cheese
One of the easiest ways to make any dish vegetarian is to take out the meat and change it with cheese. When it comes to flavor, the swap works well for salads, sandwiches, pasta, and other dishes. However, while cheese does consist of good vitamins, protein, and minerals, it does not change the wide assortment of nutrients present in meat.
One ounce of beef, for example, consists of 4 times the amount of iron and more zinc present in one ounce of cheddar cheese.
Cheese also consists of low protein and more calories than meat. Once for ounce, cheese consists of only around 80% of the protein present in chicken, but around 2.5 times of calories.
Instead of simply changing meat with cheese, you should add a variety of plant foods to your diet to meet your nutrient requirement. Chickpeas, tempeh, quinoa, beans, lentils, and nuts are all good options to help round out a vegetarian diet.
Eating Too Few Calories
Different foods and food groups are off-limits for vegetarians and vegans, which can make it challenging for them to meet calorie requirements. Vegetarians and vegans tend to eat low calories than people who consume both plants and meat.
One research compared the nutritional quality of 1,475 people’s diet, including vegetarians and vegans who ate fish, people who consume both plants and meat, and people who consumed meat only once a week.
Vegans had a low-calorie consumption across all the groups, eating 600 fewer calories than people who are both plants and meat.
Vegetarians had a slightly higher calorie consumption than vegans, but still ate 263 low calories than people who consumed both plants and meat. (Source).
Calories are the primary source of body energy and your body requires some function. limiting calories more can cause many negative side effects, such as fatigue, nutrient deficiencies, and slow metabolism.
Not Drinking Enough Water
Consuming sufficient water is essential for everyone, but maybe necessary for those who consume more fiber, including vegans and vegetarians.
Vegetarians tend to get a higher fiber consumption, since fiber-rich vegetables, legumes, and whole grains are staples in a healthy vegetarian diet.
One research discovered that people who consume both plants and meat eat around 27 grams of fiber every day, while vegetarians and vegans eat around 41 gm and 34 gm respectively. Drinking water with fiber is essential because it can help fiber move from the digestive tract and stop issues like bloating gas, and constipation.
Fiber consumption is very important for health and has been linked to a lowered risk of heart diseases, diabetes, stroke, and obesity.
Present guidelines suggest females eat at least 25 gm of fiber every day, and males eat at least 38 gms. (Source).
Meat is the best source of different minerals and vitamins, including iron. For example, a 3-ounce serving of ground beef provides 14% of the soak easily.
Non-heme iron is found in different types of vegetables, fruits, beans, and cereals.
Because of this, vegetarians have a high risk of growing iron deficiency anemia, which is a condition of insufficient red blood cells in the body. Signs include breath shortness, fatigue, and dizziness.
However, a well-planned vegetarian diet containing iron-rich plant foods can meet every day needs.
If you are a vegan or vegetarian, ensure to eat more good sources of iron including beans, lentils, nuts, fortified cereals, oats, leafy greens, and seeds.
Additionally, combining iron-rich foods with foods containing high vitamin C can improve the absorption of non-heme iron. Vitamin C is present in more vegetables and fruits, so including a vegetable side dish, piece of fruit, or salad with your meals can help to raise iron absorption.
Not Eating Adequately Whole Foods
Only a food product is vegan or vegetarian does not mean it is good for you. There are more processed foods found at the grocery store that do not have animal meat. However, they often contribute some to your diet.
Instead of consuming these, try a vegetarian diet as an opportunity to lower your processed foods consumption and raise your intake of whole foods, nutrients dense, such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Raising your consumption of these foods will help to get the valuable minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants you need to prevent nutrient deficiencies.
Eating whole foods instead of processed foods may provide you benefits, such as raising your metabolism. One study measured the metabolism of 17 participants after they consume meals prepared with either whole foods or processed food. Both groups felt equally complete after the meal, but the group that consume the whole foods burned nearly double the calories after their meal than the group that consumed processed foods.
To begin adding more whole foods to the diet, change the refined grains for whole grains and reduce the processed and convenience food you consume.
Ingesting a Diet Low in Calcium
Calcium is an essential mineral in the body needed to manage teeth and bones strong, help your muscles work efficiently, and balance the function of the nervous system. A calcium deficiency can cause osteoporosis, a condition that leads to weakness, porous bones, and a high risk of bone fractures.
