Know the difference between vegan and vegetarian

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What is the difference between vegan and vegetarian in terms of dietary habits? Is one approach healthier than the other? Are there any specific foods that are preferred by each unique lifestyle? While plant-based diets have become commonplace in this day and age, these are all important questions to answer if you are considering such a change.

There’s a lot of talk about plant-based diets as a way to aid weight loss while reducing or eliminating the diseases, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, cancer and heart disease, that plague those populations that eat a meat-heavy diet.

If you’re thinking of restricting or eliminating the amount of animal-based foods in your diet, you may be wondering what the difference is between vegetarians and vegans. These terms are often confused with one another and in fact, there are some major disparities to highlight. This is the reason why the team at Spatz3 has summarized the main points immediately below.

Types of vegetarian diets

The standard vegetarian definition is associated with an individual who chooses not to eat meat, fowl and fish. This may be due to moral, religious or health reasons. However, the types of vegetarian diets are actually quite flexible in accordance with personal preferences.

For instance, some individuals will include eggs within their regimen (particularly when referring to a high protein vegetarian diet for weight loss). Others might only consume meat on special occasions such as Christmas or Easter. In other words, vegetarians often adopt a more malleable approach to their dietary considerations.

Definition of vegetarian

As mentioned, a typical vegetarian diet may contain eggs and similar dairy products. These might still be in lower quantities when compared to those who do not follow any type of dietary rules. This is one of the main differences between vegan and vegetarian

As you also may have guessed, vegetarians consume a large amount of fruits and vegetables. They will also employ grains and legumes if they wish to add a supplemental source of protein. Meals tend to contain a large proportion of starchy carbohydrates (these act as a source of sustainable energy).

There are several different kinds of vegetarians:

  • Vegetarians generally refrain from eating meat, fish and poultry but they will eat eggs and dairy products. People who follow this diet are more specifically referred to as lacto-ovo-vegetarians.
  • Similarly, those who refrain from eating meat, fish, poultry and eggs, but who will eat dairy products are called lacto-vegetarians.
  • An ovo-vegetarian will eat eggs but not dairy products, meat, fish or poultry.
  • Pescetarians refrain from meat and poultry but will eat fish.
  • In the 1990s, the term flexitarian was coined. Flexitarians eat a predominantly plant-based diet, but occasionally eat a bit of meat.

What foods can vegans eat?

Let’s now define vegan in terms of general lifestyle habits. Vegans were named in 1944 by Donald Watson, founder of the Vegan Society. Wanting to distinguish himself from vegetarians who ate eggs and dairy products (such as cheese and milk), he combined the first three letters with the last two letters of vegetarian and coined the term vegan.

Vegans are the strictest form of plant-based eaters. They do not consume any animal-based products whatsoever. They avoid meat, fish and poultry, but also eggs and dairy.

Foods that vegans can eat

Vegans are generally strict, not only with the categories of foods they avoid, but also with animal-based ingredients that might be found in other foods. For example, beer is sometimes filtered with egg whites or fish-based gelatin and some baked goods are made with whey, which is a dairy product. Most vegans will not eat honey because it is derived from animals.

We can now see that the difference between vegan and vegetarian involves much more than originally meets the eye. Let’s look at what foods vegans eat.

Of course, those who religiously follow this diet will not consume any type of meat byproduct. They will therefore rely heavily upon the nutrients derived from fruits and vegetables. However, this lifestyle is not as bland as it may initially appear.

You might be surprised to learn that vegans can actually enjoy a host of unique options. Here are some foods associated with this type of meal plan:

  • Legumes (lentils, peas and beans)
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Rice, pasta and whole-grain bread
  • Alternatives to traditional dairy products (such as soy or coconut milk)
  • Vegetable oils

While some will argue that a vegan diet is often associated with lower levels of protein, this is certainly not the case. On the contrary, many of the foods highlighted above are rich sources of both proteins and vital amino acids. This is why those who are hoping to shed a few extra kilogrammes while maintaining lean muscle mass will sometimes employ a targeted vegan weight loss plan.

Vegan weight loss plan

Follow a vegetarian and vegan weight loss plan with Spatz

In terms of vegetarian vs vegan, these are the main differences. Both of these diets offer their own unique merits. Of course, adapting to such lifestyle changes can be somewhat difficult. This is even more relevant if you happen to be a fan of meat and meat byproducts.

It is nonetheless a fact that vegans and vegetarians tend to lead extremely healthy lives and if you are keen to make such a change, there is no better time than the present to begin. No matter which diet makes the most sense for you, eating a more plant-based diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds, will help you lose weight and prevent or control the diseases associated with meat-heavy diets.

Have you recently been fitted with a Spatz3 adjustable gastric balloon and do you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet? We’ll help you make sure your body gets all the vitamins and nutrients it needs to stay healthy. And, if you are considering starting one, knowing the difference between vegan and vegetarian is a good way to start the process.

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