The main difference between vegan and vegetarian is that a vegan diet excludes all animal products. This includes any type of animal milk, eggs, seafood, and any food that comes from animals. A vegetarian diet in comparison, may include dairy or eggs.
Additional differences are also related to the lifestyle. People who follow a vegan lifestyle due to ethical or conscious reasons, avoid inedible animal based fabrics and cosmetics since the animals can be harmed during the process. Common examples may include leather, wool, silk, and cruelty free cosmetics.
Difference Between Vegan And Vegetarian Diet
Both vegans and vegetarians do not eat meat. The choice whether or not to eat dairy or eggs is where you can find differences between various vegetarian diets and vegan diets.
- Lacto-ovo-vegetarians: eat both dairy and eggs.
- Lacto-vegetarians: eat dairy but avoid eggs.
- Ovo-vegetarians: eat eggs but not products.
- Pesco-vegetarians (Pescatarians): eat a vegetarian diet although they may also eat fish and other seafood.
- Vegans: avoid both eggs and dairy.
Vegan vs Vegetarian Nutritional Deficiencies
The biggest concern in both diets is deficiencies in nutrients that are mainly found in meat or may have poor absorption when come from plant based foods. Especially vitamin B12 and iron. Interestingly, it turns that many people who do not follow a vegan or vegetarian diets also have low levels of these.
It is estimated that 40% of the American population has low levels of vitamin B12. The medical community has expressed a specific concern that both vegans and vegetarians are even at a higher risk . Vitamin B12 plays a key role in energy production, proper brain function, red blood cell formation and other critical functions. B12 deficiency is one of the main causes of anemia  and can also lead to permanent nerve damage.
For these reasons, the general recommendation for both vegans and vegetarians is to take B12 supplements.
- VeganSafe B-12 is a good example of a natural vegan B12 we use in many of our natural products. The vegan formula contains the active natural forms of vitamin B12, Adenosylcobalamin and Methylcobalamin. These natural forms are recognized by the body as active vitamin B12 and are easily utilized. According to research, both Adenosylcobalamin and Methylcobalamin are required, since each provides different functions in the body .
The concern of iron deficiency on vegan and vegetarian diets is mainly based on the fact that haem iron, the iron that is found in animal tissue is absorbed faster than the non-haem iron found in plant foods. Fast absorption of iron however, may not be a good thing and can lead to iron toxicity. According to research, high iron levels are a risk factor for certain non-communicable diseases .
- For this reason, when it comes to iron for vegans or vegetarians, the recommendation is to have your iron levels tested by your doctor, and take iron supplements if needed.
Vegan vs Vegetarian Health Benefits
According to the medical community, both vegans and vegetarians have lower risks of diabetes, heart disease and stroke (cardiometabolic). Vegans and vegetarian diets may also have a protective effect against certain cancers.
Vegan diets who avoid eggs and dairy seem to provide added protection against obesity, hypertension, type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular mortality compared to lacto-ovo-vegetarian diets .
Dairy benefits vs. risks are still highly controversial. According to the medical community:
- Intake of dairy products contribute to meet nutrient recommendations, and may protect against the most prevalent chronic diseases .
- On the other hand: whole milk intake in men contributed to elevated prostate cancer mortality risk significantly .
For these reasons, many health authorities recommend to limit dairy consumption. Especially considering that dairy does not have essential nutrients that cannot be obtained from plant based foods.
Why All Our Protocols Are Vegan
In our practice, a big part of our protocols are designed for people who experience digestive issues and compromised gut flora. We have seen a big difference when animal based products are eliminated from the diet. This also includes dairy. It turns that many people develop sensitivity to dairy products, which overtime can cause issues. Many vegetarians who followed our natural protocols, reported significant improvements and much better digestion. The only change they made was to eliminate dairy from their diet for 5-10 days.
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