Though calcium is present in a variety of foods, the most well-known source of calcium is dairy products. Those who do not eat dairy should monitor their calcium consumption and add other high calcium foods to their diet.
Calcium-rich plant food includes collard greens, kale, bok choy, broccoli, figs, almonds, and oranges. Fortified foods can also be the best source of calcium.
Eating Too Many Refined Carbs
Different vegetarians fall into the trap of changing meat with refined carbs. Unfortunately, bread, pasta, cakes, bagels, crackers often end up as primary ingredients in a poor vegetarian diet.
During processing, refined grains are stripped of the helpful fiber that is present in whole grain.
Fiber helps to prevent chronic disease, keep you full and slow down the absorption of sugar to manage steady blood sugar levels. High consumption of refined carbs has been connected to a high risk of diabetes, also more belly fat. To reduce the nutrients in your diet, change refined grains like pasta, white bread, white rice for whole grains such as oats, quinoa, buckwheat, and brown rice. Additionally, ensure you are pairing those whole grains with more vegetables, whole fruits to keep your diet nutritious and balanced.
Minimizing the Significance of Meal Planning
Whether you are eating out or cooking at home, consuming vegan or vegetarian needs some extra planning.
Meal plans are particularly useful if you are presently changing your diet to vegan or vegetarian. They can help to ease the transition and make it easier to manage a balanced and nutritious diet. Some restaurants provide limited choices of vegetarians, therefore looking at the menu in advance can help to decide and choose the most nutritious choices available.
Additionally, make it a habit to get some vegetarian recipes every week and cook them on your own.
Not Eating Sufficiently Protein-Rich Foods
Protein is a necessary part of the diet. Your body utilizes it to help grow tissue, for enzymes, and create hormones. Research indicates that consuming protein can also boost fullness feeling, increase muscle mass, and lower cravings. Present recommendations advise adults should consume at least 0.8 gm of protein every day for every 2.2 pounds of body weight.
For example, a person who is 154 lbs would require around 56 gm protein every day. If you are consuming animal-based meals, you will likely find it easy to satisfy this need.
A 3-ounce serving of salmon consists of 19 gm of protein, while a similar amount of roasted chicken offers 27 gm. On the other hand, if you are on a vegetarian diet, you may need to make extra efforts to consume high-protein foods that will help to meet protein needs.
More plant foods consist of protein comparable to the amount you would get in meat. For example, one cup of cooked lentils consists of 18 gm of protein. Lentils, beans, nut butter, nuts, tempeh, and tofu can all up to your everyday protein consumption.
Not Getting Sufficiently Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are an important part of your diet. They have been shown to lower blood triglycerides, reduce inflammation, and save against dementia. Fatty fish and other fish oil are the common sources of omega-3 fatty acids. They consist of eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid, the two types of omega-3 fatty acids that are more helpful.
On the other hand, plant foods consist of alpha-linolenic acid, which is a type of omega-3 fatty acid that your body must convert into EPA and DHA to use.
The human body is only able to change around 5% of ALA to EPA and lower than 0.5% of DHA.
To meet your requirement of omega-3 during a vegetarian diet, eat a good number of ALA-rich foods, or consider consuming a plant-based omega-3 supplement like algal oil.
Foods with more ALA omega-3 fatty acids add walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds, hemp seed, perilla oil, and brussels sprouts.
Adding some servings of these foods to your diet every day can easily help to meet omega-3 fatty acid requirements.
Eating More Refined Carbs
Different vegetarians fall into the trap by changing meat with refined carbs. Sadly, bread, pasta, bagels, crackers, cake often end up as primary ingredients in a poorly planned vegetarian diet.
During processing, refined grains are stripped of the helpful fiber that is present in whole grains. Fiber helps to remove chronic disease, keep you full and lower the sugar absorption to manage steady blood sugar levels.
High consumption of refined carbs has been linked to a higher risk of diabetes and also belly fat.
To increase the nutrients in your diet, change refined grains like pasta, white bread, and white rice with whole grains such as oats, quinoa, buckwheat, and brown rice.
Also, make sure to combine whole grains with whole vegetables and fruits, and legumes to keep the diet nutritious and balanced.