Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference between Vegetarian and Vegan

Many people normally wonder what the difference is between a vegan and a vegetarian. Some people know that there is a difference but others never think that there could be a difference between the two terms. Taking the meaning of the two terms beyond a diet can get even more confusing. In many cases, people consider name tagging as an offense but the case is a little different when it comes to vegan and vegetarian. The names help other people to know what interests they are about to find from people who are tagged with these terms.

Taking a look at the two terminologies, vegetarians have been in existence for as long as the 18th century was, and they have only come back in the 2010s. Vegans are a more recent and stricter code of adherence that comes with a dossier of responsibility to animals. This article take a deep breathe into separating the minor details that these two names may suggest, and the different mindsets that people have about them.

Definition of Terms

Difference between Vegetarian and Vegan-1

Vegan food pyramid


A vegan is a person who abstains from using anything that is made of, or animal products. The term has a deeper meaning to a philosophical association that separates itself from regarding animals as a commodity at the disposal of a human being. A vegan is a person who practices this diet, or a person who is actively associated to the philosophy.

A vegan does not subscribe to eating meat, eggs, dairy products, and other products that are derived from substances.

Vegan diets have their benefits, especially in keeping at bay most of the chronic diseases that affect human beings (1). They are available for consumption, to all kinds of people, in their different life stages.

The term was coined in the year 1944 by Donald Watson, after founding the Vegan Society of England.

Difference between Vegetarian and Vegan

Loma Linda University Vegetarian Food Pyramid


A vegetarian is a person who practices abstinence from the consumption of meat. A person may choose to become a vegetarian for various reasons. Some may hate eating meat and its products for the ethical grounds that it is the life of another creature. A vegetarian may not be entirely against animal products, since some vegetarians forego everything apart from some animal products. Some vegetarians may only take eggs, others may only take dairy products.

Comparative Analysis between Vegan and Vegetarian

Although the two terms have a distinct difference between them, there are a lot of similarities that bring them together.


Both of the diets champion for lesser intake of animal products and more intake of plant products. In many most of the time, you will catch both vegetarians and vegans scrutinizing the products they buy, to check whether they have any meat or animal products.

The other great similarity that sticks out for them both is the health benefits that they have. It is know that vegans and vegetarians have a longer life expectancy than their animal consuming counterparts.

At the same time, vegans and vegetarians are both exposed to significant health risks owing to their chosen diets. The body requires vitamin B12 which is generally found in animal products. This means that vegans and vegetarians run the risk of becoming deficient in vitamin B12. There are also a lot of other nutrients whose main sources are animal products, thereby putting these groups of people at a further disadvantage, compared to their meat-eating counterparts.

Environmentally, the two terminologies share a common factor. It has been agreed after research that cutting down on the consumption of animals is one of the ways that reduces carbon emissions. Consuming plant products only has been considered to be more beneficial to the environment than consuming a diet with animal based products.


Purpose achieved in the two Principles

While vegetarianism is just a course for the diet that people consume, a vegan goes beyond the diet. In the actual sense a vegetarian may just opt to refrain from taking any meat products for the sake of their health, but a vegan refrains from taking any meat products due to their philosophical inclinations. A vegan believes that human beings have no right to consume other mammals. Vegans believe that animals too have a right not to be used as human beings as food. It sticks out more like an ethical line.


There is a big difference as we have seen in the things that both vegans and vegetarians eat.

In the first place, vegans avoid any kind of meat or meat products in their diet. They will not take any meat, milk, poultry, fish or any products that are animal based. Things such as honey should are avoided by vegans (1). Vegans are a little sterner in their avoiding animals and animal products. A vegan will go to the extent of refusing to use leather belts, jackets, or any fabric, or clothing made by animal products.

Vegetarians on the other hand, will avoid direct consumption of animals, or fish or poultry, but they do not see it as bad to consume animal products. The following are some of the classifications of vegetarians that can be identified in our modern society:

Lacto-vegetarians – These vegetarians abstain from any other meat products except for dairy products.

Ovo-vegetarians – these vegetarians do not consume any animal product except for eggs.

Lacto- ovo-vegetarians – These vegetarians consume both eggs and dairy products.

Pescetarianism- This is a form of vegetarianism where the person only consumes fish.

Health Benefits

Of the two, which one is healthier?

Well, according to studies done by nutritionists, the two people discussed in this paper miss out on a lot of the nutrients that can be found predominantly in animal products. However, there are major differences in the nutrients gained by a vegan, and a vegetarian (1). According to a number of scientific investigations, lack of sufficient intake of essential nutrients leaves the vegan more exposed to malnutrition than how the vegetarian is exposed.

It has been discovered that vegetarians have a better chance in consuming essential nutrients such as Omega 3 fatty acids, calcium, iron, and vitamin D from the little animal products that they take (2). On the other hand, since vegans are totally dependent on supplements, they are more at risk from suffering in their health for the lack of these nutrients.

Studies prove that vegans are more exposed to developing type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular problems, and some types of cancer. This is due to the lack of essential body supplements in their system.


Both vegans and vegetarians avoid in all ways, to consume animals, or animal products. They both have the same reasons why they should not consume animal products, but they avoid the consumption in varying standards (1).

There are several types of vegetarians, based on what their interests permit, but the vegans are a strict lot that is totally against eating animals, using animal products, or things that have been tested on animals.

As a matter of fact, both vegans and vegetarians have no access to many of the supplements, and vital nutrients that can only be obtained in the body through consuming animal products.

Note Vegan vegetarian
Diet Vegans are very stern on avoiding all kinds of meat or meat products Vegetarians are a little permissive on what animal products they consider they cannot do away with.
Health Vegans are more exposed to type 3 diabetes, cardiovascular problems, and They are less exposed to the diseases that vegans are exposed to.
Purpose The purpose that vegans aim to achieve is to champion for the right of animals against being used as a commodity by human beings. Vegans have political and philosophical inclinations that back them up in their action against consuming animals, or their products. The purpose of vegetarians is varied. Many vegetarians may agree with the principles of the vegans, but the permissive nature to various animal products makes the vegetarians seem more like balancing health. Lesser philosophy and politics is involved with vegetarians.
Ambitions The ambitions that drive a vegan are to achieve equal rights for animals as humans. Vegans want animals not to be considered a commodity. Vegetarians may have same ambitions as the vegans, but they may also do it with no other ambitions than to keep a great body shape, and stay fit.

In conclusion, both vegans and vegetarians have a clear distinction. Be it on what they stand for, the reasons for their pursuits, or the gains they make, both vegans and vegetarians have outstanding differences that cannot be ignored. However, most of the vegans started out as vegetarians, and it is considered as a bridge that helps you reach to absolute veganism. Vegetarians however may have very different motives and ambitions that are absolutely a different motivation from what may be considered as a move towards veganism. Most vegetarians may pursue their course for the purpose of staying fit, and avoiding to gain the weight that comes so easily with consuming animal products.

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References :

[0]Ellis, F. R. "The Nutritional Status of Vegans and Vegetarians." Proceedings of the Nutrition Society (1967): 19-29. Print.

[1]Sanders, T.A B. "Vegetarian diets in children." Paediatrics clinic of North America (1995): 35-37. Print




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