Vegan vs Vegetarian: Major Difference Between The Two
What Is The Difference Between A Vegetarian And A Vegan?
This question must be itching inside your head whether a vegetarian and a vegan are the same and if so why are they addressed differently. To understand this in detail we need to first have some basic knowledge about who is a vegetarian and who is a vegan.
Who are vegetarians and vegans?
A vegetarian is someone who avoids the consumption of animal meat and eggs but consumes dairy products. There is another type of vegetarian who avoids all animal products including dairy but consumes eggs. Now getting to vegans, vegans avoid the consumption of all animals and animal-derived products with no exception. This means that along with avoiding the consumption of direct meat of animals they also do not consume eggs and dairy products. You could say a vegan diet is extreme vegetarianism. While vegetarians keep their practices to their diet, vegans go one step ahead and also avoid the use of products that directly or indirectly involve the use of animals like leather goods, wool, silk, cosmetics. Both diets offer pretty similar health benefits, most diets contain antioxidant-rich and nutrient- rich whole foods.
Nutrients missing in both their diet
The main nutrition concern for both vegetarians and vegans is the source of calcium and vitamin D. Calcium and vitamin D are mostly found in dairy products and they don't consume this so they need to turn to the alternatives such as dark leafy vegetables and vitamin supplements or foods containing the nutrients. Both vegetarians and vegans follow this diet and exclude consumption of animal meat for their own health or environmental reasons.
Facts that differentiate the two of them
The main difference between vegetarians and vegans is that vegetarians avoid consuming animal meat because they are opposed to killing animals for food but consuming their products such as milk or eggs is acceptable if it does no harm to the animals. Vegans believe that humans have no right over animal cruelty whether it is for food, clothing or science and say that animals have a right to be free from human use or abuse. Here the bottom line is that vegetarians accept the consumption of animal-derived products like milk and eggs but vegans strictly oppose this.
You might think that both of them eat similar foods so there won't be many nutritional differences between the two but in reality, there are quite a few of them. Since vegans don't consume animal-derived products such as milk and eggs they are missing some nutrients which they need to compensate for with other supplements or nutrient fortified foods. Again, as long as the diet is planned properly it is suitable for all stages of life. Nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and vitamins D and B12 are consumed insufficiently by both vegetarians and vegans but a few studies prove that vegetarians comparatively consume slightly more calcium and vitamin B12 than vegans making it a plus point for vegetarians. Both vegetarians and vegans need to make sure that they consume appropriate amounts of all the essential nutrients through plants and fortified foods or supplements especially for iron, calcium, omega-3 and vitamins D and B12 in order to stay healthy. Compared to a vegetarian or even a non-vegetarian a vegan has the lowest risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart diseases or even some types of cancer considering their diet planned appropriately. Vegans most likely seem to gain less weight than a vegetarian as they grow older and also have a lesser BMI (Body Mass Index). Considering the pros of the vegetarian diet we can say that if a vegan diet is not planned well then it can surely lead to a deficiency of nutrients.
More differences between the two
It is not just that the two practice this kind of diet to avoid animal-derived products but it actually extends way beyond that. Veganism is a culture that strongly believes in animal rights and even contributes clearly to that effect. Most vegans avoid the purchase of clothes containing silk, wool, leather or suede. Vegans boycott the companies that test their products on animals such as cosmetics and purchase only the products that are free of by- products derived from animals. Vegans also oppose the entertainment systems which include animals like zoos, circuses, horse races and any other activities because they clearly prove that they are completely motivated towards the safety of animals. Furthermore, many environmentalists adopt such a diet to reduce the impact on the resources available on earth and for the benefits they have against climate change which is happening for real.
Which diet is better and healthier?
Just to be clear about the differences in the two diets, there is no harm in consuming either of the two diets. Both are equally healthy and beneficial if done right and in fact, following this routine will keep you away from most heart diseases and many types of cancers. Either way, you need to plan the perfect diet for you to stay healthy since you're missing out on a lot of foods that provide the body with essential nutrients so plan your diet well in advance to avoid health problems in the long run. So far we've understood that the two cultures vegetarianism and veganism aren't completely the same but have their own differences even within themselves but it is important to understand that vegans do contribute a lot towards environmental preservation and they also sacrifice the foods that they miss out on that the whole world enjoys to consume. The diet practices of vegetarians and that of vegans are surely similar but not the same and among vegans the utmost importance is given to the animals, to protect them and preserve them naturally believing that they have their own right too which is a good thing considering the amount of meat that is being consumed around the world. Not everyone can make a difference but a few scattered around the world can surely help in their own way towards making the earth a better place to live in.
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